Second Mile Haiti

Welcome to our blog! This is a place for us to keep friends and supporters up-to-date with the latest 'Second Mile' happenings! Check in often. Things are moving fast!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

this, that, and Thanksgiving

I know, it's been awhile since we've written. Of all the things I'm good at putting off, blogging gets shafted most frequently. So today, before I think the better of it, I am going to set aside 'urgent this' and 'urgent that' to write you all a little update. I will focus my urgency on sharing with you. Here's what's been happening in the heart of the Caribbean.

At "the land," buildings are just popping up right and left! That might be a bit of an exaggeration but we do have some building updates to share. In addition to the clinic and the recovery homes there is now a small apartment for our international staff (which presently consists of none other than us). Our decision to position the apartment above the clinic was quite strategic. When emergencies arise by simply taking the stairs two at a time we'll have access to the medical supply room in seconds. We are right where we need to be according to the words of wise man from Ghana who once told me to "stay close to your vision."

We'll be close alright.

From the apartment we can clearly see the mom and baby homes and we are just a stone's throw away from the gate. From the kitchen we can see the back property and gardens. From the porch we can see the road. And we saved a ton of money by building on an existing structure.

it may look a bit unstable. but i assure you she's safe.
 the roof is dry and the bamboo is just a precaution at this point. 

We had to cancel a few days of work  life... due to major flooding in Cap Haitien. It rained for more than 48 hours. 16 people died. Many homes were flooded. Others were carried down the mountain by currants of water. It was bad. Our friends and employees survived the storm. For one mom, it meant borrowing money to buy plastic table cloths which would be pinned inside her mud and stick home. For another mom it meant moving her family to an area unaffected by flooding while she went back to assess the damage and mop up the mess. The rains were followed by 3 days of hot sun, perfect for drying up 3 days of misery. Although for the families who lost loved ones, the tragedy is irreversible. 

The women are more beautiful than ever. I love the way they encourage one another and treat each other like family. During the storm, I would call to check on one and she'd instantly ask about the others. It's not uncommon to hear them say to one another "you're getting better [at rolling beads]!" or "you are much better at cutting paper than me" or "you're the fastest roller." 

My heart lives for inclusion. For those of you who attended a small liberal arts University or have experience with the "Strength's Finder" test you'll get me when I say "Includer" was one of my top 5. After answering what feels like hundreds of questions this pseudo-personality test detected that one of my strongest attributes was the desire to make others feel included. It's true. My skin crawls until I'm confident that everyone feels accepted and comfortable in a group setting. Needless to say, I've enjoyed watching Dorothy and Louismene whole-heartedly adopt Rosenie, the newest bead maker, into the fold. 

These women are held together by a common bond. All of them have children who are "sick." Not the kind of sick that gets better with rest and hydration and mom's kisses, but real heartbreaking chronic and disabling illness. Everyday when they arrive at work and ask each other, "How are the kids?" they are prepared for honest answers, downcast looks, or racing hearts. These moms come to work and enjoy it. They tell jokes and laugh. But I know that in the moments when they aren't chatting, joking, or talking about politics they're thinking, maybe even worrying, about their kids. 

(More on this in another post...)

The lady pictured one in from the left is Madame Melik. She's a gem. She cooks for our ladies and the Haiti Babi ladies each work day. She also helps keep this ship clean. She makes a killer legim. If you haven't tried this traditional dish then I'm sorry, you just haven't lived. If you visit, she'll make you a double portion and then mock you for your inability to eat as much as a Haitian. It's a battle you can't win. Either eat up or risk being that person... ki pa manje anpil. 

Jenn and I are busy, busy, busy this month! We are North American, traditionally and by birth. That doesn't mean we won't deny our roots the moment someone calls us Haitian, the highest of all desired compliments. It does mean that we are excited to celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We'll be having a traditional Thanksgiving feast next week here at our apartment complete with turkey and cranberry sauce. You were all invited. But, since no one RSVP'd we'll take it as a hint that you love your family more than you love us. That's fine. ;) Until the big feast we will continue to prepare our staff for the month of December. They're going to be on their own for most of the month. 

In light of the holidays and the fact that my wonderful parents have probably forgotten what I look like, coupled with the need to fundraise and a personal desire to buy new underwear and curly hair conditioner, we will be heading to the US of A.

It's been a year since I've seen my family! Jenn and I are both excited to see our families and friends. We keep talking about what cooking ingredients we will stalk up on and what North American novelties we will partake in. Gingerbread house making,  Disneyland, the, the opportunities for good old American fun are endless. We plan to run in the States, which is something we do a lot here. Here in Haiti we run up and down steep hill.  There, we will chart a course that's as flat as they come. We deserve it. 

We will also get to visit a few churches and speak about Haiti in a few different States. We can't wait to see the Edwards in North Carolina!!! That's always fun. 

What's not so fun is planning a big event from afar. The plan is to have a Silent Auction in Tucson the first weekend in December. We knew it would be a challenging undertaking but plunged ahead anyway. A few weeks ago Jenn spent a solid 6 hours emailing various businesses in search of donations. Our first "yes" response was from an Opera company who offered to send tickets. We've never been more excited about opera! The next yes was a few free yoga passes. This was also very exciting. The remaining 48 businesses didn't respond. 

That left us with two options: 1. cancel 2. ask for help

We asked for help and several wonderful people have come through with gift baskets and even an event location. We could still use more items to place up for auction. Do you have a business, craft, or trade that we could place up for Auction? We would be forever indebted to you for your donation. If you can come to the event please do! We are bringing with us some sites and sounds of Haiti and a few famous Haitian beverages as well. It should be a great night. 

In other big news, we have a Holiday Gift Giving Catalog on it's way. This will let you give a much needed "gift" to Second Mile Ministries this gift giving season. And, we were just notified of a donor that would like to match all donations up to $5,000 during this week before Thanksgiving. 

Between the sun, the building progress, the beautiful moms we work with, and our upcoming travels we have so much to be thankful. Top that list off with this potential donation, your prayers, new friends, and a God who never leaves us and we're flat-on-our faces thankful. 

We hope you have a very merry Thanksgiving! 

Matching donations start today. Donate here.