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!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Overdue Goodness

It would take us hours to sit down and re-cap the events of the last few weeks and well frankly spare hours are not something we have in surplus right now. There are a few mom/baby cases that may or may not come through our gates tomorrow or Monday. So we’re focusing all our energy and every spare second into some last minute projects. 
Fridge and Stove: Organizing Supplies: Doors: Chalkboards

Jenn and I are kind of overwhelmed right now to say the least. Each day is filled with so much goodness. Twice I’ve had to climb the stares to the empty staff apartment to just sit down and soak it in. Our dream, the vision for Second Mile, is happening.. And we get to be a part of a million little God stories everyday. How can you not get kind of overwhelmed? 
Last week we had four experts from the States and a ton of guys here on the ground each to do what they do best to get our compound wired. For the first time, we have power! It’s incredible. Yesterday we got a modem and today I am able blog from the upstairs apartment! 

Michael, Don, Dale, Bryan, and Dani:
Thank you for helping Jenn become an electrical novice. Come back and she'll be an expert! 

As I type this we have Katie, a NICU nurse from Albany, New York, hard at work in the clinic. She’s sorting medical supplies that she and her friends have been gathering at home for months. She brought six 50 lb suitcases to us on her last trip to see us last June. Now she gets to physically lift bins of these supplies on to the pharmacy shelves. So many people have played a role in this little processes. My nurse friend Rebecca and her nurse friend Alexis began sorting these and some supplies they’d collected in Texas when they came to Haiti in October. My dad and his friend Ken built the shelves when they came to visit in March. Their trip was funded by a ton of you Tucson people.... The bins were donated by those of you who bought from our WishList online.... You get the idea. You all matter and you're making a difference. 

Katie read our story online. We didn't even know her prior to starting Second Mile. But she stepped out and sent us an email, sharing her heart for Haiti. Now she and her husband are board members and I have been to visit them in their hometown several times. I've been to speak in their church and their friends have supported a number of projects. 

Everyday we see how God constantly uses so many awesome people to make this thing fly...

Anna and the animals: 

Right now in the Education Center, a young lady named Anna is working with two of our newest employees Wesley and Joslin.  

These two guys are trying desperately to learn English as Anna who doesn’t yet speak Creole communicates either in Spanish with the Haitian Agronomist that likes to hang around the property or in gestures (or with writing in the sand). We stole Anna from the DR... I mean we borrowed her from a ministry in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic where she was interning for 3 months. There, she was hosting groups of volunteers at a school called Doulos Discovery School. She picked up a ton of building skills and she’s great with volunteers. Because the school now has a 3 week window with no teams Anna was able to come over the border and help us. Anna’s parents and some of her older siblings used to live in Haiti before Anna was born. She was the only one in her family that hadn’t yet experienced life in Haiti. How did God know that we would need  an energetic intern with building and hosting experience? How did God know that Anna always had a longing to connect with her family when they talked about life in Haiti? How did God time it so that Anna would be free to come to Haiti exactly when we needed the extra help? Probably because he’s God... He knows us so well. :) 

In the last few days, Anna and these guys built both a chicken house and rabbit hutch. Today they are building a second house to hold still more chickens! The chickens are SO exciting for us as we try to make sustainable choices. We will feed the chickens mostly scraps, corn from our fields, and let them feed on the grass. They should lay plenty of eggs which we will use for food. Then, as they get worn out from laying we will use them for their meat. If they lay an excess of eggs we will be able to give women from the village a chance to make a profit by selling their eggs. And with the chickens right here on the land, moms will have an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of raising chickens for commerce. 

Praise the Lord we didn’t have to spend hardly a dime on the first chicken house. We were able to use wire that we had on hand and bamboo that had been used in the process of putting cement roof on several of the buildings. Now that construction is complete we are able to be creative with the left overs. 

In this vein, we took what had been used as brace for cutting wood and turned it into the base for our rabbit hutch. We didn’t have the right size wire... so we did have to buy some special wire...but... we had a wonderful, wonderful soul, Sarah Sailer with us this past week and she was able to reach out to her friends who responded with donations for projects like this one. So thank you, friends of Sarah Sailer, for donating right when we really needed the funds! 

The gardens and Sarah:

I could probably write a whole blog post about what brought my cousin Sarah Sailer to Haiti. But, in the essence of everything that is happening all around me as I type this, I’ll try to make this quick! 

Sarah is my sweet cousin. Although we both grew up in California about 45 minutes from each other, as youngins we only saw each other about 3 times a year, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving..and at the occasional birthday party for our sweet Grandma Kathryn. Fun fact. Sarah and I both share the same middle name, Kathryn, in honor of this wonderful lady. (...Hi Grammy!...) Then Sarah got married and moved to Colorado. This furthered decreased the chances of our meeting, even once yearly. It’s been 8 years since we’ve seen each other. But, we both blog. Me about Haiti and she about her thrifty, good life. She’s passionate about food, about cooking it, growing it, and using it for its health benefits. Jenn and I had been reading her blog. We were intrigued, inspired, and mostly impressed. She and her family (hubby Jeremiah, and four young girls), grow almost all of their food! All this they have achieved through trial and error and a willingness to learn through the trials. They have beautiful gardens on their urban lot and have chickens and rabbits for meat. So, after months of salivating over her homemade salad dressings and coveting her gardening skills, it finally dawned on us... we need to get Sarah to Haiti! 

I asked and within minutes she said yes. 

There’s so much more to this story that I could share, so many reasons why we can see that this was God’s plan all along, but since I think she will be blogging about her time... I’ll shush up and let her share. 

We’ll let the photos do the talking.

We re-used wood from construction to build three stalls for composting. These guys and some of their kids and grandkids are now trusted keepers of the compost bins. 
Planting super nutritious foods that will help improve the nutritious status of everyone at Second Mile.. moms, babies, employees, neighbors...especially the Moringa and Chaya plants.
Covering the raised beds with mulch! (a new idea around here) It keeps the soil moist and adds nutrients! We used free, local products- dried banana leaves and a bi-product of sugar cane. 
Sarah even had time for rooftop gardening. We want to show moms that they can grow food in small spaces. We used some broken blocks to make a planting bed and also to protect some growing plants. The employees and neighbors had a blast working with Sarah. She trained them well! 

New Employees: 

We have three new full-fledged employees that will receive a monthly salary. These guys were still in training when Sarah was here but now they’ve officially made the cut. We couldn’t ask for better workers. So many men and women in Haiti are desperately seeking even part-time work, anything that resembles steady income for their families (our guys each have between 5 and 9 children). We are thankful that things are going well enough with Second Mile that we can offer them these positions.

I don't think it will ever stop being overwhelming... all this goodness. Everything that's happening out at the land, all these buildings and projects.. they were all a part of the vision from the start. It's so crazy to us to see that God really did provide for things to happen exactly as we had envisioned. The only difference was in the how. This didn't all happen exactly how we had envisioned. Sometimes God allowed his plan to trump ours and let me tell you.. His plan was always better. 

He loves us all passionately. He sets these passions and desires in our hearts and then blesses us as we use what He already gave us to serve him. When you break it down like that, it seems kind of simple. Soon, tomorrow maybe, we'll be diving deeper into some my passions: nursing, moms, and babies. Can't wait.