Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nick and me

At the big JiH/Pye Family Christmas Extravaganza!

Funny story about this picture, I borrowed this dress from Nahomie. My (female) staff were all pushing for me to wear it sans the pink tank underneath. (I didn't solicit the advise of male staff members.) They said it made me look, "sexy." Cause yeah, for an orphanage Christmas party that's the look you want. Sheesh. Looking back at the pics, I am glad I used my better judgment on this one.

Sorry for the lack of any real content lately. Same old story. Got 8 kids. Life is crazy. We've had to turn down MANY children lately. That's never easy. Even so, we have about a half a dozen cases we're investigating (not that we're adding 6 more kids any time soon-- they just weren't immediate no's and so we're trying to determine if any of them will one day be yesses.)

As I have eluded to in the past, I have found a real passion and joy in helping my friend Sarah deliver babies. I am becoming very interested in midwifery and looking to learn more. I know that at the stage of life I am at now, this can't occupy too much of my time BUT, I have found that attending and assisting at births is this life-giving (literally and figuratively) thing for me. I don't know what it is-- maybe it's the miracle of witnessing pretty much the coolest biological process God created, maybe it's that I love children and watching them come into the world, maybe it's that it makes me feel strong to be a woman (as labor is QUITE the feat), maybe it's that I really enjoy spending time with Sarah who has become a great friend, or maybe it's simply that I like the time away from the chaos that is my life. Whatever it is, I am loving it. I am not as scared as I was the first time and I am not grossed out anymore. Well, not really.

Sometime soon I want to do a blog post about Haitian women in labor. Because it's REALLY interesting to learn some of the things that are common here. For now, I want to leave you with a pic of the latest baby we assisted with. Mama delivered really quickly and we missed the ACTUAL birth, but got there right after the fact.

Here's mom and the yet to be named baby girl--


My mom wrote a great blog post about one of our kids--
Go here to read it:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Movie night!

I think we might be working one of our staff members too hard...

I rang the bell for lunch yesterday and when Hugues didn't show up I searched the house for him. Here's how I found him...

Bless his tired little heart.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Still alive and kicking...

Our family that is.
Well, Nick and I are still alive and Jerry is still kicking. And biting. And spitting. And peeing on us. And screaming-- etc. etc. etc.

BUT, things are looking up. It's been 2 days since the last tantrum-- a record actually. He's never gone this long without having one. We're taking this as a good sign. Thank you to all of you who are praying for his little heart to be able to heal and accept us as his family. It's such a complicated process filled with so much trauma for him.

I only have a little time today, but wanted you to know we're still here. We're still loving our house. Things for the most part are getting better.

We're very much looking forward to Christmas. Nick's parents are here visiting us and we're LOVING them being here. If you could spare a quick prayer-- 3 out of 4 of their bags didn't make it here... They are supposedly coming in today. But this is really frustrating since we live THREE hours from the airport and the bags have Christmas presents in them. Mikey is in Port today and will hopefully be able to get the bags. Please pray that happens.

Talk to you all soon--

PS- Sarah (my new BFF) and I went to check on the baby we helped deliver last week. SHE. IS. PERFECT. Perfect, I tell you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On birthin' babies

Ever since being there for Anise's birth a few weeks ago, I have wanted to attend another birth. I told Sarah (my midwife friend here in Jacmel) and she called me last night at midnight to let me know she had a woman in labor who was already at 5cm if I wanted to tag along. I woke right up and off we went into the night.

We arrive at the house-- a very modest 2 room house that doubles as a street-front "store" where they sell various dried/canned goods. It was there we'd spend the next 15 hours with this woman, her aunt, and occasionally her husband. Sometimes he'd stop in to "help" but he mostly didn't want to be around. It was a long and tiring night. Finally, at around 2:15 PM the next day, the baby arrived. A healthy and beautiful baby girl. Both mama and baby are doing great last I heard before going to bed at 6:30 last night. (I was a little tired.)

Here's the thing I have been thinking about. Birth is kind of a disgusting process. There is every bodily fluid you can imagine-- blood, sweat, tears, amniotic fluid, cervical mucus, pee, vomit, poop, (and as Sarah mentioned) semen, though indirectly. :) It's really, really messy. When I say you deal with these fluids, I mean in ALARMING quantities at times. And it can be a bit scary. And painful. And gross. And for most people, a true endurance activity.

But it's so worth it. Look at this picture. It's SO worth it.

It was with those thoughts in my mind that I ran across THIS BLOGPOST that Troy Livesay had linked to on his facebook. Wow. My world is officially rocked.

Monday, December 14, 2009

HCH Mangine update-- December 15, 2009

Every time I start an update, I always think about starting with something like, “wow, we’ve been busy.” I am trying to think of something more original to say, but the first thing that always pops into my head is how busy we’ve been. And it’s always true!

Before I get into things in earnest today, I wanted to mention a few quick things that I don’t want to forget! First, I wanted to make sure you all knew that while I do official updates twice a month (or, gulp, once a month—sorry—the Dec 1 update kind of got away from me!) I update our family blog- almost daily. That is a great place to go to hear more of the day-to-day things happening in our family and about our kids. Additionally both Nick and I are on facebook and regularly update our friends there with photos and stories of our kids. If you’re on facebook, join us over there too!

One other housekeeping item:

The end of the year is coming! Many people have asked us about donation receipts for tax purposes. In January 2010 our administrative offices will send out donation receipts for all donations made in the 2009. If you’d like to make a year-end donation to be credited towards the 2009 year, it needs to be postmarked by December 31, 2009 if sent via the postal service OR you can donate online up until December 31 as well.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the REAL reason I am updating you today. Our family! It is getting HUGE these days. We moved into our new house on December 1 and since our last update have added 2 children and 2 full-time, live-in staff.

Jean Louis came home to us at the end of November. This kid is a riot. He NEVER, EVER, EVER stops talking. He’s constantly joking around and he’s got a very distinctive way of speaking that’s INCREDIBLY difficult for Nick and I to understand. We’re not really sure exactly where he’s from in Haiti, but his accent would suggest somewhere north of here. He’s a real joker, and many times, doesn’t understand that he’s taken a joke too far. That’s been our biggest struggle with him. Even when we’re correcting him, he’s smiling and laughing—which is frustrating at times. While he is outgoing and loud, at other times he shows us that he’s just a scared little boy. We’re trying to love him well and teach him that his attitude is an example for the younger children and so he needs to respect us.

Jerry came to us on December 5th. It’s been a LONG week with him. He’s a sweet boy. I can tell he does love us and he likes being in our family, but he has so much going on in his little head that he just doesn’t know what he wants sometimes. He has LENGTHLY tantrums. VERY lengthy. Hours at a time. But even so, we love him. He’s very affectionate (when he’s not trying to bite, kick, or hit us.) He loves to be cuddled and comes up to kiss me several times each hour.

It’s interesting. All of our kids are very much in need of positive physical touch. They all like to be held and hugged and kissed. They fight over who gets to sit next to us or on our laps during a movie or car ride. And while in theory, we want to shower them with this, because they SO need to have it, both Nick and I at times find ourselves exhausted from constantly having children hanging all over us every waking moment. (And sometimes during sleep too if someone’s sick or having a tantrum.) That being said, we’re happy they want to attach to us in this way, and we are trying to discourage them from showing too much physical affection to others during this time of attachment—especially visiting teams, as it only exacerbates the feelings of loss as people so frequently come in and out of their lives.

The other two additions to our family are our old friend, Hugues and our new friend, Anndavid. Both are excellent additions and are helping us tremendously.

From a child protection standpoint, we were hesitant to hire a male employee to live with us. But when we found out Hugues was interested in a job, we jumped on the opportunity. We’ve known and loved him for years and he was hired to help with various things around the house—cleaning, yardwork, washing the car, toting water, general maintenance, keeping the electricity running, pumping water, filling the generator with gas, etc. He’s very servant-hearted, reliable, a very good example for the children and an incredibly hard worker.

Anndavid is from St. Marc and she was referred to us by Nahomie’s father, who is a pastor there. Anndavid is a nanny and she helps with the cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing, etc. She is a graceful woman who has an incredibly sweet spirit. She’s a hard worker and she has a beautiful singing voice. She’s very good with the children—firm but loving. She’s a hard worker and does things joyfully without complaining. Her personality is a perfect fit for our family. We love having her here.

We’re all settled into our new house and WE LOVE IT! I cannot imagine loving a house more. I am at the point where I am actually a tiny bit sad about the prospect of moving when God blesses us with the funds to build on our land in Raymond. (I willl get over that I am sure!) I am thankful that God has given us far more than contentment with where we live, he’s given us all an overwhelming sense of joy to live here.

We’re looking forward to the holidays. Nick’s parents are coming in to celebrate with us. We can’t wait to see them and share the joy of Christmas with them as they experience Haiti, this place we love, for the first time. Pray for a safe and happy time together!

As you gather together, whether in person or just spirit, know that our hearts are with you. Know that we’re praying for you and that we’re grateful for your support. We love our lives. We love being this busy. We love what we get to do. We love what God is doing through YOUR faithfulness in supporting our family. Thank you!

With very grateful hearts.

Gwenn for the entire Mangine 14

Nick, Gwenn

Nia, Nico, Josiah

Fritzie, Prisca, Wildarne, Jerry, Jean Louis

Nahomie, Esther, Hugues, Anndavid

Jerry with Nick the day we picked him up!

Gwenn with Jean Louis... we brought him into Port Au Prince with us last weekend.

Our new nanny, Anndavid

Our new staff member, Hugues

Nick at our NEW house!

Contact info:

Phone in Haiti: 011-509-3878-2886

Facebook names: Gwenn Goodale Mangine, Nick Mangine

Gwenn's blog:

Nick's blog:


The Brothers

We use this barber shop in town called "The Brothers." I like it there. You gotta respect a place where the barbers are all drinking Prestige (National Beer of Haiti and incidentally, as I always mention--World Beer Cup Winner year 2000 in the category of "American Style Lager") while cutting hair and there are tributes to Michael Jackson plastering the walls. You also have to laugh at the fact that they have two sets of prices for haircuts-- one for if they have city power and others (higher) for if they have to use the generator. So here's a tip-- go after 1PM if you want to save a little.

The cost:
Child: 50 gourdes on city power/75 gourdes on generator
Adult: 75 gourdes on city power/ 100 gourdes on generator

Here's a few snaps. All the Mangine men were shorn there last week in advance of the big family photo shoot (except Nick, who technically is the only TRUE Mangine man now isn't he?) I cut his hair. Although our clippers are starting to die, so I think he might be visiting The Brothers in a few weeks.

All the guys after the barber. I think they are pretty handsome. And I'd like to offer a giant thank you to all of the Haitians in the photo who prove me right when I tell you that they don't smile in pictures.

Mother of the year, once again

Most of the time when I have a "Mother of the Year" moment, I feel terrible for a few minutes, but then I can laugh at my mistake and shake it off and move on.

However, Saturday I screwed up ROYALLY. And I think this one will stick with me.

On Saturdays Nahomie goes to the market to buy our produce for the week. She usually takes Fritzie with her because she can't carry everything by herself. On Saturday, Fritzie was not feeling well and so Nahomie asked if she could take Jean Louis. I said yes. Jean Louis was not happy about this but I thought he was just being lazy. So I gave him this big lecture about how everyone in the family has to do things they don't always like to do. For example, I had to get up earlier than everyone that morning and prepare breakfast. And then I had to tote boxes of rice for about an hour. Didn't particularly want to do either of those things, but I did because when you're in a family, you all have to work together.... Blah, blah, blah. He's not even a teenager but his eyes began to glaze over as if he were.

I sent him and Nahomie out on a taxi and they were off.

When Jean Louis came home he was very moody. I told him that he needed to change his attitude or he wasn't going to go to the beach with us that afternoon. As we were sitting eating lunch, Nahomie mentioned that Jean Louis was crying a lot at the market. So I again, figured he was just giving teenage attitude and asked her more about it so I could discuss it with him further and decide if he should be able to go to the beach or not. She said that he was moping around at the market and so she set him down on a bench and told him to sit there until she was done and then she'd come back with the stuff she needed help carrying. When she returned he was sitting on the bench sobbing.

As Nahomie was telling us this, a lightbulb went off in my brain. I remembered that just a month ago when he was abandoned, he was abandoned in that very market. Saturday, he thought he was being abandoned all over again.

I. felt. like. crap.

Here I am, judging him with my attitude and actions, and yet I was SO. FAR. OFF.

Bringing in kids with histories like ours comes with all sorts of baggage. Please pray that we'd have the grace to bear that in mind in our everyday interactions. It's a thin, thin line between living with grace and being a permissive parent. As we walk that line, we don't feel as if we always know if we're doing the right thing.

Maya Angelou said, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."

This I now know. For now at least, I am not sending Jean Louis back to the market. At least not without me holding his hand.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

PSA-- on loving your mother

It's okay to love your mother. So long as you don't LOVE your mother.

This may very well be the creepiest tap tap I have seen so far.

The Mangine 14

Friday, December 11, 2009


I am procrastinating right now. I need to finish unpacking but I can't will myself to do it.

Any of my "organizer" girlfriends want to come down this weekend to help me finish this job?!?!

*sigh* I didn't think so.

I miss you girlfriends of mine...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Market haggling.

I needed a new pair of sandals for church. I have a bunch of flip flops and Keen-type sandals, but nothing that was pretty for church. With the church directory photos coming up on Saturday, I decided to "splurge" and buy something that didn't look so, well, "missionary-ish" (ie Keen sandals) to wear with my dress for the picture.

So off to the market I went this morning. After a bunch of searching, I found a pair that would do-- I didn't love them, but they would do. So then the interesting part begins. Price negotiation. Being by myself as a white woman at the market I am automatically at a disadvantage. My Kreyol is improving lately, but I also am at a disadvantage because I am not completely fluent. So I asked her how much she wanted for them.

She said $30 Haitian. (Which is 150 gourdes, or about $3.75 USD.) Now, let me stress that there was nothing special about these sandals. And let me also stress that ALL prices in Haiti are negotiable. Sure, these shoes were new, but they were just glorified flip flops-- jelly shoes actually, with a mess of rhinestones. I can see paying about $8-$10 in the US for these shoes, but we're not in the US. And so I knew this wasn't a deal. However, not having the advantage (as I previously mentioned), I offered her $20 Haitian. (Which is 100 gourdes or about $2.50 USD.) She laughs at me and says no way.

So I say, "Pa gen pwoblem. Mwen ka cheche lot merchann." (No problem, I can look around at other vendors.) And I start to walk away. And here's the thing. I wasn't playing hardball. I really meant it. It's not like my life was going to end without these shoes. So I turn to leave. Then after that she all of a sudden changes her tune. She wants me to pay $25 Haitian. ($3.12ish in USD.) I really wasn't interested in paying over $3 for some jelly shoes. So I said no. At which she grabs the money out of my hand and starts yelling at me, saying that she will give it to me, but I am trying to rip her off. Of course I didn't have the correct change, so it was a $50 Haitian bill. (250 gourdes-- $6.25USD.) So I needed change. Which is the BANE of my existence. Because NO ONE EVER has the right change. Like seriously. Never. Or even if they do, they don't give it to you, hoping you won't check or you'll be in too much of a hurry to wait for them to walk off to other vendors to make change.

However, I felt like this was a hill worth dying on. I was GOING TO get correct change. She was hesitant. Then she hastily reached into her purse and handed me a wad of tattered and crumpled money. I counted it and (miracle of miracles) it was correct! So I say thank you and go to walk away with my change and my sandals and she stops me and says, "NO! You owe me $5 Haitian." (Which I did not.)

I told her, "No you agreed to sell them to me for $20 Haitian. I have you $50 Haitian. You gave me $30 Haitian. We're even."

So then SHE says, "No, I said $25 Haitian. You need to pay me $25 Haitian. You owe me $5 more."

I took the sandals and threw them down on her table and said, "Forget it. Just forget it. Give me my money back. I don't want your sandals anymore."

She looks at me and screams, "No Madame! I will NOT give you your money back. Just leave. Take the sandals and leave."

So I did, feeling emotions of about 25% perturbed and 75% satisfied.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Interesting quote

"I had a heart until I became a missionary." -- name withheld.

Several months ago when we were new in Haiti Nick heard a missionary say this. (Don't try to figure out-- it's no one you know... I can say that with confidence because I don't even know the person.)

At the time, it seemed an odd statement. Seemed a bit backwards. But the longer I'm here, the more it rings true. Don't get me wrong. I love it here. In so many ways, it is life-giving. It is EXACTLY where I want to be and EXACTLY what I want to be doing. BUT... I totally get that statement. At times it must appear to others that I really do not have a heart. When I pass begging street kids in Port and just don't even make eye contact anymore. When I don't feel obligated to take in a kid or find a solution for school. When I feel like, "yeah, that's not my problem."

It's interesting because I don't think it's me becoming "jaded." I don't think my heart is calloused. I don't think I'm becoming desensitized. In fact, I think it's the opposite. I think it's that my heart is so incredibly OVER sensitive and overstimulated by the UNENDING need. I think my heart simply realizes that if I am going to be able to survive here for the long run, it needs to protect itself. It's simply a survival mechanism.

Don't why I felt like I needed to mention this-- just something I am kind of thinking through.

Off to bed. Had another hour+ tantrum session with Jerry this evening. Literally, my muscles are aching with exhaustion... Skinny I tell you. I will be skinny after this is all said and done.

Tantrums and Haiti Fit

Jerry had another hour-long tantrum this morning.

When I say tantrum, I mean TANTRUM. Screaming and hitting and trying to bite and kick. For AN HOUR! (Yesterday was an hour and a half, so at least we're moving in the right direction.)

It reminds me of Nico when he first came home to us. Of course Nico was 2 and ITTY ITTY BITTY, so controlling a raging 2 year old is a different story than controlling a raging 8 year old. Even so-- it's all good. Pray alongside us for peace in his little hurting heart.

On a lighter side, I am pretty sure if this keeps up for any appreciable length of time, Nick and I will be RIPPED the next time you see us. Turns out it takes a lot of core strength to so this job! We've got a whole line of exercise videos we're gonna make:
  • -Haiti Fit: Water Toting Edition (Combination of Strength Training with Cardio)
  • -Haiti Fit: Attachment Disorder Edition (Core training combined with Martial Arts)
  • -Haiti Fit: Trying to Figure Out How to Get on Your Roof Edition (Various gymnastic maneuvers)
  • -Haiti Fit: Cardio Edition (includes short interval segments like "Swatting Mosquitoes off You", "Swatting Children off You", "Running to the Bathroom Because you Have Giardia," etc. etc. etc...
  • Haiti Fit: Sauna Edition-- This is a relaxation video that includes sitting around your house. Sweating.
This is an ever-expanding line of videos... more will be created in the future I am sure.

Sunday, December 6, 2009



Life is so busy.

In the past week--
  • two new boys (Jerry and Jean Louis)
  • two new staff members (Hugues + Anndavid)
  • one new house (but with two "apartments")
Our family now totals 14. The sheer amount of food we consume at each meal is mind-boggling. And we will still more than DOUBLE in size before all is said and done.


Please pray for us. We are behind on EVERYTHING... office work, emails, updates, thank you notes, uploading pictures... we are living with no margin and we need to figure that out better as we settle into a new normal.

All that being said... twas a great day. Nick and I taught children's church (in Kreyol--- yes, it was broken Kreyol, but IN KREYOL nonetheless.) We had a great trip to the beach with the kiddos tonight then had spaghetti, advent devotions and watched 1/3 of a movie, "The Gospel of John."

NEED to get our room unpacked tomorrow. It's beyond words how bad things are in here... IF I can find my cardreader in this mess I call a room, I will upload some new pics tomorrow.

Quick update on Jerry. His first 24 hours were GREAT. And then it started going downhill. FAST. He had an hour and a half long screaming tantrum where he was biting and scratching and punching and biting. (Grandparents, don't worry, he wasn't around any of the other kids.) Nick sat with him through most of it. And then Nahomie and I took over at about the hour mark. After fighting him for several minutes, we just got him ready for bed (it took me AND Nahomie to wrangle him into a pullup). Then we brought him to his bed and I held him on top and Nahomie held him on the bottom. He did resist and scream (loudly). So I started praying fervently. I prayed that the same God who said he was sending his Son to bring peace on earth would bring peace now to Jerry's little confused and sad little soul. Over and over I prayed this. And over and over. I held him and whispered my prayers in his ears-- in English and Kreyol.

And after about 10 minutes of that-- like a switch went off-- he fell asleep. I have a feeling he will sleep well tonight. But even if not-- we're all in.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jerry's home.

He's great. I can't wait to tell you more, but not now. We're getting ready to celebrate his "birthday" with cake and presents...

Friday, December 4, 2009


I love this guy named Nosga right now. He's a household name around any HCH/JIH house. He's our go-to guy for electricity/plumbing, etc. He's been incredibly helpful with getting everything in the house here up and running.

All 5 bathrooms and components there of are functioning.

All of our lights are working.

We have ceiling fans installed. Leaks are fixed.

If I could only get him to arrange the utter and total chaos that is my room right now, I might be willing to offer him the hand of my first child in marriage.

And come on, Nosga?! How cool of a name is that?!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Demen si Dye vle

One of my favorite Creole expressions is, "Demen si Dye Vle." (If you're an English speaker, you'd pronounce something like, "Day men see jay vlay. It means, "Tomorrow if God wants." I see it as the equivalent of the American expression, "Lord willing." (As in, I will get paid tomorrow, Lord willing.) But Haitian people use it ALL the time. Whenever they are talking about something that's going to happen the next day, it's never just going to happen the next day. It's always si Dye vle. I have started doing it, just because I like the way it sounds coming off my tongue.

So, with that in mind, here's my list of to-do's for tomorrow, si Dye vle.
  • Demen si Dye vle, I am going to pick a less chub-rub-inducing outfit. Even though it's really cooled down quite a bit lately, this is still Haiti. And I need to remember my limits. :)
  • Demen si Dye vle, I am going to write the bi-weekly update that I usually write on the 1st and the 15th to our supporters. I am late. Again. This time I wasn't putting it off, I simply forgot.
  • Demen si Dye vle, I am going to find the memory card for my camera so that I can take some snaps of the house. I wanted to do a whole "in process thing"but apparently Dye didn't vle since I took some pictures not knowing there was no card in there. And in a related item, Jeanlouis birthday photos were all on the "Phantom card"
  • Demen si Dye vle, I AM going to PedEgg/Heeltastic my nasty feet. Oh yes, I will. (Well,I will si Dye vle.)
  • Demen si Dye vle, I am not going to scream at any of my kids. I have to warn you, God's going to have REALLY want that one if he wants it to work out.
  • Demen si Dye vle, Josiah's green snot will be gone and I can stop finding boogers that he's wiped all over the house.
  • Demen si Dye vle, I have staff meeting, another staff meeting, Friday church. And oh yeah, a whole load of kids too...
Lots more, but I think you get the point.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I love this house.

I really, really love it.
Really. I mean, it's a mess. But I LOVE it. Have I mentioned I love it?

I am SO happy to be here and so is everyone in our whole huge family. (Currently at 12-- will be 13 by the end of the week-- possibly 14 if we hire the new staff member we are talking about-- have interviewed about 6 people-- still waiting for the right one.) Speaking of the right one-- we love Hugues. He is such an excellent worker. I cannot imagine being more satisfied with the work he's doing. I think he's very quickly going to become our right hand man. (And just to rub it in ONE more time, everyone on our team is jealous that we nabbed him as they wanted him for themselves. There was even some talk of Danny trying to negotiate a trade. -- Dude, Danny, back OFF! :)

We have WATER here! We had our 2,000 gallon cistern filled this morning-- so we are good for a LONG time... ah, what a relief.

We're still hoping to get our generator installed tonight-- our "bos" has been working on it since mid-day-- otherwise it's mosquito city at 2AM. Or possibly 3AM.

One quick prayer request-- the power here is not powering our fridges or freezer. We're hoping that once we get the batteries charged that the power from them/the generators/inverter will be sufficient... Otherwise, we're kind of screwed. (Right now all our frozen/cold goods are in the team housing freezer.) Please pray that we wake to cold in our fridges and freezer--all of which are brand new or were brand new 4 months ago.

More tomorrow.

Name that tune.

Hint: Think 1980's

The water saga.

So, any of you who are on facebook know that we've been having UNENDING water sagas in this house. The main problem is that city water has stopped flowing. Well, sometimes --like maybe 2 times a week-- it comes for about 7 minutes at a time (only enough to fill about a 5 gallon bucket and make you mad.)

So we've been waterless. A lot. As I have probably mentioned, all the water for our house is stored on tanks on the roof. So, what Nick (and Hugues) have been doing a lot lately (roughly once a day) is making a run over to the Pye's house to fill up two 55 gallon barrels of water, as well as about 6-8 5 gallon buckets we have sitting around. They use a bucket brigade system there from Danny's basin to the big barrels and then drive back here and use the bucket brigade system to our basin, which we then, in turn, pump to the roof. So we're getting about 130ish gallons of water (minus spillage) per water run. The whole process takes about an hour to an hour and a half, and is very labor intensive, but will usually last us about 1 and a half - 2 days if we're all careful.

But at least it works. Well, let me be more accurate. It WAS working. Until the comedy of errors that is our life started happening this past week.

A few days ago, Nick and Hugues did their water-getting thing-- we flushed the two toilets that had been "collecting" (gag!) and went to bed. In the morning, we had no water. NONE. Nahomie told us that her shower handle broke as she was turning it off and so they couldn't turn the water off all night. (AND YOU'RE JUST TELLING ME ABOUT THIS NOW???) So it was all gone. Mikey fixed the shower for us-- it was all good.

But we went the day without water. Toilets collected. Nick and Hugues went to fill up again. And this time someone (presumably Jean Louis) left the outside shower dripping (which we didn't even knew WORKED because no one ever uses it.) And guess what happened? ALL the water dripped out-- in the morning we had no water.

Next night, Nick and Hugues go on a water run-- replenish our supply. Apparently same shower problem happens again in Nahomie's bathroom. Handle breaks off. She said it broke this time in the off position, BUT, ALL THE WATER IS GONE.

Yesterday, I went to Port Au Prince with the truck, so Nick couldn't make a water run. They were desperate when I got home. The stench of latrines were starting to creep out from the bathroom into other rooms of the house. It was bad. So he and Hugues (who has a great attitude even though I suspect he's beginning to really hate his job) go on ANOTHER bucket brigade water run. Good news--this time a shower doesn't leak out all the water. Bad news-- this is only because about halfway through unloading the water into the basin, the plug at the bottom gives way and water starts shooting out-- by the time we could get it back in place we've already lost about 1/2 the water. But we shrug it off (after many silent curse words passing through our heads, and maybe even a few crossing our actual lips) and commence filling, pumping at the same time so as to make sure we can get the water to the roof as we're dumping it in. We continue to bucket brigade it. And as I am pouring a bucket it, I notice the pump sounds funny. So I tell Nick, "Hon, I don't think it's actually pumping any water up." He climbs to the roof and I hear some more colorful expletives. No, in fact the water is NOT pumping. Because for whatever reason-- perhaps it lost its prime, perhaps a pipe is cracked (both of which happened LAST week in our water saga)-- it was not working. So... We're out. We're done.

We still have about 5 buckets of water left that we had planned to dump in the basin and pump. We told our family-- currently 12 people-- that THAT water has to last us all until we move tomorrow. Bathe out of a bucket. Do dishes out of a bucket. Do laundry out of buckets of water (... oh wait, you already do that...) But we're OUT. No more.

If it wouldn't be too much to ask, can you PLEASE pray that we have good water at the new house tomorrow??? It seems like a stupid thing to ask for in a country where people are do deeply poverty stricken that MANY people have no running water. But it makes life SO MUCH EASIER.

Nick silently repeating the words, "I love my life, I love my life, I love my life..."

Hugues toting water with a smile.

Nick and Fritzie filling buckets. Neither smile is real.

Then this is just totally random-- but while all this was occurring, I snapped this pic of Jos-- which in the end, made us ALL smile real smiles and laugh out loud.