Monday, May 31, 2010

Short video of Pinchinat.

This is Pinchinat.
This is where people are LIVING.
In tents with no floors in the rain and mud.
During the days when it's sunny, I would bet you it's EVERY bit of 130F in there. Maybe higher. There are no windows. It STINGS your eyes to enter it's so hot.

This is where people are LIVING.

Here's a link to it too... sorry it's so short...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The forecast. Rain's not stopping any time soon...

Updated: 1:00 AM EST on May 30, 2010
Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. High: 32 °C . Wind North 10 km/h . 50% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 11.44 mm). Heat Index: 40 °C .
Sunday Night
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. Low: 22 °C . Wind ESE 7 km/h . 30% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 4.68 mm).
Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. High: 33 °C . Wind Calm. 60% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 16.79 mm). Heat Index: 41 °C .
Monday Night
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Partly Cloudy. Low: 21 °C . Wind Calm. 40% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 5.30 mm).
Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. High: 34 °C . Wind ESE 10 km/h . 50% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 11.99 mm). Heat Index: 42 °C .
Tuesday Night
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. Low: 21 °C . Wind SE 7 km/h . 30% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 2.70 mm).
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. High: 33 °C . Wind ESE 14 km/h . 40% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 4.51 mm). Heat Index: 39 °C .
Wednesday Night
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Overcast. Low: 20 °C . Wind ESE 14 km/h . 30% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 1.66 mm).
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. High: 33 °C . Wind ESE 21 km/h . 30% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 0.85 mm). Heat Index: 36 °C .
Thursday Night
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. Low: 20 °C . Wind ESE 10 km/h . 30% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 0.47 mm).
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. High: 35 °C . Wind ESE 18 km/h . 30% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 0.59 mm). Heat Index: 36 °C .
Friday Night
Chance of Rain. Scattered Clouds. Low: 19 °C . Wind ESE 10 km/h . 20% chance of precipitation (trace amounts).
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. High: 35 °C . Wind ESE 14 km/h . 30% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 0.65 mm). Heat Index: 39 °C .
Saturday Night
Chance of a Thunderstorm. Scattered Clouds. Low: 19 °C . Wind ESE 10 km/h . 30% chance of precipitation (water equivalent of 0.62 mm).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pinchinat-- using my voice.

I know some people are probably tired of me talking about the refugee camp (Pinchinat) I often visit. Well, if that is you-- you might want to stop reading my blog, because I am fixin' to take some bigger steps into working there.

The truth is, the situation is only getting worse. It's far worse. What we feared would happen with rainy season IS happening. It's a big mess and thousands of people are being forced to live in conditions that wouldn't be appropriate for ANIMALS. This is not okay.

I am not trying to stir the pot and get people all mad at me, but I am going to spend a lot of time in the next few weeks trying to use my voice to highlight what's REALLY going on in refugee camps in Haiti. What's being done and what's NOT being done. This is just a small camp-- maybe about 4,000-5,000 people remain there? But throughout Haiti it is estimated that there are still 1.3-1.7 MILLION people living in camps. This is not okay.

People are sick in these camps. People are dying. The conditions are WORSE than ever. The mud and rain are beyond description. They are only one set of latrines, (though they are working on another set.) And people there are beginning to really resent the international community who came in for a short time promising help, only to have left before the job is finished. Heck, most people left before the true consequences of the crisis were displayed.

People, the crisis is not over. It's not NEAR to being over. Haiti still needs your help. Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere BEFORE January 12.

It does NOT have the power to recover from this tragedy alone.

Haiti still needs you.

M' pap kite ou pou kont ou Ayiti...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Boys are gross.

If I have to listen to any more jokes/commentary/discussion about peeing/pooping/passing gas I might LITERALLY vomit.

Whose idea was it to have 5 boys?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oops -- Nick

Sorry, everyone for turning off the RSS feed for a week :(

I should be back now :)

- Nick

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


These flies are OUT OF CONTROL.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Duggar Envy

These past two weeks have been rough ones. We've been having a lot of really difficult behaviors we've been addressing with our kids. I am not going to get into specifics because it would just bore you and annoy me...

Last night, at the end of my rope with my disobedient pre-teenage boys for about the 105th time in the previous hour, I walked (stomped) up the stairs and blurted out to Nick, "Seriously? This is our life? Why are ALL our kids disobedient ALL the time?"

Nick said, "I think that's the name of the game Gwennie."

And I said, "No, I don't think everyone's family is like this."

And he said, "Name one big family that doesn't have kids like ours."

And saying the first name that came to mind I said, "The Duggars."

And he said, "They also had the privilege of having all of their kids since birth."

I thought that was a good point. Which is not to say that having biological kids only makes all the problems go away. But man, we're talking YEARS and YEARS and YEARS (more than a decade in at least three of our kids) of time we've missed. We're talking years of living with a HUGE relational deficit. I will level with you-- most of our kids are SEVERELY relationally stunted.

Pray for us as we try to love these children God has given us-- children who need to be loved, but don't know they need to be loved. Children who purposely act out to test this love. Children who physically cannot look us in the eyes. Children who don't understand physical boundaries because their own boundaries were violated at early, early ages. Children who steal from us. Children who curse at us and mock us. And bite us. And hit us. And laugh at us. Children who have tantrums that are hours long, who tell us daily that they are running away, that they CAN'T live here anymore. Children (two of them) who HAVE tried to run away.

But they can't help it. They cannot help it.

These are children who have been:
  • abused,
  • abandoned,
  • raped,
  • orphaned,
  • enslaved...
Sometimes the reality of what we're attempting to do here seems SO enormous that I can't imagine we could POSSIBLY succeed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Product Review: Pert Plus FRESH

Oh. my. word. I have found the next great thing for people living in Haiti and its name is, "Pert Plus Fresh Cooling 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner." Holy goodness. This product is amazing.

Do you remember my love affair with Gold Bond powder? It's like that. Like rubbing a Peppermint Pattie (sans the chocolate) all over you. But for your head and hair. It is VERY cooling.

Here's the best way to use it-- in conjunction with the end of a hot day and a cold shower. Apply, lather, rinse. (Repeat if desired, of course.) Finish your shower. Dry off. Apply Gold Bond powder to every possible inch of your skin and lay in your pj's in front of a fan. It's downright COLD. Well it's not. But the menthol rush you get makes you shiver so you think you're cold.

This is going on a list of my favorite things along with Venus razors, The Ped Egg, Gold Bond, and Nick Mangine.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Link to a great post.

This really spoke to me today... thought I'd share.

What the heck?

What the heck is the deal with all the posts today?

Well, since you asked... I've been wanting to update our blog for a long time, adding buttons for FAQ's, support info, info about our kids, Nick's twitter feed, etc.

I thought by doing it as individual blog posts, I can catch up "new" readers on the story. If you're an "old" reader, today probably won't be very interesting. Sorry.

How to support our family

As a family, we're responsible for raising a monthly budgeted need of about $6,000. We are always seeking new families, churches, individuals and corporations to partner with us to help us meet this need.

Please consider supporting us. We need one-time donations and ongoing support. Because Joy in Hope is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, all donations are tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt in the mail each January for tax purposes.

There are two easy ways to donate:
Click on "Mangine Family" as reason for donation.

  • Donate via snail mail-
Checks can be mailed to:

Joy in Hope
2731 NC Hwy 55 #251
Cary, NC 27519
(Be sure to write "Mangine Family" in the memo.)

Thanks y'all!

And oh-- if you're interested in a more detailed copy of our budget, email Nick at and he can send it to you.

Photo intro to our family.

This is us--

Nick and Gwenn Mangine. We got married in October of 2000.

And here's a little info on the gaggle of kids in our home. We have grown our family in some traditional and non-traditional ways. We believe that family is chosen and permanent. Two of are kids are biological, we adopted one, eight are in the long-term custody of the organization, and one is in our personal custody with intent to adopt.

The children of Joy in Hope are not available for adoption. We think adoption is a fantastic thing (obviously) but it is not the focus of our work here. Instead, we want to give orphaned, abandoned, and enslaved children the opportunity to grow up in their own culture in a strong family. It is our desire that this opportunity will translate into well-educated, healthy and adjusted community members when they are ready to enter society. We believe that strategy can ultimately lead to Jacmel becoming greatly strengthened over several generations, which will lead to ripples throughout Haiti.

We generally accept children between the ages of 5-12. And then they stay with us for the long haul! We've made a long term commitment to these kids.

Here are our kids in the order they came into our family--

Nia-- Born July 2003 (biological)

Nico- Born November 2004, Joined family July 2007

Josiah- Born June 2007 (biological)

Fritzie- Born September 1994, Joined family September 2009

Prisca- Born June 2002, Joined family September 2009

Wildarne- Born September 2003, Joined family- September 2009

Jean Louis- Born December 1997, Joined family December 2009

Jerry- Born December 2001, Joined family December 2009

Yves- Born February 1998 (date in question), Joined family March 2010

Sanndi- Born July 2001, Joined family July 2010

Manita- Born July 2006, Joined family December 2010

Schneider- Born November 2010, Joined family June 2011

And our dog, Piman, too... She's not a kid but she's a great part of the insanity of our home.

Here's all of us in one place at one time: The Mangine Many (as we like to call ourselves)
Side note: Long ago we realized that we'd never have a truly good family photo where everyone is smiling/happy, open-eyed, etc. So we just embrace the disheveled-everyone-is-looking-different-direction kind of look. But this strategy comes with a warning. Just because a kid might look like they are a mass murderer in this picture doesn't mean they actually are one. =For example, in this picture, our likely future mass murder is smiling... (JUST KIDDING!)

Our Staff

We have a big desire to provide stable employment for our employees.

Here's a brief intro to our team: (in no particular order)

Georgette and Mike-- Directors of Community Development

Saintcia- Mangine family housekeeper/nanny

Noseda- JiH Maintenance Director

Hugues- JiH House Manager

Black- Security Guard

Felecia- JiH Nanny

Edit- JiH Administrator

Guernia- Pwoje Konekte Administrator

Francette- Laundry

Nick and Gwenn-- Dad and Mom

Our Vision

Trying to explain the vision of the children's home branch of JiH in writing seems a little challenging. It's really something that is better understood by seeing it firsthand. That being said, let me do my best to paint the picture of what we've seen and what we are desiring to replicate.

There is a crisis happening in Haiti. Approximately 15% of children in Haiti are orphaned or abandoned. Approximately 7% of children are enslaved. Add those two numbers us and we're looking at 22%, nearly ONE FOURTH, of the children in Haiti are in need of a home and a family. There are many, many orphanages and other NGO's in Haiti trying to address this situation. We want to be part of the solution.

In some ways, and in some circumstances, the word "orphanage" is the easiest way to describe what we do. Like an orphanage, we accept orphaned and abandoned children. Like an orphanage, we care for basic physical needs--food, shelter, clean water, clothing, and medical care. Like an orphanage, we see that the children have access to education. However, that's just the beginning of what we do. We believe that it is the other things that we do that sets the the children's home here apart from most orphanages.

We desire to provide a family home for children to grow. We desire to have a safe place where children can be children. We desire to create an environment where children can heal from the scars of loss and abuse and slavery and abandonment. We desire to go far beyond caring for the basic needs of life and model the extravagant love of our Father God.

Our story (aka- How Did We Get Here?)

(Written by Gwenn and Nick in August 2008)

Gwenn here...

I want to start off by saying that I don't think that there is anything all that special about our family. When people hear about our plans for our move, we tend to get a lot of comments as to how "amazing" we are. We're really not. We're just totally normal (well, kind of normal :) people who are taking advantage of a really amazing opportunity. It has very little to do with us, and a whole bunch to do with this process of walking with God and trying to follow where He leads. So here's the story of how we got to where we are now and why we are going where we are going.

I want to begin our story in April of 2005. It was a typical Sunday morning. Nick and I had been married for 5.5 years, and our daughter, Nia was almost 2. We were sitting in church and a man named Joe started to give an announcement about an upcoming trip to Haiti. I have to admit that I can't remember much about the announcement other than were was some home video footage rolling in the background of some children in some really destitute situations, and that he was talking about a construction project. I also feel like I have to admit that I sort of tuned Joe out at this point. I had no interest in this trip-- and I honestly didn't even know where Haiti was. (I was thinking that it was probably in Africa based on the images I was seeing... yes, public school failed me miserably.)

But a minute or two into the announcement, I started feeling this strong feeling deep inside of me. And the thought that just kept coming to my head was, "Pay attention to this, because you are going on this trip." I kept fighting this feeling, and in my head I was talking back to it saying, "That's ridiculous. I am not going on this trip. I have a two year old kid at home, I don't have any of the skills they are looking for—I don’t even know where Haiti is. This is not for me." And it went back and forth. It was like one of those cartoons where you see a character with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.

Let me pause for a moment to let you know that I understand this seems weird. It was TOTALLY weird to me. I can’t explain it—and the more I fought back, the more persistent it was. So finally, I leaned over to Nick and said, "This is going to sound strange, but I think I am supposed to go on this trip." There was more to it than that, but to make a long story short-- hence was born our relationship with Haiti.

Fast forward through the next few months to July 23, 2005. This was the day I arrived in Haiti. When I exited the airport and waded my way through the people begging and fighting one another to carry our bags, I knew something had changed inside of me. A switch had flipped in me as I saw this reality I never knew actually existed. Sure, I had seen it in National Geographic-- but that was just the extreme, right? That was just one of the many, many things in life I discovered I was wrong about during that week. I fell in love with the children of Haiti as my heart broke over the orphan crisis. There was one little baby in particular I was drawn to--Jabez. Jabez was a very tiny and sick 10-week-old whose mother had died shortly after his birth. He was living with our hosts that week who would later come to be his guardians. I held him a lot that week, and I ached in my heart when I had to leave him. I came home with a giant paradigm shift in my life-- and I knew everything would be different.

This is Nick. I'll take over from here...

One of my biggest concerns about Gwenn's trip to Haiti was how it was going to change her, and how I would relate to that. But I'm a pretty easy-going guy, and we had been asking God for "what's next" for awhile. Soon after Gwenn's return, "what's next" became very clear--adoption.

Because we were ready to add to our family again, we decided to forgo the biological route and pursue adopting one of the many, many orphaned/abandoned children we had recently begun to learn about. It was a simple decision, but a long, hard process. We were spurred on by the beautiful round face and huge brown eyes of a child named Josue who would become our son, Nico. It was our desire to meet him that brought us back to Haiti. In August 2006 we were scheduled on a team to Nico's orphanage. But just a few weeks before the trip, it was canceled due to an increase in the kidnappings of foreigners outside of Port Au Prince. That was a very hard time. Not only did we want to hold our son, but we'd been praying that God would somehow forge a lasting connection between our family and Haiti. We believe that as adoptive parents, it's our role to teach Nico his culture and heritage. We knew that we could only do this with some level of authenticity if we regularly experienced it. So when our trip was canceled, we decided to contact people we knew on the ground in Haiti to see about visiting an alternate location.

It became obvious early on in our trip that this organization and our family were a match. We believed very strongly in what we saw happening, and our hearts immediately became aligned with the cause. In short, God had asked us to form a connection between North Carolina and Haiti. I never imagined that it would go beyond that level of involvement; I had a vision of this being our job for years to come. But apparently God had more in mind, as he called our church, Crosspointe, to get involved.

It was a Sunday in early October of 2007 when things changed. Our family was in Haiti, the first time all five of us had gone. And at the same time our church was talking about all global initiatives, and asking people to get involved. By the end of that day, all 20 kids at the JiH children's home were fully sponsored, and I realized that our job was done--a connection had been formed. Watching my wife and children interact that evening and seeing each of them love and bond with the kids, I realized that our job was changing. We were no longer called to connect, but to go.

And so that's where we are now. We feel like we were created for this moment in our lives. Everything has led to it, and everything leads from it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions--

Q. Why Haiti?
A. This is probably going to sound a little ridiculous, but we think we were created to live in Haiti. We love Haiti. We feel called to work and raise our children here.

Q. Were you there for the earthquake?
A. Yes. We were all in our home in Jacmel on January 12. It was very scary, but our home was not damaged and no one in our family was injured. We were very fortunate.

Q. Do you feel like it is safe to live in Haiti?
A. We get this question ALL the time. The answer is yes-- and let me explain. I want to start off by saying that we really do feel that every culture has safety risks. It's just inherent to living in a fallen world. The safety risks are different in Haiti than they are at the US. However, we do not feel they are any greater. Here in the US, we all take steps each day to mitigate risk-- we lock doors, maybe we have an alarm system, we buy health insurance, we have cars with airbags. Knowing what risks we might face help to shape how we live our lives. The same thing is true in Haiti. We have educated ourselves to the safety risks in this culture as much as we can, and we're doing all we can to mitigate those risks.

Q. How do you handle schooling for your children?
A. This is a challenge raising Haitian kids and American kids at the same time! For our American kids--we homeschool Nia, Nico, and Josiah based on American standards. Once we feel they are ready in terms of language/culture, we will likely also send them to Haitian school for Creole and French. There are currently no missionary/American schools in Jacmel. Our Haitian children will be going to Haitian schools.

Q. How long do you plan to live in Haiti?
A. We are considering this to be a permanent move for our family. We're committed to seeing all children we accept through adulthood.

Q. How are you funded?
A. Our family is responsible for finding private donors to support us. This includes family, friends, churches, strangers... it could EVEN be you! We have a sponsorship program that covers the cost of the children we care for. Joy in Hope is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all of our support goes through it. We are held accountable for every cent that comes in and goes out. All donations are tax-deductible. To donate securely online go here: and select "Mangine Family." We are in need of regular monthly supporters as well as special one-time gifts.

Q. I have heard that your son Josiah has had open-heart surgery. Is he be able to get the kind of medical care he needs?
A. In short, yes. Josiah was born with a heart defect called, "Transposition of the Great Arteries." The main arteries coming out of his heart were flip-flopped at birth. He had open-heart surgery on day 3 of life to correct that. Josiah has been followed very carefully by top pediatric cardiologists and surgeons at Duke University Medical Center. Josiah's surgery is believed to be definitive, meaning he should never need any kind of follow-up surgery ever again. We have talked with his cardiologist very candidly about this move to Haiti to get his professional and personal opinion. He has told us repeatedly that Josiah has NO increased risk of any sort of cardiac (or other) event. All of his tests show perfect heart function, and from here on out, we've been advised that we can treat him no differently than any other child, and has no activity restrictions. In other words, it's over. He's healed. We will, of course, continue to have him monitored yearly, but we very strongly believe this is a non-issue.

- Superpowers

Here's the thing that's a bummer about kids. They learn things quickly.

For a while, Nick and I had the superpower of talking in front of our (American) kids in either Kreyol or by spelling the words out. Now that dang Nia has learned how to spell AND knows Kreyol. And she's quite the busybody too, so word travels if she gets the news.

But at least we had the superpower of speaking English in front of our Haitian kids, but now we're slowly losing that power too. They are just too smart.

These kids' minds are my Kryptonite.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

winged ants and survivor guilt

Here's a peek into my brain these days.

There's this summer phenomenon that happens here that I'd never seen in other places, though I am sure it exists. When it rains, there are these GIANT swarms of flying ants that come into the house. Thousands of them. They are dreadful little things. And then they drop their dreadful wings and the next morning all that's left is a dreadful confetti of translucent wings waiting to be swept up.

It REALLY irritates me. And those dreadful little jerks can bite too. (Have I mentioned they are dreadful?)

So tonight it started raining really hard. Really hard. Rainy season hard. And while I didn't want to say it out loud, I was really happy. Why? Because our cistern is nearly empty and a water truck is 1100 gourdes. I really didn't want to have to pay over $25 for water to be delivered when I knew that rain would be here one of these afternoons and fill it up for free.

But then we started getting the swarms of ants and they really irritated me. They were everywhere. Swarming me like my 9 children. I went into my room to try to escape (the children AND the flying ants) and my bed had probably 5 dozen of these flying ants swarming it. I cleaned them off my bed, had Nick drape me in the mosquito net and turned on a fan while feeling sorry for myself because it was so muggy and buggy and gross and I really want a shower but I still have these dang stitches in and it's not fair that I have a staph infection on my face after I was the one who was always washing my hands... blah, blah, blah. whine, whine, whine.

But then, like a ping pong match, my brain flips back to the refugee camps. I thought about the mud. I thought about the leaky tents and tarps. I read an article today that says they believe the number is not 1.3 million in refugee camps, it's actually probably closer to 1.7 million. I thought about how the flying ants are probably swarming there too. And unlike me, people there don't have a dry bed, a net, a fan... or a North Face raincoat hanging (dry) in my closet right now in case I need to leave my dry home. Or fancy, nearly knee-high Target mud boots like I have. Because yeah, those rain gear items are doing a WHOLE lot of good sitting in my closet. I might as well have THE BEST available to me to leave in my closet and only take out when I go visit "them" in their mud hell.

I have this terrible survivor guilt AT THE SAME TIME as I have this issue of feeling entitled to be comfortable and well taken care of.

I seriously have a head FULL of crazy.

The reason I love Tuesdays

Tuesdays are always bright for me lately since I've started having weekly visits with Oleson.

Grandma is faithful and comes every Tuesday morning for Oleson's formula. He's SO big and cute and chubby. (Chubby is generally not a word heard to describe Hatian babies.) She hasn't missed one week! While I was away in the states, I planned ahead for her so my staff could distribute the weeks I was gone.

Check out these pics:
This is the first time he came, Feb 28 (4 weeks old)

This is him today (almost 4 months old) and in PERFECT health! (And I think with a hint of dimples... :)

Thanks to all you formula-donate-rs! I love the little part we get to play in keeping this family together and giving baby Oleson a healthy start.

PS-- Met a new baby (7 months old little girl) whose mom was killed in the quake. I talked to Dad about the formula program. I am hoping he shows up.