Saturday, July 31, 2010

rut.

in a blogging rut. will be out soon i am sure... hold tight till then.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The fight.









Our team here on the ground engages daily in many "fights."

We fight hunger, and poverty.
We fight homelessness and abuse.
We fight slavery and abandonment.
We fight against illiteracy and cultural insensitivity.
We fight corruption in every level of the government.
We fight against the norms that tell us marital fidelity is somewhat of a fluid concept.
We fight prejudice against Haitians and prejudice against Americans.
We fight to not be seen as "those missionaries."
We fight to live what we claim to believe.
We fight for education and health care.
We fight for basic human rights.
We fight for life.
We fight to teach our children to know more and do better.
We fight the evil desires pent up in our hearts.

Everything here seems like a fight lately.

But in my opinion, there's no greater fight here in Haiti than the battle against the demon of discouragement.

Discouragement tells me--
This isn't working.
This isn't worth it.
You're not making a difference.
You're wasting your time.
"They" will never learn.
This city is too broken to be fixed.
This country is too broken to be fixed.
The piles of rubble are taller than the houses that remain... it will never be removed.
There's not enough money.
There's not enough time.
This kid will never understand how to accept love.
That baby is going to die no matter what I do.
You're not going to change anything.
Why should I continue to care when no one else does?
Why should I work SO FREAKIN' HARD when nothing is changing?

There's this book that I love. It's one of my very favorite books. It's called, "God is no Stranger." And it's filled with simple prayers of Haitian Christians.

Here's a prayer that's very real to me lately--

Senyè,
Gen yon gwo dyab ki rele dekourajman.
Nou mande w’ voye l’ ale.
Paske l’ap nwi nou.

Translation:
Lord,
There is a big devil called discouragement.
We ask you to send him away because he is bothering us.

Today I praying that prayer. And I am just trying to disengage a bit and lay on my bed and think and breathe. And as I thought about all these "fights" I am engaging in, this verse popped into my head...

Exodus 14:14-- The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Oh that I would have the strength and the discipline to do that.



(All photos by Israel Southern--used with permission.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My job.

I love having Israel Southern here. He's a good friend and was actually the ring bearer in my wedding when Nick and I got married nearly 10 years ago. Now he's all grown up and he's a photography student at ECU. He's down here with my mom and is chronicling our lives in photos. They are so neat to look at. I forget how visually interesting Haiti is until I look at it in pictures.

This is my favorite picture he's taken so far. It's me at Pinchinat talking to a mom. I don't remember the mom's name except that she's the mother of a little one year old girl named Marva, who I LOVE! I like this picture because I feel like it captures the joy that this "job" gives me. I love working with moms and babies...


More to share soon...

EDITED TO ADD: Yes, I am aware I need some hair help. It's Haiti in July. Cut me some slack.

Friday, July 23, 2010

HCH Mangine update, July 2010




Hello friends,

We’re into the real heat of summer here in Haiti and I keep reminding myself that if I can get through the next month and a half, it starts to be downhill from here. That being said, we still have the hottest month and a half ahead of us. In times like this, when it’s very hot, its prudent to try to schedule wisely, to do physical work necessary as much as possible before the sun rises and after it sets, and to try to do nothing but sit still with a fan on you during the heat of the day. ; ) I watch my kids playing soccer and riding bikes in the blistering heat of mid-day and I just don’t know how they do it! They certainly keep me on my toes.


A lot of big and exciting things have happened in our home since my last update, our family and our ministry. The most exciting news is that our family has grown yet again when welcomed Sandy into our family. She is newly 9 years old, having just celebrated her birthday on July 11. Sandy has a sad and troubled past and it is our honor to welcome her into our family and our prayer that the process of redemption will begin in her heart.


Another huge labor of love over the past few weeks has been the official launch of Pwojè Konekte (The Connection Project) which is our attempt to try to help our community in this post-quake reality, specifically focusing on Pinchinat, the main refugee camp in Jacmel. We focus on distributing diapers to 60 families in the camp each week. We also have nurse rounds, focusing on community health, referrals to medical clinics in the area and hospital transport. Just this past week we hired a local pastor to visit the residents of Pinchinat—to pray with them and just offer counsel to them from a spiritual perspective. The goal of this project is just to connect people to services (medical and otherwise) already being offered in the community. It has a very individual focus and we’re trying to get to know the individual families and hear their stories so we can meet them where they are.



This project became very personal this past month when we fostered a little boy named Edwinson in our home for two weeks. He was very sick, with what we finally determined was typhoid. We had a few close calls with him, two nights we had to rush him to the hospital with fevers of over 105. He was finally admitted, and after a week in the hospital was doing much better. However, shortly after returning “home” to Pinchinat, he started getting sick again. Earlier this week, his young mom, Carmeta, took him to Les Kay to seek a voudou treatment for him. This is obviously not how I hoped this story would play out. Please pray for Edwinson and for Carmeta. I haven’t talked to them in nearly a week and I miss them.



The end of June was Haitian Father’s Day. It was fun to watch the kids crowd around Nick for a photo and think back to where we were in our family last father’s day. The addition of 7 new kids into a family in a year is quite an adjustment, but it has brought us so much joy.



The beginning of July brought with it Nia’s 7th birthday. She’s growing up very quickly and amazes us every day with her kind, compassionate heart. She’s giving and empathetic and a truly grateful kid. (And she speaks Kreyol better than Nick and I do!)


Thank you for your support. Thank you for sticking with us through the hard times. Thank you for bearing with us when our lives are full of drama. We can only do what we do here because of your faithfulness to partner with us in the sacrificial way that you give. We love Haiti and the life we get to live here. We love our children and our “jobs” here. Please continue keeping us in your prayers as we labor together to serve our community.


Much love to you,

Gwenn Mangine

Sandy shows us her birthday presents.


Pwojè Konekte nurse, Jacqueline, does rounds at Pinchinat

Baby Edwinson at the hospital

Nick and the kids on Haitian Father's Day (minus Sandy who wasn't with us at this point)

Gwenn and Edwinson with the other kids at the Raymond land


Nia's 7th birthday


Other ways to connect with us--
Family blog: www.mangine.org
Email: nick@joyinhope.org, gwenn@joyinhope.org
facebook: Gwenn Goodale Mangine, Nick Mangine, Joy in Hope
Twitter: ngmangine, gwennmangine

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My mom.

My mom is on her way to Haiti right now to spend a week with us. She's bringing our excellent friend Israel with her. Side note: Israel was the ringbearer in Nick and I's wedding almost 10 years ago... now he's in college and is all grown up.

Here's why I am excited the most about my mom visiting me--
She gets to meet Jean Louis, Jerry, Yves, and Sandy for the first time!
She will get to see Prisca, Wildarne and Fritzie for the second time!
And she she will get to see Nia, Nico and Jos for the jillionth time!
She will bring me presents! Err... I mean, she will get to see me and Nick for the majillionth time!

Having our extended family bought into our lives here in Haiti is a huge part of the redemption process for our kids. Because let's face it, our kids have a lot of people coming and going in their lives. Visiting teams. More lately, aid workers. Friends of families who live here. And they love the visitors-- it's fun for them.

But the redemption part happens when people don't just come, but they go. And then they come again. And then they go. And then they come again. And then they go... When this happens, our kids (who all suffer with abandonment issues in varying degrees) begin to learn that there are people that will come and go. But then there also are people who will come and go, and come again. And they will need to go, but they will always come again. And as that process happens a few times, they learn (and frankly, as a missionary in the same position as a lot of my kids-- I too struggle with the numerous goodbyes) that there's this special group of people that we consider family. And no matter how often they come and go, they always love you and they are always for you. (And fyi- these people aren't always related to you, but knitted together as family by the hand of God.)

I am excited about my mom coming today because ALL 10 of my kids call her Nana. It's not something that I taught them to do, they just heard Nia, Nico and Josiah call her that and it just spread. When I mentioned to my kids last month that Nana was coming for a visit, there were cheers and much jubilation all around! Prisca, Fritzie and Wildarne started talking about all their "Nana memories" and started telling the others all about it with smiles and laughter. My heart melted.

I will post some pics later on today when Nana arrives!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The egg contract.

In an effort to not discuss depressing things for a bit, I thought I'd touch on a bit of (what I consider to be) the absurd. Let me start of by saying that I KNOW that this is probably just a cultural difference, and so I "own" that I probably just don't get it. Perhaps here in this culture this makes sense.

So, here's the story of the egg contract.

Being a family of 16 (including live-in staff... 18 if you include the security guard and wash lady... which, for the purposes of meals, we do.) So, being a family of 18, as one would expect, we use a lot of food each month. We buy rice in 50 or 100 lb bags. We buy several gallons of oil each month. Things are purchased (generally) in cases, rather than individually. And our grocery bill is... well, a lot.

We have eggs for breakfast twice a week, and then throughout the week, there are various times when there will be eggs IN something as well. So we use probably 5-6 dozen eggs a week, or more. Somehow, back when Nahomie was scheduling all our food, she got us into an egg contract with someone who raises the eggs. Now, I have a good friend, a sister, and a brother-in-law who raise chickens, so I am not opposed to this. I love supporting local farmers.

But here's the rub-- it's not exactly local.

Once a week our security guard AND our male nanny would disappear on the moto for about 2 hours and come back with a big barrel of eggs. This started in the weeks following the quake when we were really, really busy, and I never really noticed how long it took. It started to become more apparent more recently, and I started questioning the egg contract. Because, let's be honest, I can buy eggs (fresh eggs) at the Jacmel market for the same price and they are local eggs.

Felecia, our older nanny (called "Granmoun" (old person) affectionately by our kids) was the first to pipe up that the eggs from the contract were better. She's generally very agreeable. She insisted that they had more vitamins and minerals than the eggs we could get in Jacmel. She also accused the egg merchants in Jacmel of not selling actual chicken eggs, but eggs from other birds and just setting them under chickens to make you THINK you're getting chicken eggs. Now, I cannot personally confirm or deny her accusations, so we will just leave them as accusations. So we let it go.

But then yesterday happened.

Nick and I snuck away for an afternoon date. It was about 3PM and I hadn't eaten all day. We went to Cvadier plage restaurant for club sandwiches and a Prestige. (Juice for Nick the teetotaler.) Shortly after we arrived, my phone rang. I ignored it. Then it rang again. Looking and seeing it was a number from the house, I reluctantly answered.

It was Anndavid asking if she could send Eddie (our security guard) and Hugues to go get the eggs. I said sure, but then discovered we had the moto keys on us. No problem, I reasoned. I called Hugues and told him to take a moto-taxi come get the keys from us, and then he could leave to buy the eggs. I told him twice, or maybe three times where we were. He clarified and I thought things were great.

Time passed. Like more than an hour. And he never showed up. The came time when we were ready to leave. So I tried to call Hugues to let him know we were headed out so he didn't have to come. But when I called, he insisted he was, "Nan wout la." (Already on the road.) So we decided to wait for him so he could just ride back with us and not have to pay a taxi fare on the way back. So we waiting another 15 minutes. (It's only a 5-7 minute drive from our house.) While we were waiting it started POURING. Rain only has two "settings" here in Haiti-- on (think deluge) or off.

I tried to call Hugues several times only to not get a response. Nick and I started to get worried about him. He'd been en route for more than twice as long as it should have taken to get there, so we reasoned we'd just drive home real slowly looking out for him. When we almost reached home and didn't see him, I called again and this time he answered. "Mwen preske la Madame Gwenn," was how he answered the phone. (I'm almost there Gwenn.) I said, "Where? You're almost WHERE?" He said, "Kabic Beach."

Oh dear goodness.

(Kabic Beach restaurant is a good 30 minutes from our house past Cay Jacmel.)

By this time it's pouring a monsoon and he's on a moto taxi 30 minutes away from our house. I told him to turn around and return to our house and I'd pay the taxi when he arrived. So he does and 30 minutes later he returns soaked, head to toe. We pay the $15(Haitian dollars) taxi fare. He dries off and hops on the moto with Eddie to go get the eggs.

Two hours later they return. We make some small talk that night, mostly me trying to figure out WHY it takes 2 hours to go buy eggs. Come to find out it's almost up in Cap Rouge (up a terribly bumpy mountain "road") ON A MOTORCYCLE, CARRYING EGGS. Does this not make sense to anyone else? It was late when the got back, so we just went to bed.

The next morning, I woke up and sat around a while waiting for breakfast. I waited and waited and waited. Finally, I asked Anndavid when breakfast was going to be ready (as it was over an hour late at this point.) She said, "Oh I am just waiting on Eddie and Hugues to come back with the eggs." ?!?!?!?

I said, "They were gone for two hours yesterday to go get the eggs, are you telling me that they came back without eggs?"

She said, "Yes, they couldn't find the merchant, so they went back up there this morning."

Shortly thereafter they returned with eggs in hand to a hungry family.

Okay. For me. This is where utter ridiculousness has crossed the line. So, now we're talking a one hour/$15 taxi ride, and FOUR HOURS worth of ($5US/gal) gasoline for the moto, not to mention NINE man hours used on trying to get these same-price, egg-contract-eggs. (Who incidentally, we learned, are raised by Eddie's sister.... that's probably not a shocker to anyone,eh?)

I know I don't get culture and maybe I need to tread lightly, but we're done with the egg contract in Cap Rouge. We'll get our eggs in the market in Jacmel from now on, and it will cost us ZERO extra in gas because we're already there to do our shopping. It will cost us ZERO extra man hours since we already have someone there doing our shopping.

Sheesh.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ouch!

The insomnia has reached a critical point with me where I am just turning into a nightmare. My kids hide when they see me coming. I am really NOT enjoying life. Today I asked one of my staff members, Hugues, about this Haitian sleeping medicine he's bought on the street before. (That's not actually as bad as it sounds, many things are bought on the street.) I asked him to PLEASE go buy me some because I wasn't sleeping and I was willing to try anything. He refused saying it was very bad and made you feel drunk and stupid for 3 days. (Which made me believe maybe it IS as bad as it sounds.)

So Nick and I went to the pharmacy. They had a sleeping pill there but you need a prescription. It was 4:30 in the afternoon, all the doctors offices are closed, and with the evening approaching and the thought of another sleepless night ahead of me starting to overwhelm me, I was desperate. I begged. I pleaded. Just ONE. "I will go to the doctor tomorrow and get a script. Please, I haven't slept." Nope. Tears in my eyes I walked out mumbling something like, "Thanks for nothing..." (Hey, I told you I'm becoming a nightmare.)

So I am driving down the road, kind of blubbering a bit, telling Nick, "I am sorry I am so tired and I am so sorry. I know I am a wretch."

Nick, thinking he was being compassionate, was quick to contribute, "Oh honey. You're just tired. You've had a rough few days. You're not a wretch. The way you act doesn't determine who you are."

"Ouch." I said outloud the very second he realized what he said and the word, "Crap" emerged from his mouth.

Dokte Teresa saved the day once again with something or other. I will let you know if it works tonight. If it doesn't, I am GOING to find some of the Haitian street sleep meds tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The hospital story.

So, I have decided that tomorrow, for at LEAST a week, I am going to stop talking about all the depressing things happening in Haiti. I mean, yes, it's important that people know the real story, BUT... I am kind of tired of always having downer posts.

However, that starts tomorrow because I HAVE to share this story that I believe highlights what the current medical situation is here in Jacmel.

Friday night I got a frantic call from Guernia, (my Pwojè Konekte employee who lives in Pinchinat) saying that the father of a friend of hers was very sick and barely breathing. Haiti doesn't exactly have 911 (though they did go through a billboard campaign last year where they had an emergency number you could call if you got kidnapped... but I digress.)

I jumped in our truck (aka "The Golden Tap Tap") and sped down the road not really sure what to expect. When I arrived, the man, Jean Bernard, was in bad shape. 58 years old but still a burley, strong-looking guy, he was not able to walk on his own. His breathing was very labored.

We went to the public hospital, Hospital St. Michel (if you google it, you will see that this hospital has a nickname of "the morgue" here in town.) We arrived and were seen quickly in the "Urgency" department, the Haitian equivalent of the ER. I actually have a lot of experience lately with this particular urgency department. I had stitches there (during my streak of accidents), I brought Edwinson there when he was very sick, and now I was bringing Jean Bernard in.

The nurse comes in and right away starts showing exceptional bedside manner (is the sarcasm too obvious there?) I am not going to get into all the details except to mention that at one point, as she was taking his vitals, she was also talking on the telephone to a friend of hers describing Jean Bernard as, "Preske anba pye mwen." (Almost under my feet-- or in simpler terms, almost dead.)

They tell us that he needs to go over to radiology to have some chest x-rays done. I ask where that is and they point me over to a building in the distance. I ask for a stretcher since he can't walk and they say to me, "He can walk."

I tell them that he, in fact, CANNOT walk. And they just look at me and say, "He can walk." So four of us get up under him and help him "walk" him over to radiology. He needs to stand for the x-ray, and he can't do it on his own, so me and his daughter (sans lead aprons might I add) held him up to the machine while he had his x-rays.

The results showed that one of his lungs was partially collapsed, he had early TB, and his heart was enlarged. When we arrived back in the ER with his films, they also said he was severely anemic and needed a blood transfusion. They started talking about all they were going to do for him-- get him admitted, do a transfusion, start him in the TB program, etc. etc. etc.

At that point, I had to go get my family to Friday night church, so I made my exit and that's pretty much all I thought about it until the next morning at 7AM when Guernia called me to tell me that Jean Bernard was getting worse, now he was vomiting too, and could I come back to Pinchinat to bring him to the hospital? I was confused by that because it was only 12 hours later. So I asked why he wasn't still in the hospital. Apparently shortly after I left the night before, they discharged him. !?!?!? He had TB, a collapsed lung, an enlarged heart and severe anemia and they DISCHARGED HIM TO A REFUGEE CAMP.

I headed back over to Pinchinat and arrived just as the Czech medical people were loading him into one of their Jeeps. I don't know if he was kept at this point, all I know is that the next day Guernia called me and told me that he passed away at 11PM the night before. Seeing the condition he was in, that didn't come as much of a surprise, but seriously, is this the best that can be done for a dying man?

Aargh!

People talk about how medical care is better in Haiti than it has ever been. Yeah, this latest interaction leads me to believe that "business as usual" is on its way back.

Monday, July 12, 2010

6 months ago...

...our world shook.

Wow. Being intentional about remembering kind of takes my breath away...











Happy Birthday Sandy!


Yesterday our newest daughter, Sandy, turned 9!

Happy Birthday Sandy!

News flash!

I've been un-medicated in terms of sleep meds for over a week now. It's been a long, miserable several days. (Thankfully, more Ambien is headed my way next week.) But... last night-- I SLEPT! Like the full night. Like I woke up feeling GOOD for a change. What the heck? Is this what normal people feel like everyday? Wow.

I mean yeah, sure, I was sick. It was after 24 hours of vomiting and explosive diarrhea. (Sorry you didn't need that visual.)

But HOLY CRAP (literally and figuratively).

I slept last night.

Friday, July 9, 2010

After the quake—thoughts on 2 Corinthians 1 and PTSD

One of the things that I don’t know if I’ve done an accurate job explaining is how incredibly difficult life was in the weeks immediately following the earthquake. It was actually quite terrible. There were times when life got so rough or ugly or sad that I honestly found myself secretly having thoughts that things might have turned out better if we hadn’t been the lucky ones. Now, that’s kind of a huge admission. I don’t necessarily think that I was suicidal, but I was definitely in a bad spot. The stress that I was feeling every single day was more than I could bear. I found myself riddled with anxiety to the point where I had to at times be medicated (even more than my normal daily Prozac—I’ve always struggled with generalized anxiety disorder).

One of the things that suffered significantly was my relationship with God. I had so many questions about the injustice I was seeing—the “acute on chronic “ situation I was seeing my neighbors in Haiti deal with. I also had many problems understanding how we could work ourselves nearly to death and we still had half of Jacmel mad at us. I had so many crazy things pass through my head and heart that I just can’t explain. Intense fear. Intense pain. Intense feelings of helplessness. Intense feelings of hopelessness.

Yesterday when I was reading my Bible I read this passage in 2 Corinthians. These words jumped off the page at me:

2 Corinthians 1: 8-10
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

It was as if Paul’s struggles in Asia were the same as my struggles in Jacmel. The wording he chose I could have written myself-- “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, that we despaired even of life.” And, “in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.” And “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril.”

One of the things I firmly believe is that the word of God IS TRULY living and active—in my opinion, there is not another explanation for the way it resonates with our hearts and souls at the most unexpected times. After months of spiritual dryness, with just short periods of spiritual refreshment, those were the words I needed to read. I needed to be reminded that other people, other missionaries, in other times felt the same way I’ve felt.


What I’ve learned about PTSD is that ALL of these things I am experiencing are NORMAL reactions to abnormal stressors. It was indicated to us by our counselors/therapists that we are very likely candidates for PTDS. Several of us on our team have SEVERAL indicators for it.

Still, I’ve had these intrusive thoughts for several months now, that it was a spiritual lack in me that caused me to still (at times) feel intense fear about the earthquake. To still (at times) to struggle with feelings of intense hopelessness about the consequences of the earthquake. To still feel (at times) the responsibility to work harder to accomplish something here in this place where actually solving problems is HARD an UNLIKELY. To (probably weekly) run out of a building when a big truck passes by because the sound makes me think we’re having an earthquake. To still feel (EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE) imaginary aftershocks. (Hey, at least now I can acknowledge that I realize they are imaginary.)

This sentence jumped off the page, “He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.”

He WILL deliver us.

That sounds pretty good to me.

I don’t know the timing of that. But it’s something that’s made me feel hope. And honestly, right now, hope in the midst of the ongoing hopelessness around me feels like a tall glass of Diet Coke (with fresh lime squeezed in it) on a really hot day.

Our memory verse for our kids this week is Romans 12:12. In English (although we memorize it in Creole) it is, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Joyful in hope? I think I’ve heard that somewhere before.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

June 17


June 17 is the anniversary of one of the heart-wrenching things that ever happened. I journaled about it a bit last week...

I will always remember the moment when I was when I heard that Jabez was dying. I was in the community room at Crosspointe church in a planning meeting for an event we were going to do that was centered around our initiatives in Haiti and Kenya. I got a call from Jennifer Hancock. I ignored it since I was in a meeting. But then she called right back and I knew it must be important so I answered it. She told me that Danny had just called her and that Jabez was very sick. They were driving around trying to find a doctor to see him, but he might not make it. I was devastated. I returned to my meeting crying. Bunches of people in that room knew and loved Jabez as I did, and we ceased the meeting and all just began praying. The other staff at Crosspointe came in and we cried out to God for his supernatural healing. Just minutes later my phone rang again and my heart sunk. It was Jennifer. Jabez had died. The next several days of my life were a whirlwind of plans and activities surrounding his funeral. The trip to Haiti from hell. And the sweet community that was shared with the Pyes, Mangines and Bows. It was the worst situation you could imagine happening to someone you love. And we got to be a part of that rawness and intimacy. I will always cherish that time we spent in Haiti for JB's funeral.

On June 17 the Pyes were in the states so Nick and I took their kids to go pick some flowers and go visit JB’s grave. It was a sweet, somber time. I will never forget that boy and the huge part of my life he helped orchestrate.

We miss you JB.

The bug story.

So, as with most of my late night adventures, this story starts with being out of Ambien. As you know, like my father before me and his father before him, I am a hopeless insomniac. Un-medicated, I simply do not sleep. Or rather, I sleep very little. This leads to very grumpy days and short tempers with my 10 kids, husband, and 4 staff members.

So last night, after popping one of the Lunesta the Mormon team left for me, I laid in bed struggling to fall asleep. It just wouldn't find me. And it was hot. And Nick was hogging the fan. And snoring ever-so-slightly. And did I mention it was hot?

So, thinking it might be cooler on the living room floor, I crawled out of our mosquito net, went into my boys' room and stole their fan, and Nico's mattress. (Nico and Josiah share a single bed these days... it's pretty cute.)

I settled myself on the living room floor with Nico's mattress, washed my feet (because somehow, that makes me feel cooler) snuggled up as close as was humanly possible to the fan and tried to think sleepy thoughts. Sleep didn't find me, but the mosquitoes did. I laid there itching and whining in my head, being tired and not sleeping and just being overall miserable.

After some time, (I have no idea how long) I must have fallen asleep because I remember waking up with a terrible rustling and tickling deep down in my ear. I had no idea what it was, but it was the MOST HORRIFIC THING I have EVER felt. Buzz. Buzz. Rustle. Rustle.

I started screaming and trying to shake whatever it was out of my ear to no avail.

Buzz. Buzz. Rustle, rustle.

I started screaming and ran into our bedroom, flipped on the lights and woke up a confused Nick. I started tearing through the stuff on my shelves for our otoscope. Buzz buzz. Rustle rustle. (Hibbity jibbity.)

Nick thought I was crazy. I couldn't find the otoscope and so he just looked in my ear with his bare eyes and didn't see a thing.

Buzz buzz. Rustle rustle.

I found a regular flashlight and told him to point it into my ear. He did. At first he didn't see anything, but as he pulled my ear out to angle the flashlight, he saw something little and black moving deep down in my ear. (BTW- as I am writing this, I am TWITCHING!)

So we were trying to figure out how to get it out. Nick went to do something (probably go back to bed) and I got the idea to put water in my ear. I screamed for Nick to come back in, and he came into the bathroom to see that I had already poured water into my ear. As he looked, he watched a little (living) black hard shelled bug float up and he scooped it out with a barrette.

I have never been so incredibly wigged out in my life. It was THE weirdest, most horrible sensation I have ever felt. I mean, yeah, like child birth is bad and all, but a bug deep down in your ear is more horrifying. I promise.

I nestled myself back under the mosquito net and tried to fall back asleep, but flashback after flashback of the buzz, buzz, rustle, rustle kept coming back to me.

All day today, every time I remember it, I about jump out of my skin. Seriously. I have PTSD from the bug in my ear.

The moral of the story? PLEASE send me some Ambien.

Genesis 9:12-17

12 And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

17 So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."

Happy Birthday Nia!

We've been internet-less for the past week or so-- sorry for the lapse in blog posts. Don't want to neglect to post these pics of my BEAUTIFUL daughter, (Nia's) 7th birthday. It was a great day.





And the best part will be next Tuesday when we get to pick up her Haitian glamor shots. I know you're on the edges of your seats waiting for those bad boys...

Welcome Sandy!!!





Hello friends.

We're so excited to share with you that our family has again grown! Yesterday we welcomed Sandy (age 10ish) into our home! She was initally very timid and scared. There's a pretty commonly-held superstition that when white people adopt Haitian kids, it's to steal their heart/eyes to sell them. She was VERY concerned this would be the case with us. It doesn't help her us trying to alleviate those concerns when Josiah has a huge scar from heart surgery! :)

She's doing well now. We're so excited and she's very, very sweet and seems willing to be embraced by our family. This morning started calling us "Mommy" and "Papi" and really does seem to want to have parents again. (She was orphaned in the quake and has lived in a refugee camp in Jacmel since then, being taken care of by a random "good Samaritan" family.) We have learned that the initial few days with new kids are not always indicative of how things will go over the long haul, but we know and trust that God has our best in mind, and we're SO excited about Sandy being in our family.

If you're interested in sponsoring Sandy, please contact Nick at nick@joyinhope.org for details.