Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Little Things

I know that our move to Haiti will bring about many transitions and will mean leaving many, many things behind. And I know the distance from close relationships will be the hardest. But for now I hafve a few thoughts on the little things that we will leave behind. The minor things.
The one thing I am certain I will not miss is the cold. I will not miss winter. I will not miss frozen van doors, frozen snot, frozen fingers and toes. I definitely will not miss the morning shuttle to school on dark, cold winter days.
One of the small things I am certain I will miss is Tide. Yup, Tide Detergent. Having a highly heightened sense of smell and odd emotional reactions to smells, I've found that Tide brings me joy. Silly, I know. But true. Last night as I walked up to our house in the freezing cold, anger in my soul at teh nasty wind, my heart melted at the scent of Tide coming from my house. It meant home, warmth, and a husband who serves me so well in the little things - like doing laundry.

Monday, January 17, 2011

'Baby-Doc' Returns

Just recently it was announced that Jean-Claude -"baby-doc" Duvalier, the former leader/dictator of Haiti, had returned to the country. The Duvaliers, both Jean-Claude and his father Francois ran Haiti as "president for life" from 1964 to 1986. While going into the nature of this time in Haiti's history is beyond this post, for most Haitians they view it as a time where although there was perhaps more stability, there was also much fear - particularly of the secret police force, or tonton macoutes. So while I can't predict what effect his presence will have, it is obvious that it adds to the already stressful political and social situation there. So on this day, we pray for Haiti, their leaders and legal system as they try and navigate this situation and that despite the continued uncertainty in their country, Haitians will continue to turn to and cling to God.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1 year later

As most of you probably know, it was one year ago a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. I remember being in the Mall of America when I heard the initial news and thought like many news reports on Haiti that this was being sensationalized. I quickly learned the truth and began praying for the country, my family there and the many missionaries and Haitians that I’ve met in the past 8 years.
In the ensuing days, Sara and I talked about how we could make and impact and eventually she was blessed with the opportunity to get there and help both her sister and the relief efforts already underway. When she returned 10 days later, she talked about meeting up with some folks from the EFCA and heard they were thinking about starting a long term team in Haiti. Missions had always been on her heart, and had been growing on mine in the past 8 years since my first trip there. I had always told myself that there would always be a better, more comfortable time than the present to think about missions. We had these conversations a few times and when she mentioned it again last February, I was surprised to find me saying yes, let’s start praying and seeking counsel on ministering in Haiti.
So now as we continue to prepare for this big change, we ask God to continue to be with and comfort the people of Haiti who have lost family, friends, pastors and leaders. We pray for those that are still living in tents, those without clean water or basic medical care. We pray for the missionaries and aid workers there working to help with these conditions. Finally, we pray that the good news of salvation will continue to stir our hearts to love and serve those in Haiti as all those whom we meet and interact with day to day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

French Toast and Creole UNO

Tonight was our first official weekly Family Haiti Night. One night each week we will be cooking from scratch and learning Creole vocabulary. Tonight I made French Toast (from homemade bread) with baked bananas and scrambled eggs. So we were a little short on veggies but all in all the meal turned out well. And how do I know? The meal scored 18 out of a possible 20. We've been using a meal rating system inour family for about a month now. Nerdy, I know. But it gives our extrememly opinionated child a constructive way to tell us how she feels about dinner (without gagging noises, nasty faces, and general rudeness). And it's a fun way to teach my kids about my profession too.

After dinner we played UNO. We used the Creole numbers, colors, and action words. It was so fun to see each family member get really into the learning. Everyone did really well and Kate amazed us all with her perfect pronunciation. I didn't even know that she had number recognition yet. But apparently she does and can grasp it in Creole too. After playing UNO Eloise laid back across the table in glee and said, "I'm so excited for Haiti. It will always be so hot!"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cooking from Scratch – Nan Kollin Style

There will be many things about our new life in Haiti that will be quite different from our life in Minneapolis. For instance – how we eat. Currently we shop at Costco about once every 3 weeks to stock up on essentials. The rest of the month we make small trips to Super Target or send Luke to our local corner store, Venus, for a few last minute things we need. I cook from scratch some, but not really, really from scratch – not the way I will need to in Haiti. In Haiti we will most likely go to Port au Prince once every 3 weeks or so to stock up on overpriced, imported essentials. There won’t be any runs through the McDonalds’s drive-through, ordering of pizza, or occasional trips to Chili’s. And to keep our grocery bill manageable we’ll have to do a lot more cooking from scratch with items from our local market, Nan Kollin. This market won’t be anything like Venus – no fried chicken, diet coke, or other convenience foods. It is more like the equivalent of a daily farmers market.

For most of our dinners in Haiti we will probably use ingredients from both the Port au Prince grocery stores and Nan Kollin. I’m not the best meal planner and I love challenges. So I thought it would be great to have a few recipes on hand that are made completely of ingredients from Nan Kollin. You know, for those occasional evenings when I open the fridge to find nothing in it and I need to send Luke on a quick run to the market.

Chris and I have decided that we will dedicate one night a week to preparing a new recipe from scratch and learning a Haitian Creole vocabulary list as a family. I’ve asked friends in Haiti to give me a list of all the things sold in the Nan Kollin market. So now I need your help in coming up with a few recipes to try out from this limited list! If you are up to the challenge please post a comment with your recipe idea. Remember the meal does not need to contain meat and I hope to have basic spices on hand.

Ingredients: tomatoes, potatoes, onions, scallions, sweet potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, green peppers (tiny), hot peppers, acra root, militon, beets, green beans, banana peppers, avocados, garlic, papayas, grenadia, bananas, plantains, mangoes, frozen chicken leg quarters, hot dogs, sprite, coke, juice mix packets, chicken boullion cubes, corn flakes, powdered milk, flour, salt, sugar, corn meal, wheat, bread, condensed milk, eggs, pasta, ketchup, tomato paste, spaghetti, brown sugar, rice, many varieties of dried beans.

Thanks - Sara