Friday, September 28, 2012

Got Mail?

We've had a lot of people ask us lately how they can mail us things.  We'd love to receive letters but it is a bit tricky.  We do technically have a house address that is on our lease and will be needed for legal documents.  But people in Haiti don't really refer to anything by it's address.  For example, yesterday I heard one missionary explaining to another where we might be able to buy a puppy.  This was the explaination, "Go up the road toward the market and turn where the guy got electricuted in the dump truck.  Then go up the hill until you see the house with the chickens and pigs.  They breed dogs." 

Another complicating factor is that there is no postal service in Haiti.  Well at least not in our town.  I asked our language helper about the postal service here and he was quite confused.  I in turn was confused not knowing how'd we pay our electical bill or how we'd even get the bill.  Apparently once in a while (very sporadically) someone from EDH will come read our meter and give us a bill if we are home or leave it by the meter if we aren't home.  Then we go to the EDH building in Leogane to pay it.

Anyway - so how do you get us mail?  Our amazing friends Rachel and Alan Burdette have agreed to collect mail for us at their home.  When I hear of a team of people coming from the US to stay here with ReachGlobal I will alert Rachel and she can send our mail to a person on that team via US postal service.  Then the team will bring it in their suitcase for us.  Teams come quite regularly.  The next team comes in late October but then it should be at least once monthly.  We will be sending letters out with teams to mail via US postal as well.

So for now our address is: 4045 12th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407 
(letters or very small items only please)
In the future we may get a private mail service in Port au Prince.  We shall see.  I think a "Donkey Express" would be useful here.  Maybe one day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekend Fun

Here's a few fun things we've done this weekend:

Kate made a welcome mat for our front door.  She made it out of scraps of plywood and permanent markers.  While she was busy with the doormat Chris, Sara, and Eloise were making a lizard cage.

And the lizard cage now contains a hermit crab that we found at the beach today.  We've made a routine of going to either the beach at Grand Goave or the pool in Gressier each Saturday.  It is something the children look forward to all week, and the adults too!

Monday, September 17, 2012

We'll Call it a Success

Any of you who know me (Sara) well know I've been obsessing about needing a couch.  Today Chris and I headed to Port au Prince with our teammates Ashlee and Claudy for a shopping double date.  Thanks to T and Ryan the kids stayed in Gressier playing with their cousins.  Our first stop was Valerio, a mega store of sorts.  We were looking for a decent couch in a decent price range.  HARD to find in Haiti.  The most comfy of couches were between $1600 and $4000 US.  Ridiculously out of our price range.  We ended up finding the futon below for $440 US.  Decent.  So we bought it!  It is comfy, fits all 5 of us, and can lay down into a bed.

After a nice lunch with salad, that hasn't yet made me sick, we shopped at what we like to call the "Target-ish" store.  It actually is nothing like Target but as close as you can get in Haiti.  We then headed home, picked up the kids, and Chris assembled the couch.  One of us sat on it (can't name names) and it immediately broke.  Sadness.

But it is apparent that Chris has adapted well to Haitian culture already.  He grabbed some 2 X 4's, a drill, some screws, and went to work.  It now is functional again.  So yes, we will call it a success!!!

It's gray and our chairs are black.  So again for any of you that know me well you know that I love bright colors.  I'll need some bright pillows and curtains to liven up the room. In due time......

Friday, September 14, 2012


Each evening we eat dinner with our teammates down the street at the Haitian Queen.  My kids come to life each evening, full of energy.  They have been putting on many dance performances in the bed of a pickup truck for our teammates and night guards.

Tonight's production was a newly created song by the kids called "Krapo".  Krapo is the Creole word for frog.  The children enjoy the word and made up a whole song and dance.  They spent the day planning the performance, writing out lyrics, making up dance moves, and created frog masks. The performance lasted only about 1 minute and finished right before the rain started.  They put out a tip jar and received US change and Haitian Gourdes.  Luke did the conversions into US money, added it all together, and divided by 3 to be fair.  I guess they are homeschooling themselves!

Monday, September 10, 2012


For many reasons we've decided to send out kids to Haitian school.  We'd love our children to learn the language quickly and to make friends.  We'd love to become more involved in the community where this school is located.  And as parents, we'd like to provide more structure to our kids' days and more concentrated language learning to our  mornings as well.  School starts here in Haiti on October 1st.  We have a lot to do to get our kids ready.  We need to enroll them in age-appropriate grades (as opposed to academic levels), buy material and have a local seamstress sew them school uniforms, and attempt to find and buy their school books.
The school is in Bellview, a community a one-mile walk from our house.  The walk is adventurous as we go through a wooded area, along an irrigation system, and over a creek.  The school is run by Maxo, a local partner, and has approximately 60 kids.  There are two temporary shelter buildings each housing three classrooms.  Each classroom has three row desks, a chalkboard, and a small table for the teacher.  School is taught in both Kreyol and French.  The school day is from 8am to noon.  Our children will still be homeschooled in the afternoons at academically appropriate levels in English. 
Luke is quite excited.  He wants to learn the language quickly and make friends right away.  The girls are timid yet desiring to go.  The girls will most likely be in the same classroom for moral support.  In just a few weeks our kids will be uniformed up and on their way to full immersion.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Setting Up A Home in Haiti

Setting up a home in Haiti is very different from setting up a home in the States. I suppose just about everything is different here. We furnished our Clinton Ave house from used furniture from family, Ikea, estate sales, TJMaxx, and Target for the most part. When we needed something in particular - say a dresser, we looked into all our options and then picked the exactly what we needed for exactly the price we though reasonable. That is simply not how it works here.

Our home is great. We've been blessed greatly as my sister bought and set up our beds before we arrived, we shipped Ikea chairs in suitcases, and we found a reasonably priced kitchen table our 2nd day here. But since then we've added to our home quick slowly. Most furniture is sold on the side of the road in Port au Prince and the prices and inventory are not set. We can purchase some things in import stores but the prices are very high. So we are "shopping" around as best we can and hoping to have dressers for our clothes in the next couple of weeks. For now suitcases are working! And we are finding creative storage solutions from the local markets.