Sunday, December 9, 2012

Arriving in Haiti-2002
Our plane landed onto the one long airstrip of the National Airport in Port-au-Prince Haiti. We sat waiting for the stairs to be pushed up so that we could disembark. Taking a big breath, and thinking to myself “here we go”; I stepped off the plane with Leah and Ann at my side. Who was not at my side however, was my oldest daughter Amie. She was married with a baby and I missed her.

While struggling with our baggage, we descended to the tarmac. I gasped in response to the heat and humidity. The air was thick with the smells of body odor, urine and feces mixed with colognes and perfumes to create the very distinctive “Haitian smell”.  In addition to the stench of inadequate hygiene, the smell of wood coal used for cooking strange and foreign foods, assaulted my overactive sense of smell. Although being close to a port, there was no ocean breeze to wash away the smothering pillow of air that gave me the sensation that I couldn’t breathe. My body instantly reacted to the heat with what seemed like rivers of water. I was wet with perspiration within 30 seconds. It was such a strange sensation to feel sweat literally dripping down my back. All my worries of showing underarm sweat marks disappeared however, when I realized that everyone else was drenched as well.  

The heat was overwhelming to me. I loved the cold and snow. Coming from snow country, I wasn’t sure how I would handle the heat of Haiti.  

The airport is small in Port-au-Prince with only one airstrip and a beat up dirty airport terminal. My decision to drag my daughters to a dangerous foreign land seemed foolish as I walked down the stairs and across the tarmac. The stares of the unsmiling armed guards seemed to demand silence. They had no kindness in their eyes and no acknowledgment of our arrival. Automatic rifles held in their hands with fingers on the triggers seemed to underscore their unfriendly mood.  

During our silent walk past the guards and across the tarmac, Leah, Ann and I tried to gather strength and courage enough to meet our new challenge. Although we walked in silence, it was anything but quiet. It seemed that every person in the area commenced yelling at each other. The noise level was dramatic. In addition, a great hum of the activities of life came from the streets beyond.  

We made our way through the shimmering heat waves to a dirty, green cement room. Officials waited in booths. We got into a long mass of people that vaguely resembled a line. We were jostled along not really knowing what we were doing. Despite our fears, we kept in mind our purpose and high hopes of helping orphaned children. Lingering in all of our memories were the sweet experiences of working with orphans in Ecuador. We longed to reproduce the feelings of peace that come from serving “the poorest of the poor”. And so, here we were starting a new adventure in the small chaotic airport of Port-au-Prince Haiti.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This entry was taken from the Blog of Alice @

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a beautiful, muggy morning in Haiti...the electricity went out last night and so our precious fans that are our ac were out too. The 15 minute period seemed like an eternity but boy was it a blessing when the power came back on. 

Moments of joy made up my afternoon yesterday. We went to Jimmy Bono's Home for Street Boys. As we pulled into this house, we were immediately swarmed with little hands and arms reaching up to us for hugs. All 50 or so boys live in this one house. Hours and hours passed as we played and learned creole and took over 300 photos. God bless my camera battery....  

So many moments jump out as moments of joy. One little boy named Sebastian caught my attention early on. He was quiet and very gentle and very much an observer. He would look on as I talked with the older boys and would smile and look away. Such a flirt! We became fast friends. One of the older boys, Richie, was asking me the regular questions of how old are you, where are you from, do you have a husband, and then do you have babies! Jokingly, I  asked 13 year old Richie if he had babies, and he replied with a big grin "yes, Sebastian is my you want him?" I laughed and asked him if he became a father at 7 since Sebastian is 5...He chuckled and said uh huh...and then admitted it was a lie.. The whole conversation was riddled with laughter and giggles. So much joy...  

These same two boys when meal time arrived ended our UNO game and took me back behind the house to wash our hands. Richie picked up the cup of water and poured water over my hands and then handed the cup to me to wash his hands. It reminded me of the beauty of foot washing..a humbling shared gift. 

When the boys all sat down to eat, they all squished into a long table and elbow to elbow bowed their heads to pray. A perfectly sacred peaceful moment.  

I am so thankful for the joy of these boys, for their attitudes, and for the gift of laughter and love they shared with us. The example of love they shared with us is one I hope to bring home. What would our world look like if everyone was greeted with a hug and a smile? What if everyone no matter who you are, what you look like or how old you are was welcomed with open arms. I hope to do that in my life.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nothing is impossible

Thursday, August 11, 2011
Nothing is impossible
Imagine this....a mobile learning center.  What do you think of? A large van painted with cartoon characters blaring fun music and carrying books? Well, think again. For the past two days, we have been the mobile learning center. Both mornings we have packed the pickup truck with three fold up tables, four boxes of laptops and another box of other computer accessories. With this in the bed and at least six people on top of it, we have travelled to three orphanages. 
Each orphanage has had a different personality. Jimmy bonos (the one I mentioned in my last post) is crazy, wild, and a frenzy of activity. The foundation for promising children of Haiti is much quieter, smaller and a little more reserved. And pascals is an orphanage for children with special needs.
We brought the mobile learning center to all of these homes. We set up tables with laptops and a crazy amount of extension cords hooked to a traveling generator and also hooked up to some kind of network. Each child then has a log in name and gets to sign on to a fun imagine program. They each have a little set of headphones and watch and play games designed to help them learn to read and speak English! They learn capital letters and are asked to sing if you're happy and you know it in English. The computer even records them singing and plays it back to them. All the children from itty bitty to 13 or 15 are captivated by this.
At the foundation for promising children, it was our first time bringing computers. To see the sheer amazement in the children's eyes was incredible. Grins stretched across their faces as they watched children in America play soccer and say hello and goodbye. As volunteers we got to work along side them teaching them how to use a mouse and what it meant to click something. I got to work with a little boy named blackson. He couldn't have been older than three and he had somehow not been paired up with a volunteer so when I found him he was just sitting at the computer, head phones on, but not quite tall enough to reach the mouse. He was also the last one on our list for the morning. I went over scooped him up and put him on my lap and we started learning the letters A and M. Blackson was enthralled by it. My mouse teaching skills were not too great since he didn't really get the idea of moving the mouse side to side and up and down, but he sure as heck mastered the art of clicking. He clicked away like no man’s business. He also sweetly and incredibly repeated back everything that was said in the program. He sounded out letters and said apple and mask. And of course a huge smile crossed his face when he got to build his own monster! 
The mobile learning center is incredible. It’s on a weekly schedule so that the kids have a set time when they know to expect it and it's set up everywhere from the front porch of houses to underneath a tent outside.
I loved teaching and helping these kids. Some of them are phenomenally quick on these computers and fly right through it. Richie, one of my little guys, was so so fast and it made me wonder where he will end up in the future. I hope that incredible potential finds opportunity. The sheer delight in learning was another brilliant moment. How often do I take my education for granted? How often do i take the education my children will one day get for granted? These children do not get to go to school so they literally yearn to learn. And lastly, who would have thought that any of this would have been possible? We had over 12 computer stations set up in the middle of poverty stricken orphanages and we are teaching reading and English in Haiti. Another reminder that the resourcefulness of Haiti is beyond anything I have experienced and another slap in the face reminder that nothing is impossible. 

To die alone

Posted by Alice Thursday, August 11, 2011

To die alone

I wonder if any of us have ever worried about dying alone. I think it's a fear for some that we may die and no one would know or no one notice, but have you ever worried that you might struggle with a disease and die slowly by yourself? I know, morbid, and especially this early in the am (it's 7 here) but this what we encountered yesterday.  

We spent our morning at Mother Theresa's Home for the Dying. I'm sure many of you know of Mother Theresa's work in Calcutta with the dying and sick. Well, she has came to Haiti to start a similar home in port au prince. She reportedly was at this home on her hands and knees scrubbing the floors in preparation for the people to come.  

The home is home to more than 100 people of all ages. They have a men's section and a women's section with rooms with about 25 people. The rooms are small with metal beds closely lined up together. It is warm and muggy, but for the most part there is not a feeling of sorrow or sadness that surrounds it. It's not old's people my age, younger, and only a handful older than my parents..and they are dying with no family, no friends, no loved ones to take care of them.  

Our visit started with Rebecca the director prepping us for what to expect. As she talked to us, her boys both said mom and pointed behind us. A person was being carried out on a stretcher, sheet atop their body, dead. A sobering sign of what this home was really about. It was our task, we were told, to give dignity to the dying. And so with a couple of tools in hand, we stepped into there lives.  

We knelt on the floor and cut finger nails and toe nails and painted them a beautiful pink. We sat in beds and gave massages gently rubbing their backs, their feet, their hands. We handed out cool baby wipes for them to wipe their faces down and cool off just a little. We hoped to be a source of love, comfort, and care to these women.  

Many of the women had children and many were younger than me. It was sobering and completely saddening. Many have illnesses that could easily be cured or life sustained in the US but here they cannot. With no family, no one, they come here. They are gentle and they smile and they are kind, but it  saddened me deeply.

My morning ended meeting an elderly emaciated woman and having a chance to comfort her in what I am sure was one of her last days in this world. Nothing can prepare you for the emotion that comes with such an act. A humbling, privileged act of love that I was able to share because she allowed me to and God brought me to.  

It was a morning that will go down in the history books of my life as full of moments that I had no choice but to rely on God, to believe that my tears were prayers and signs of grace, and to take a hold of the love that I can give as transformational and sustained by the spirit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We have had an amazing week in Haiti, and the time is going by so fast! It is hot,humid and sticky,and the mosquitos are biting! But the love and joy that we are experiencing easily overcomes those uncomfortable feelings. We've held starving children, cleaned hideous wounds, played with orphans and brought moments of joy into their lives.

Yesterday was the big day! Yesterday we saw the library and mobile learning unit in action! We were welcomed by 60 excited street boys, who were anxious to dig right in and learn! We gave each boy their very own picture library card! They were so proud to wear something that had their own identity to it. It was as if they were being noticed, and they were special. Boys from 3 to 16 years of age checked out books and went to their own shady area to read. Many of us sat down with them and read along. While some were reading, others were doing their English computer module. It was truly inspiring to see these boys yearn for knowledge. In their free time they begged us to do math facts! They are hungry to learn! As I was watching them read and work on their computers, I tried to look deep into their faces. Many of them have scars that likely tell horrible stories from their life on the street. They never dreamed of getting the opportunity to learn! Suddenly, they were given an opening to a whole new world! And they were embracing the opportunity!

Can you imagine what a young orphan can do with knowledge? An education will give these young boys a future! Progress will be slow. But, a commitment to consistent education for the street boys of Haiti could change a generation.

We only have two days left. We are missing our families back home but don't want to leave. There is a quote from Robert Frost hanging up in the house. "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Monday, July 18, 2011

More like home than home

Day 2: Today we went to Jimmy bono’s. It was by far my favorite. Jimmy is an amazing man because of what he’s doing for these kids. The kids there were just special. When we arrived they were happy to see us and welcomed us into their home and played with us and we all had a great time. I’m so excited to go back to the “Street Kids”. Haiti feels more like home than home does. The people here are nice.  I mean; sure you find those party poopers, but there are always those kind of people. Also the volunteers that came on this trip are all really awesome people. I can’t ask for better volunteers to be with this week.

Levi (15 yrs)

God Bless you, I will forever Thank you

To everyone reading this blog,

The moment i stepped off the plane in Haiti i new i would never look at this crazy world the same. I have felt every emotion my body knows how to feel. i've felt devestated, guilt, sadness, hope, joy, humbled, blessed, and most important forever changed. It all started with rose. She was the first six month old little girl that i held. I don't know if she'll live tomorrow, or if she's alive today, or if she'll be alive in a year. But i do know she will go knowing what it was like to have someone love her and think she was the most beautiful thing she has ever seen, because that's what i felt.

Next was the wound clinic. I hope to be a doctor one day and so i thought this will be right up my ally. The second i walked in i felt pain, i smelt pain, i heard pain...i let myself cry and feel fear, only inside, for ten seconds and then for the next five hours i devoted myself to these people the best i could. I had one boy or man tell me "god bless you, i will forever thank you". What i did for him will never compare to what that man did for me. We're not the one's helping these people so much..they're helping us. They're helping us see what living is. what this crazy life is actually about. how intimate we should be with everyone surrounding us. We have so much to learn from them. We went to Jimmy Bono's home for street boys. We had brought finger nail polish for the few girls that we're staying there. One boy grabbed neon pink nail polish and asked if he could paint my nails. i will never get another mainicure again. his will always be the best. I am so thankful for this expierience. i am so thankful for these beautiful people surrounding me and i am so thankful for rebecca. She talks a lot about mother teresa but i hope she knows that to me she is my mother teresa...


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Santo Domingo

Early this morning Patrick, Bethany and I left for Santo Domingo. There is this very strange problem that has developed for many NGO's working in Haiti. Right after the earthquake, there were no businesses open. Many organizations were coming to Haiti to help, but it is pretty difficult if you don't have any truck. The big organizations snatched up all of the rental trucks. They just leased them for 1-5 years right off the bat. That left no options for the little guy. So, many of us bought trucks from the Dominican Republic and drove them over to Haiti. At the time the border was open. There was no problem going in or out, and, there was no problem driving a vehicle from the DR. Now, fast forward 3 to 6 months after the earthquake and I discovered that we had an almost impossible time of buying new tires for our truck. All the NGO's with their leased trucks were snatching up all the tires! Then, just about a year later---guess what? All of the registrations and insurance for the many DR trucks were expiring. Haiti now is demanding huge fees to matriculate the trucks. For example, for the Toyota that was donated to us--they want over $12,000! I decided that I wasn't going to pay that much. We will keep it registered as a Dominican truck. Now, in order for us to drive the truck in Haiti we have to pay for authorization which is $300/month. Uhggg... Anyway, to make a long story short--I have to do the title transfer and get insurance here in the Dominican Republic. So here we are... having an adventure. None of us are Spanish speakers but we are getting along. Rebecca

Friday, July 8, 2011

Longing faces

As I have previously posted, FFCIN had its first computer lab on Thursday. We actually had two sessions. The first was at Jimmy B's home for former Street Kids. It was kind of hectic at first, but the kids were respectful. I asked them to clean the area where we were going to set up the computers before we began. The kids kicked into gear and washed tables, swept the cement and removed chickens and roosters! Then we made a barrier with ropes and asked all of the kids to stay out of the area where the computers were being set up.

As you can imagine, there was extreme interest in all of these computers being set up! We called out the names of the first "class". There were 10 new students including Jimmy and his wife. It took us a little while to register them into the Imagine Learning program. The Imagine Learning Tech - Evelio, was right there with us giving us guidance. He told me that it was the first time that he was able to actually observe the program (in a foreign country) implemented after doing the training. It had to be especially satisfying for him to see.

Most of the first session was spent on a placement test. It was a little confusing for the students because they didn't really understand what was going on. However, the program is so cute that they even enjoyed the placement test. I learned a lesson though. And that is that we will just start all of the student from the beginning of the course and not worry about placement. It will be beneficial for everyone regardless of whether it is too easy or not.

Now, I wish that I could convey a detailed visual. The "chosen" students were mesmerized. They were seeing graphics and learning in a way that was completely new and actually fun. The un-chosen ones were sitting right next to the rope barrier. It was like a crowded theatre. They sat in the sun just watching with these longing faces. They were so hopeful that they were going to get a turn. It was tolerable for me because I know what is to come! They will soon be on the program themselves. Won't that be so cool?

Our next stop was out in Marin area. We did the same routine over with the kids having just as much wonder and excitement as the Street Kids. We are looking forward to developing our program further to bless the lives of as many as we can.

Thank you to all that are helping this dream become a reality!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thank you from a "first-timer"

I am having an amazing experience here in Haiti.  I have never been on a mission trip before and was very nervous about traveling to a third world country.  Our gracious hosts have definitely eased my fears and really made me feel at home!  It is great having someone who can direct and connect you to so many wonderful orphanages and centers that truly do hold the children of Haiti dear to their hearts.  I have been truely blessed to have been able to meet and interact with such wonderful people!  Thank you Rebecca and family for opening your home to us!!  May God Bless you and protect you!

Love you all!

Susan Mollnow

Friday, July 1, 2011

Two snap shots

As my team and I prepare to go home I wanted to reflect on two snap shots from the week.  The first snap shot and lesson I learned was from my favorite place in Haiti Mother Theresa's Home for the dying.  It was one of the first places I wanted to come back to when I heard I was getting the chance to go Haiti again.  We were on the way over and we were told we may not even be able to get in but when we arrived the gates opened right before us and we were welcomed in.  I went up into the room for women and walked into girls braiding each other's hair and going about living.  I sat down with a group of teenage girls and just talked and laughed with them.  They started singing a song I knew by Rihanna I sang along with them and we just laughed and laughed.  I could not believe that moments before I had been praying with a woman as a nurse was laying a sheet over the woman in the bed next to her  to declare that she had passed.  It was amazing for me to see that in the midst of all this death there was still life and joy.  We all have moments of pain and of fear of what is next, but with God's love we can live a life full of joy no matter what comes are way.

The second snap shot is seeing the FFCIN Mobile Reading Center in action.  It was amazing pulling up to Pascal's with the mobile reading center and seeing all the children running out to the truck because we were  an 1 1/2 late.  They wanted for 90 minutes to learn more English and Math.  I do not think as a child that I would wait 90 minutes to learn anything.  But these children love it.  They cannot get enough of it, even when we are trying to go they hand us papers to correct and try to keep us for a longer time.  It is going to be a great addition to FFCIN and it is a project that has so much more potential.

It was a great week in Haiti and my team and I left so much but are taking even more home to New York.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Perspective

Wow! It has been 12 months since we first visited Haiti, and excitedly, we made the journey again. So blessed to see Rebecca and the boys again.  Her efforts impact so many.  I bet when we all get to Heaven, Rebecca is one of those who God saves a special spot for at the front of the line.  The Haitian spirit of joy and faith continues to endure for many, despite the challenges of daily life. Visiting Pascal's, Jimmy Bono's, and Mother Teresa's Nutrition Center quickly brought back fond memories of last time, but also new perspective as I watch our new team digest each challenge and blessing.  Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying, and the children at Lesly's are my favorite opportunities to make connections.  Even though clean up and rebuild efforts seem to be moving forward, there will never be a shortage of those who need love, hope, and faith.   Praying for Rebecca's continued safety, strength, wisdom, and vision.  God Bless!

Mark Tooker


Wednesday Night Blog Post :)

  One of the places that had the greatest impact on me during this trip to Haiti was Lesley's orphanage. The moment started for me the day before, on Tuesday. There was a little boy who spilled his bubbles on the ground and was crying. I picked him up and held him for the remainder of the day. On Wednesday as we arrived he immediately ran over to me and I held him almost the whole day. All he did was lay against me. He didn't move a muscle. He didn't even lift is head to look at the action that was going on around him. He could barely clap his hands. It was like all the life was drained out of him. The other children finally told me that he was sick. It then hit me like a ton of bricks that he had no mommy to hold him and hug him and kiss his face and tell him he would be okay. Something so comforting, that I took for granted all the time, was something that he may never know. I got to be that for him today. 
As we were on our way back to Rebecca's house after our visit to the orphanage, it dawned on me that this is what Jesus wants to do for us, for our pain and suffering. He wants to hold us and comfort us, tell us everything will be alright. He wants to heal our pain & suffering. He wants to love on us and for us to receive it.   
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: "I have loved you with and everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
In the Grip of His Grace,


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Haiti Mission

Today we went to our church's sponsored orphanage. Our team brought in trucks of fill in order to divert pooling water which was bringing mosquitos. One of the kids gave me a baby boy and a bottle of juice to feed him with. The baby's name was Kelvans. He was plumb and cuddly the way a baby should be. Most of the babies we had seen a few days before at Mother Teresa's Nutrition Center were much too thin especially in their limbs.

I met a girl named Waseejka. She is twelve years old and spoke very good English. She told me that her mother is dead and that her mom from Kentucky sends money so she can learn English. She is going to be adopted and move to Kentucky.

The girl who stole my heart was CarolynD. She is a beautiful eight year old girl with a big bright smile. She was very attached to me and wanted to be near or sit with me at all times.

I met another girl whose name was Misha. Misha seemed very sad and she welled up in tears now and again. She took the bubbles that were given to all but she did not play with them. We had trouble communicating as I tried to determine what was wrong. She overheard me asking Waseejka about her Kentucky mom and Misha told me that her mother is dead and her father is dead. She seemed to want comforting and I kept her close and at times she laid her head in my lap and sometimes seemed to be asleep for a few minutes. I asked Waseejka why she cried and Waseejka asked Misha what was wrong. She told me that her head hurts and pointed out to me that Misha had a big lump on her forehead between the eyes. I asked one of our interpreter/guide to inquire about her to see if she might need some medical attention. He determined that about a year ago Misha had suffered an accident and that since then she gets very painful headaches from time to time. I was sad that she will likely continue to suffer and wished I'd had some children's tylenol to help ease her pain.

These girls were around the ages of my two nieces who are very near and dear to my heart. I thought about how much better lives they enjoy-simple comforts and love everyday.

Lesley's Orphanage

This morning our team went to Lesley's Orphanage to find mounds of dirt ready to be spread along the ground.  I raked with the team for about 40 minutes until I needed a break.  I went over to get my water and made my way over to the bench to sit down and have my haired braided by my new friend Chantel.  She spent a good long time on my hair and at one point bent forward and asked me, "Lidia, do you love me?'' I replied, "yes Chantel, I love you."  She got me thinking about the one thing all humans be loved and special to someone.  Our Pastor back home in New York has been preaching for months about the only thing that matters, "Love God, Love Others."  This young girl already knows what the most important thing in life is.  LOVE!  May we show the love of Jesus to every single child, woman, & man.  Jezi remen ou!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

She told me she loved me

We went to Lesly's orphanage today. A lot more children then I expected.  The one thing I did notice is the connection the children had with us.  They had so much life in them and were happy.  I connected with a little girl named Crystala.  She was around three years old.  Beautiful, big eyes and smile.  She laughed at the smallest things.  We had some bubbles with us and she thought it was fun to chase them.  She was talking a lot but I did not know what she was saying so I found someone to interpret, turns out she was saying "I Love You".  That just about broke my heart.  I told her I loved her and that God loves her.  It made it all seem clear to me why I was brought here.  I was not going to fix everything in Haiti or in that orphanage, but I was there to tell Crystala that someone loved her today.

June 26, 2011
Denise Zumbo
New York 

Used for his Glory

It's day three here and Haiti and I'm still trying to process everything. It has been so amazing to see the Joy on the faces of the Haitian orphans. My perspective on this trip has completely changed in such a short time. I believed I was the one going to come to Haiti and make a difference, be it small, but a difference. What I'm finding along this journey is that they are the ones making a difference in my life. One story that has really impacted me is the one of Jimmy Bono. I have struggled a lot with my past and the choices I have made during a period of my life. I believed for the longest time that part of my life was a waste. Through Jimmy's story I am learning that God can take everything and use it for his glory. Jimmy was a street kid. They are considered the poorest of poor, outcasts of society. One would believe that was the life he was destined to have forever. God had other plans. He took one man's life and is using it to change and transform the lives of hundreds of kids. Jimmy now owns a home for street kids. Kids that would otherwise grow up just the way he did. Kids that society has discarded and left for dead. The experiences in his life, the struggles that he has been through, God is using for his Glory to help transform the lives of these kids. I am sure during the time in Jimmy's life while he was a street kid he never imagined that God would use him in the way he has. I now realize that if I allow him, God can use that time in my life, that I consider wasted, to minister and help change lives of people who maybe are going through the same things that I struggle with. I now really can put a face to the verse what the Enemy Meant for destruction God can use for his glory. " For I know that plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Thank you Haiti for forever changing my life! 
Love ,

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blessings Abound

Blessings abound!  I came to Haiti to give, serve, and be a blessing to others but the reverse has happened - and disproportionately so!!  Our day began with a visit to a small, remote orphanage.  As we entered through the gate we heard children singing.  We later learned that it was an impromptu church service led by a 13 year old girl. The children were dressed in their best clothes - boys in suits, girls in beautiful dresses.  They sang energetically as they praised the Lord within their small concrete classroom.  How precious to see them worshipping our God, not because an adult told them to do so, but because they are joyful and grateful for what they do have.   

God's timing was all over this visit.  We were supposed to go to a different orphanage first, but we showed up too early.  So we continued on to this one.  As we handed out specially prepared gifts to the children, I thought, how beautiful it is that we could be Jesus' hands - blessing the children with gifts as they sang and praised their Heavenly Father.  And, in turn, we were blessed as we admired their emphatic love of the Lord despite all of their daily challenges of survival.  God placed our group with those children at a very special moment in time.  Everyone in that room was blessed by unexpected circumstances.  Our God is a great God! 
Beth Tooker

Monday, June 20, 2011

First day of Library

Throughout the years I have learned that if I ever want to do anything or accomplish anything there is a time for planning and then a time to jump in. For the first FFCIN Mobile Learning Center or “MLC” that time came Tuesday of last week. Several teams had worked on cataloguing books, marking them, making pockets and cards etc. Although we don’t have the computers ready for the computer learning part of our program, I decided that we would just start with the very first FFCIN library!

So, we loaded up our makeshift stanchions, foldable tables, a few chairs, books and volunteers and headed out to a small orphanage in the Carfour Marin area. This orphanage although small sponsors a school for the area’s children. We had already registered the children and made their library cards. On the way there it started to rain. It was not looking good for our first library session. I told everyone that it didn’t really matter if many children came or not because it was a good time to figure out the logistics of setting up. Remember, conditions are always rough and one must make do with what is available. So, in the rain we unloaded all of our supplies and set up under a large tent that the kids have school class under. We arranged the stanchions such that the kids came in the front gate and immediately had to go into a line where their cards were handed out and they were allowed “entrance”. We then had benches and tables with the books on them, a check out desk and more benches to sit and read.

Our starting time was 2 p.m. At 2:15 only a few children from the orphanage itself were in the library. A few children then started to peek through the gate and decided to see what this was all about. They were confused. This “activity” looked different than anything we had ever done before. In the past, when the “blancs” visit it was with games, art projects or just playing. This, was different. Some of the kids even showed a little fear as they were made to stand in a line. At first, they were perplexed when faced with hundreds of books laid out on the tables. The kids were told that they could choose a book and look at it. The kids hurriedly chose and went to the checkout table where they were asked their name. The card inside the book was taken out and their name was written on it! Soon the looks of confusion turned into looks of pride. They sensed that they were able to do something special.

As the minutes went by, more and more children showed up! The rain had stopped and the kids poured in. All were orderly, all were looking at books and asking questions! The boys, Patrick, Bony and Jimmy were very busy teaching the children how to take care of books, reading with them and explaining things. It was the coolest thing ever.

 At one point, the orphanage had an obviously educated and well respected woman visitor whom asked some of the volunteers what we were doing. She ended up asking me how she could register with our organization to give” her kids” at “her schools” this same opportunity. She was so impressed and said to me “Our Haitian children are eager to learn”. Come to find out she is the Director of a large Haitian organization and a Senator’s wife. We will be meeting later this week.

After this first experience of introducing the Haitian children to the wonderful world of books, I was overcome with knowing that we are on track. What a joy to see the joy in their young faces!

Friday, June 17, 2011

How heavy is your load?

Remember; Your burdens just may not be as heavy as the next guys!

From Dominic Weiss

I like Haiti a lot because it gives you an opportunity to see everything that
third-world countries and corrupt countries go through. It opens your
eyes and relieves stress with American troubles that bother you, but you
realize it is worst in Haiti. The kids there really enjoy your visits
and they are blessed that you visit them. One kid about 6 years old
stopped dead in his tracks the other day when we were doing math, he
got the chills and had a breath of release and said God Bless, and
that stuck out to me because they uplift God even though they have


What I want to blog about is how this experience has changed me in different way. Lesly's was the greatest change for me. I realized that people go through worse times than me and I realized that the world does not revolve around me. What his me the most was the nights me and Jimmy stayed up on the roof and talked. I now know a lot about him; like his dreams and goals. That is what hit me the most.