We have had quite a few volunteers since I've returned full time which has been great. Everyone has helped out somehow, whether that be bringing in some much needed supplies, spending quality time with our kids, or thinking of new projects for the house and new ways to network. We are hoping to host a few more teams this summer as we now have many specific projects that we will need help with. So if anyone is interested please don't hesitate to contact me!
Jonette and Christella have improved immensely. They are both laughing and playing and seem to finally be coming around. After finding a one on one worker for Jonette, she has also begun to improve. She has finally started speaking and I have discovered that she absolutely loves music! She still has her days where she "escapes" (hiding her face and being unresponsive) and she has been sick with some kind of bug for the past few days, but I am happy to say that things are looking up for her. Christella on the other hand is just an old woman stuck in a little girls body. She has so much attitude and sass but also loves to be cuddled and held. And when you put her down... you can expect A LOT of waterworks.
The days continue to pass and the needs continue to grow. This is just every day life in Haiti. We have three new children that have joined our home- Naica (8), Junior (5), and Daniel (3 months). These kids are already such a blessing to us. They were living on the streets and their mother is ill. I was concerned at first with taking them into our home, however, these kids are politest and sweetest kids. Daniel unfortunately is struggling with breathing and is getting medical attention, he has also not had any vaccinations so we are getting him up to date on those. He is a beautiful little boy who, despite being sick, is always smiling. Naica follows me around wherever I go, which of course means that Junior must follow as well. She gives me the biggest hugs and always wants to hold my hand. We built a tire swing in the backyard for all of the kids and Naica and Junior had a blast! Watching them laugh and play with our other kids and seeing them extremely happy makes everything worthwhile.
These past few weeks have also been filled with unexpected payments whether that be for the car, hospital bills, broken cell phone (which means I lost all of my photos and info), new beds for our new family members, house hold repairs, more diapers and formula for baby Daniel, the list goes on and on. And unfortunately due to these unexpected expenses it has made it difficult to pay our rent which is due this week ($5000). Thankfully I have an amazing support system and family and friends who have stepped up and donated on our gofundme account http://www.gofundme.com/helpkekontan
I cannot express enough my gratitude for all of your help. I've said this before and I will continue saying it, I couldn't do this without all of you!
I spoke with someone recently who was down in Haiti visiting on a Mission's Trip. We began speaking about Haiti and about my life here. Her final statement was "I'm so jealous. I wish I could do what you do and just live here and hold babies all day". It made me cringe. I smiled and left it at that and tried my best to hide the anger and frustration that was boiling inside of me. It's not that I don't love my life here, because I do. But living this life isn't easy. It's hard. It's really really hard. It's not just the constant presence of poverty and suffering, it isn't just the injustices or the deaths or illnesses, it isn't just the lack of clean water, electricity, and basic resources.... All of those are enough to make life extremely difficult. But the most difficult part I find is being so far away from friends and family. Feeling guilt for missed occasions or not being there for your best friend as she goes through a rough patch. For feeling as if you are letting them down and not holding up your end of the relationship. It hurts knowing that you are hurting others by being so far away. I wish she knew what came with "holding babies all day". Quitting University. Feeling as if you are letting your parents down. Quitting your job. Having no savings. Selling all of your belongings. Giving up your home. Saying goodbye to your brothers and other family members. Telling your friends that you will see them when you don't know when. Losing most of your friends because it's hard to keep in contact when you don't have constant electricity, have a bunch of toddlers who are constantly needing your attention, or because they think you are absolutely insane for choosing this life. Move to a country where you know one or two people and don't speak the language. Face government corruption and the daily struggles of simply getting around. Encounter strange illnesses that leave you paralyzed for periods of time. Constantly struggle to come up with funds to care for your children and pay your staff. If you are ready for all of that, then you are ready to "hold babies all day". This isn't to say that my life here isn't also fulfilled with an incredible amount of joy or that I wouldn't choose to be presented with these obstacles all over again, because I would. In a heart beat. I would go through all of that plus more to be lucky enough to have these children in my life and have made such incredible friends in this country.. but I also want people to understand that there are sacrifices, there are hard times, that it isn't just nice beaches, palm trees, warm weather, and "holding babies all day". Haiti never seems to give you time to mourn. It doesn't give you time to process most of the things you witness or are faced with on a daily basis. You deal with what's happening in the moment, and then almost always have to immediately pull yourself together, dust yourself off and keep going. Living here does come with an unexpected cost, but anything worth having is never easy. This is what I have been called to do, and it is what I will continue to do despite the obstacles. I am beyond blessed to be given this life.
It is now 1am and I have to be up in just a few hours, but I wanted to once again thank all of those who have reached out, supported us, fundraised for us, volunteered with us, or those of you who continue to share our story. My gratitude is endless.