For those who missed our last blog, we are HOME in Haiti and settling into life as a family of ten. 

I bet you go back and read that again. 

Wait, what? Family of ten?!

Ok, ok, let me explain. We are 5 humans. (I know you weren’t counting Jeff, our 20 year old nephew that lives with us.) We got a cat for Christmas; Nijahs BFF! Then added 2 more “security” dogs. That’s a total of 4 aaaaaaand, oh wait, I forgot the goat! 

We will also be adding chickens next week. We’re buying a pre-owned coop from a neighbor! 

Yes, eggs are expensive here too. Plus, fresh is always best.

Odelin and his brother got busy planting large beds of carrots, leeks, and green peppers. With more to come!

They always refer to married life “settling down” yet we have not felt settled for any of the 2 years and 5 months of our marriage. 

This year we look forward to settling in a bit more by finishing the house, planting more flowers and trees, and watching the babies grow! I have a personal goal to learn to cook a few Haitian dishes a little better. 

Odelin has joined me at Many Hands as my taxi driver. Through the generous donations of some of my family members, we purchased a new motorbike that will allow us to get to many places a vehicle couldn’t. This will help us to reach more people with encouragement, follow-up, and sharing resources as needed.

My new position as Family Advocate has us visiting homes almost everyday. In January we visited 19 families in our program whose children are failing to thrive (not growing). These 19 children are now receiving a supplemented “booster” meal each day in addition to our regular served meal. Some of the kiddos have started to gain but others aren’t. It’s possible some of the kids may have something medically wrong with them, so we will send them for some tests.

Yet, as we visited each home and saw the reality of their living conditions, the simple, hard truth is that all of these families are facing extreme economic hardship. Some of them are only eating a real meal (or at all) when they come to our program. We are currently evaluating how we can further help these families who are in crisis.

At the beginning of the month, I met another Mama in a unique situation. Her baby boy was born January 11th but due to an anatomical problem, breastfeeding is a big challenge and the baby is not growing. He is now on the proper amount of formula AND mama is using a pump to help maintain and boost her own supply. I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned on my breastfeeding journey that I can share with this Mama and I look forward to learning more

Feb. 17th we spent the day teaching and sharing with the people of Mè Bel Mè (pronounced:May Bell Meh). Lord willing, later this year we will open a fourth First 1,000 Days program in this community. My colleague Kethlin and I shared an object lesson about building good foundations. My colleagues Mark and Melissa Kauk share more details in their blog here

NIjah is 22 months and starting to get his molars! This kid does NOT handle teething well. Pray for him. He’s also slowly but surely starting to develop his verbal communication. He is learning to appropriately answer my questions with a yes/no response AND learning to say water!! We are thrilled! He’s such a silly, fun boy and makes us all laugh a lot! (When he’s not throwing himself on the floor in a fit of toddler rage!)

Nini (Elisha-Annica) is 4 months old and thriving! She’s so happy and content. When we got back from the DR, our Haitian family nicknamed her “little cry”. Now as long as her belly is full she’s so smiley & everybody’s buddy! She’s a strong little lady and already learning to sit up on her own!

Jeff turned 20 in December. He is feverishly attending every study group he can in hopes to ace the national exam this July. Pray for his mind and body as this final year is a tough one!

All our Love,

The Aldonzas