Everything is fine…with us! We returned to Haiti about four weeks ago and quickly adjusted back into life, living, and work. As a country, Haiti is not doing so well right now. There is a lot of unrest and there are many manifestations and even violence occurring in the capital city of Port Au Prince as well as in some of the other larger urban areas around the country (mostly on the coasts). Where we live and work (Pignon) in the Central Plateau is for the most part calm but everyone is aware of what is happening and our Haitian friends and co-workers are quite concerned. We have had some people and teams this fall and because our visitors can fly in to Haiti via Missionary Flights International (MFI) there are no issues and we can be confident that they are safe. We are glad that our area remains peaceful and that we are able to continue our work on a daily basis. We have witnessed many good things and even some miracles but we have also witnessed significant suffering and death. So when we say that everything in fine by way of our newsletter title this month, that is a bit misleading. The definition of “fine” is relative for sure but we want you as our family, friends and supporters to know that we are doing OK.
As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter, we are sending out some support letters to our current financial supporters. Those should be arriving in your mailboxes soon (if not already). If you receive our monthly blog but are not currently a financial supporter and wish to become one, please contact us (email, FB Messenger, What’s App, etc.) and we will send you a letter with the details. You can also simply go to the MH4H.org website and navigate to our support page. We continue to be humbled by the wonderful support, financially and in so many other ways, that we are receiving during this chapter of our lives. We cannot thank you enough but we will keep saying it. Thank you!!!!
Prayer Requests for This Month
1. For Haiti as a country. Pray that the unrest can subside and that those in power but who disagree can work together for the sake of the people that they are supposed to be leading.
2. For safety for us. While we feel safe today we realize that things can change very quickly when living in a third world country, especially one that is experiencing political unrest.
3. For MH4H as an organization. We are currently establishing our strategic plan for the next calendar year. There are always exciting and challenging things ahead!
4. For more and more opportunities to witness for Jesus Christ. We know this can happen by how we act and treat people and through conversations. The latter requires use of Creole so keep praying for that language acquisition. ☺
5. For relationships among our American and Haitian staffs. Both intra-staff and inter-staff. Both need to be healthy for our organization to be healthy and effective.
WHAT THE FOODIE IS UP TO!

Our one year anniversary has come and gone, and we really did little to acknowledge it  outwardly, but definitely some inward contemplation was going on. We continue to learn more everyday – about culture, language, relationships, transportation skills, and about ourselves and God. My experience of God only continues to expand. Some days I am excited about this, other days I long for the old “boxes” that I felt comfortable with.

I have noticed some Fall colors here – see the picture of the little mango tree. Also Christi has pointed out how the mountain has its change of season, not as extreme in temperature changes as the Midwest, but there are definitely changing of the plants and foliage we encounter on the path seasonally.

I am currently on my 4th garden season.  You can see from the produce in the colander (all that I harvested from garden #3) that there is room for much improvement.  I did get a lesson from Claudin our agronomist, and now have access to kabrit poupou (goat manure) for my composting, so I have high hopes!

I was able to buy some fresh cassava flour recently.  It was grated from the roots the night before, so it was still damp.  I spent 3-4 days using solar power to dry it. But now I have lots of cassava flour for baking.  The process of making cassava bread from the harvested roots was a great education in how our neighbors come together to help one another with an all-night working party.  Watch for a MH4H Instagram post on this process soon!

Just today, I was able to “help” prepare peanuts for making manba – peanut butter.  In our schools, each student gets a breakfast of pen ak manba –peanut butter sandwich.  So at 6am I met Rosita and she started the charcoal fire, poured the peanuts in a huge pan and instructed me to stir.  I continued to stir until 8:00. It was during this stirring in an industrial sized pan that I realized that some of my Physical Therapy advice I’ve given over the years was very incorrect.  I remember coaching someone who worked in a school cafeteria kitchen that her core muscles when used adequately would help relieve her wrist pain. Ummm, let’s just say no amount of core activity was helping my wimpy arms today!  Once the peanuts are roasted, then the skins are removed – by whatever hand technique you prefer, and then sifted to leave one bucket of peanuts ready to go to the grinder by 9:00am.

I’ve had the opportunity use some Physical Therapy skills in the last couple of weeks.  In our community we have a little girl – Anika who broke her tibia (lower leg) over a year ago.  It had not healed and infections were a constant battle over the last 12+ months. In October MH4H was able to connect with a pediatric orthopedic specialist who works in Port-Au-Prince.  The travel to and from Port-Au-Prince was also “easy” in a time when travel there is anything but easy. So many details that took divine intervention to line up!!! Mesi Bondye (thank you God).  So now that she has hardware from the outside to the inside to keep the bone pieces stable, we are working on walking and strengthening. She also has some surgical sites that need some attention.   Fortunately for Anika, she is doing well, and is very bright – she won’t need my help for much longer.

So, this foodie will be baking cassava flour based breads, cookies, and maybe even pumpkin scones (if I can figure out the moisture difference between our joumou pumpkins here, and pumpkins in the US), continuing to roast fresh raw cashews with different seasonings, and trying to ferment any vegetable/fruit I can get my hands on….can you ferment papaya?!

DAWOL’S DOINGS

These past four weeks have been great! Busy but great! We have put up three new shade structures on our campus for our Agronomy Department. These will be used to help us start (think nursery) and grow plants and trees. There has been a lot of deforestation in Haiti over the centuries and we want to do our part in replenishing trees. We have a current goal to grow and plant up to 2,020 trees by the end of 2020.

We recently conducted a two-day teacher training workshop on “Multi-sensory/Active Learning.” Our entire instructional staff attended and participated in this very hands-on training module. MH4H volunteer (and former educator) Denise Dent (Humested, IA) and I had an enjoyable time encouraging our staff and providing them with a few more “tools” that they can use with their students. We added some fun too doing a little team building activity and really emphasized that we are all on the same team and that we are Pi bon ansenm! (Better Together! = purple T-shirts).
Finally, we held a two-day Leadership Conference for 120 participants who came from 20 different communities. This was the sixth and final conference held for this cohort who we have been working with since the beginning of 2018. These conferences, community visits between conferences, and a monthly Leader of Leaders group for the identified Top-25 leaders from the cohort, were all ways that we have been investing in these men and women with a goal that they would become stronger and more effective leaders for their families and their respective communities. This has been our Leadership Development model for the past four years (two cohorts for two years each) but we do not plan to continue with this format. A new model will be developed sometime in 2020 that will have a much smaller scale and reach and which will have more intentionality and accountability for the participants that we identify.
UNTIL NEXT MONTH….
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