Thursday, June 28, 2012

The ApParent Project Visit


Wisler rolling suitcase of boxes
My visit was amazed, spellbound and awestruck was I, that I hardly took any pictures. Never fear Tim and Cindy Irish were on the ball--so yes there are pictures--lots!
But let's go back to amazed, spellbound and awestruck for a minute. I was speechless--the lump in my throat, as I gazed upon the faces of the moms and dads working so hard for their families, threatened to spill out into tears of gratitude and humbleness at being allowed to play a small part in this amazing ministry. 

   My first visit to Haiti in June of 2010 changed my life forever. Of course the obvious catalyst for that change was meeting my then five year old son. While there, God peeled away layers of oblivion that had shrouded my heart and eyes and showed me true suffering and poverty (oh and don't forget the devestation of a major earthquake). I could not look upon such pain and not be changed forever. I close my eyes and see the houses piled like pancakes, the starving kids, the mud pies the tent cities. I see our world--here in the good ol' USA so differently. The excess and extravagance remind me constantly of my own desire for things and discontent with what I have-- that to a mom sitting outside her tin shack holding her starving baby -- would be a luxury. For months I prayed-

God show me how to help. I want to help. I want to encourage. Help me to understand. Help me not to be a cultural buffoon. Help me to help. Show me how to give a hand up with dignity and honor.

Beautiful artwork in the courtyard all made from "junk"
God answered that prayer. Through the course of events I came across the Apparent Project. I knew this was the answer. I knew this was how God wanted me to help. I contacted AP and recieved my first box of fundraising bracelets in early February. To say they sold like hotcakes would be an understatement. People were moved by the amazing stories--reading through and buying bracelets because of the stories--not because of the colors or bead work (although the bracelets are beautifully crafted). 

Take a close look and see what "trash" you can identify!
My second box arrived in mid- March and since then I have taken them on the road. I have given

about a half dozen presentations. I tell our adoption story and how we found AP, show pictures and sell bracelets. I love it. I love talking about Haiti. I love sharing how God has pulled us through our adoption ( two years and counting). I love talking about the spirit and beauty of the Haitian people. I love talking about AP and how mums and dads get to keep their kids--and feed them because of AP--and how AP re-purposes trash for such beauty. I love that each piece is uniquely made- an extension of the artist--each bead --tightly wound hope for their future and family.

Visiting AP has made me more passionate about advertising their products and selling bracelets for them and us (as most of you know the bracelet fundraiser is not only instrumental in supporting AP but has been helping us raise the last bit o'money for our adoption of Wisler, pronounced the French way Wislay). I have some plans up my sleeve but am not quite ready to reveal just yet...but stay tuned ...
In the meantime here's a tour of AP in pictures... 

                                                    Hard at Work....

Photo credit T&C Irish
Photo Credit T&C Irish

Photo Credit T&C Irish
Photo Credit T&C Irish


Loved these bracelets on the end of the table

This pile will last a please donate--especially if you can bring it down yourself!
Another note here I know a wonderful little girl  (my niece) who has started a FB page- Boxes for Bracelets--so if you are local and want to help out--check out her page on how to donate boxes and/or cash to mail the boxes!

the sewing room girls--these ladies were so sweet and had such beautiful smiles

Amazing new beads made from mud pie mud--instead of having to eat  the mud--they can make beads and eat nutritious food

Photo Credit T&C Irish


Photo Credit T&C Irish

 Photo Credit T&C Irish

And speaking of SHOPPING!
 for those of you who are interested I have exactly 38 bracelets left from my second box. If you would like to purchase some please let me know via email ( and we can meet up! Also visit the Apparent Project website for more shopping and ways to help. They also have a facebook page...ApParent Project.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 2

Friday morning arrived too early (some of you who have been to KKO can chuckle here and close your eyes for a minute and savor this next moment)- around 3:30 with the roosters, a little later with the dogs and then with stubborn determination at 5:30 when the church bells began tolling. Anyway my consolation for more sleep deprivation was this amazing sunrise...

Day Two in Haiti was busy!!! For the first time I was going to school with Wisler. I chose my orange shirt so I would match my boy (I know call my dorky). We chomped through breakfast and were ready to go. I followed Wisler (and his friend Sebastien and his parents Tim and Cindy) through the maze of alleyways that he uses to walk to school everyday. I felt like a mouse. We speed walked/ jogged through alleys no wider than two people--foot traffic squeezing past each other--open doorways on either side peered into dark homes. Vendors squished into doorways selling snacks, meat and breads. Some of it smelled was quite an onslaught to the senses--this light jog through to school. 

the only picture I snapped while racing through the alleys--
I was worried that if I stopped for too
long I would lose my guide!

School had a party atmosphere. It had been National Children's Week in Haiti-- a week long celebration of children and President Martinelli's signing of the Hague Agreement. (Note: Nobody at this point really knows what this means for adoptions in Haiti.) School Friday began in the church with an assembly. I honestly could not tell you what it was about (it takes me a few days of listening before I can understand again)--only that there was lots of singing, dancing in their seats and screaming. After a bit the kids were dismissed to their classrooms.

Wisler listening at the assembly.

Wisler's classroom is on the second floor. The hallway to his classroom runs through three classrooms before his--his is the dead end. The windows face the courtyard below. His teacher is a tiny lady--who I initially thought was a student...yikes. The kids started out class with recitations. As their voices chanted I took a moment to look at the board--  it was covered with grammar lessons and math equations. (As a homeschooling mama I am constantly trying to figure out what Wisler is learning and what being in second grade in Haiti means. Children in Haiti go to school starting as young as three and attend through till they are 21.) After about thirty minutes or so I headed back to the orphanage to wait for the next adventure...our trip to the ApParent Project. 

Wisler was much the center of attention from his friends because his mum was there--too funny --he seemed embarrassed. (part of why I left after about 30 minutes)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Haiti Trip Number Three

On June 7th I left for Haiti for the first time since August of 2010. Almost two years. My heart raced with nervousness. Would he still like me? Would be be angry that it had been so long? I prayed. You all prayed. God worked an amazing miracle--it was THE BEST visit we have had. There were many what I would call pivotal moments during our visit that I would like to share. I want to give each one its own limelight, so I am going to write a series of posts about this one visit. The first pivotal moment of course was our reunion.

  The Arrival
We arrived in PAP made our way through customs and baggage retrieval. Then we regrouped and prepared for the onslaught. We knew once we left the safety of the terminal and began our walk down the outside corridor towards the parking lot we would be met with a barrage of helpers. Porters desperate to help you in hopes of payment. We gathered our group and prepared to say our "no mesi's".
I led the way out and instantly they were grabbing my suitcase trying to pull it away--"no mesi, no mesi" (Creole for no thank you)  my grip tightened. Suddenly there was a commotion towards the back of our group--they were trying to pull suitcases off our baggage cart. We were saved further "help" when Jacnel our driver showed up like a knight in shining armor. Brandishing his Creole like a sword, they backed off. As I turned forward once again my heart skipped. There he was. He had been standing right in back of me during this whole altercation. He had on a bright blue polo shirt and a big smile. I squealed and hugged him as best I could with all my baggage. I squeezed and kissed those adorable cheeks. His hand found mine and we continued on our walk to the vehicles. Jacnel had brought two vehicles- a flat bed and passenger car. Wisler wanted to ride in the flat bed. I must confess I did not mind- after being cooped up in a bus, two airports and two airplanes since 4 a.m. fresh air- even fresh air choking with exhaust fumes and other unpleasant Haiti smells was better than squeezing into yet another stuffy vehicle.
We arrived at Wayoum Timoun about 30 minutes later. Hauling our bags to our rooftop rooms we were re-aquainted with a permanant state of being in Haiti- sweat. Dripping. Slimy. Sticky. Always sweating. Anyway we started unpacking donations for Marta (our incredible amazing super awesome cook) and Mimose (head mama extrodinaire). Wisler was pleased with his surprises-legoes, crayons, markers, some stencils, books, some small balls, a toy motorcycle, dried fruit, peanutbutter crackers (staple treat) and organic fruit snacks. Of course his absolute favorite thing to play with on visits is a small digital camera that I bring along just for him to use. He loves to take photos and videos and I love to look through his lens and see his perspective of our visit when I get home. Dinner and bucket showers, and bed soon followed. It was a miraculous reunion.