One Of Those Update Posts
It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve been able to write. I’m still experiencing computer and internet frustrations. Okay, maybe that’s an understatement. Yesterday *may* have seen me with my head down on my desk while I blubbered away. It was just one of those days where a good cry was needed, not because anything was terribly wrong, but just to get all the feelings out.
I wish I didn’t get so frustrated with something like not having good internet access, but I’ve come to realize how much of my day to day relies on it now. It’s how we stay connected with everyone back home (friends, family, board of directors, donors, etc). It’s how I do a big chunk of my work. It’s so frustration to watch emails come in at a snails pace, or to repeatedly see the “this site is not available” message across my screen when trying to get onto a website that I need to be on to do things like write, send mission email updates, etc. In the midst of my blubber fest yesterday I told Chris that I was feeling really inadequate because I literally couldn’t get half of my work done. It’s so frustrating to be the planner and implementer of a lot of things, and then to not actually be able to do them. And I feel inadequate because I just plain don’t have the knowledge to figure out what the problem is. My computer is basically good for typing right now. I do have an internet connection through the satellite system we had installed a couple of weeks ago, but it is VERY slow. Gouge my eyes out with a fork slow. Go do housework while your email is coming in slow. BUT – it is an internet connection! I’m trying to be grateful rather than whining and complaining. Chris and I are trying to work around it with what we have and just make due. It’s going to mean being patient for a few months, then getting things fixed while we’re on vacation this summer.
The frustrations with the computer (see, I just called it “the” rather than “my” – emotional distancing??!) sadly, have overshadowed other things. I think I just know it’s going to be frustrating to do something as simple as respond to emails so I just avoid it. Then they pile up and take even longer to come in. Yeesh. See me, I’m that dog chasing my tail over in the corner. Hi!
Computer woes aside, things have also been crazy busy here. It seems there’s always one or two months of the year where all the things are happening at the same time, and we just keep moving forward then let out a big sigh when things get back to normal pace. Though, we’re wondering what “normal” pace might actually look like this year :)
The first week of the month was fun and exciting. In my former life I was a student ministries pastor in Canada. I think every pastor or youth worker of any kind ends up having certain kids that they just connect with more. It’s been almost 10 years since I was working there, but at the beginning of the month I got to go to the airport and pick up Ryan, one of my former students. He was one of those kids for me. He’s now 27, married, and running his own film company (Ryan Bouman Film) and flew in for a week to put together a new promo video for Clean Water for Haiti. I was so excited about this because he’s incredibly talented, but also because, as we talked through the planning I knew he very much “got” what we were doing here and how we want/need to represent it.
We hadn’t seen each other in a loooooong time, but right away it felt like it was yesterday, but we were both older and different, but the same. We had such a great week with him here aside from everything that was done for the video. It was one of those visits where I just felt filled up when it was over. And sad, because it was over.
As we worked on filming we were joking around about how nice it is for him to get contacted by people that have had him do wedding work for them, and how they get all emotional about the video when they see it. I told him I’d probably be a blubbering mess. I’ll admit it, right here, right now, that there were several times while doing interviews with some of our long term staff that I started to tear up. Hearing their stories of life change, and how they feel about the work we’re doing here just got me. None of it was staged, just them speaking from the heart. We’ve been through some hard things with our staff over the years, and I feel like the week working on the video healed my heart a bit more because I saw so much change from where we once were. I saw how proud they were of the work we’re doing here. Things that anyone from outside wouldn’t have picked up on, like just watching how they carried themselves while he was filming compared to the day to day. I’m SO proud of each and every one of them, and of the work they do for the mission. Most of all I just feel humbled that we get to be part of this.
It was such a good week! Chris just shook his head a lot of the time because I was completely nerding out from being able to talk all things camera with Ryan. One night Chris just went to bed because he didn’t want to hear about things like depth of field and lenses. Ryan let me play with some of his lenses while he was filming, and I got to play with his Canon 5D a bit after he took some family pictures for us.
Ryan left on a Saturday and the next day we welcomed 8 students for a Filter Technician Training class. We do the classes a few times each year on an as needed basis. We hadn’t done one since September, so it was good to be at it again. The students were great and really enthusiastic about the training. I think the longer I’m here the more I want to see people grab on to the idea that they can be the most instrumental part of changing Haiti. It took a long time for Haiti to arrive at this place, and it will take generations to see significant change. At one point during the week when I was teaching I got the chance to talk with the students about that. Being a foreigner here means there are often conversations about what foreigners can do to help Haiti, and Chris and I always try to take those moments to encourage people to see how they can be helping their own country, even if it feels small. We got to talk about how education at the household level about sanitation and hygiene, as well as providing filters, helps this generation make small changes. But, those small changes will be normal practice for the next generation. Kids who grow up using a filter now, will think of it as something that is mandatory in their homes when they grow up, and their children will know nothing else because of it. That’s generational change. It was fun to see the students understand that they have such a vital role to play in their own communities.
This past weekend was Carnival in Haiti. Carnival always means a 4 day weekend, which is nice! It was especially nice after two busy weeks of visitors here. Sadly, there was an incident during one of the parades in Port au Prince where a float passed under a live power line, and it resulted in about 20 people being killed either from being electrocuted or from being trampled in the crowd as people fled. Because of that Carnival activities were cancelled on Tuesday night as a sign of respect and mourning for those that lost their lives. Pray for Haiti. It always seems to be one thing or another.
Aside from all of that stuff, things have been gearing up with the construction at the new property! I’m really excited to share more with you, but I want to give it a separate post. I’m trying to write those updates in such a way that it’ll be easy for us to follow the progress or look back years from now.
There are so many things running around in my heart and head right now, and it feels good to be back in this space to share some of them. There may have been a point yesterday during Watergate 2015 where I, looking like a hot mess, blubbered, “And I haven’t been able to write and I’ve realized that’s like breathing for me and when I can’t do it it’s like being cut off from something and I need to do it and I haven’t been able to because I can’t even get WordPress to load on my browser because it says the website has moved or is not available. The internet is always ON! It’s never not available! And I just need to write! My computer is like a brick. That I can type on. But not on the internet. And I just want to unplug it and put it away because that would be better than throwing it.” At about that point Olivia came in with a stack of Olivia gifts* which had a nicely folded wad of toilet paper on top and a note that said, “Mom do not cry I now you feel bad bot I still love you very very much.” Yeah, I was in a fabulous place right then :)
*Olivia has a very sweet and generous heart and is well known by everyone in our circle for her presents that she likes to make for anyone and everyone, for whatever reason she feels warrants it. Just getting to see someone might warrant a “present”. These presents always consist of random scraps of paper cut from magazines, colored pictures, stickers, cards that she’s made, and random items that she thinks are amazing. It’s sweet and funny and also scares me because she is a pack rat and saves these things just because she might need them one day.
Okay! Hows that for a bit of an update!