Friday, March 27, 2020

Day #8. Haiti corona lockdown

Day # 8.  The sun just broke through the “booyah”, fog of low clouds that have surrounded us since we woke up this morning. 

I have not seen yet a jump in Haiti’s cases so we remain at 8 but this number will be increasing at any time.

Markets are to be shut down tomorrow. While this makes sense to encourage and improve social distancing, most Haitians visit markets to buy food for their next meal as storage in homes are limited and no refrigeration.  

This, along with the border to the Dominican shut will worsen the hunger already being experienced by millions in Haiti.

In Délice preparations for the rains continue, with Cory’s guys taking time off to plant their crops. 

We are also preparing for rain by working to seal more of the small cracks on the outside walls by painting with a cement based coating. 

We continue to work on Fritzlin’s schoolwork, saving his reading time for when we are working together. This entertains us all. 

I’v made a few masks, then modified my pattern based on a friend’s recommendations. 

I asked the neighbor kids to braid some ties as my sewing machine is limping along and making 4 ties per mask may limit how many we can make.

We still hear a few planes overhead during the day. Americans and other foreigners continue to leave and we know of at least one flight to France today.

Yesterday morning we were one of the 83 sites that logged into a zoom- Global Partner’s devotional / prayer time, encouraged by words of encouragement and time of prayer.

Thank you to those who are praying for us. Praying for peace and courage in our Lord during these difficult times. 

Eli and Anna report doing well and are keeping each other entertained. 

Praying for the tech to come to Grandparent's house today to increase bandwidth so that Anna can better connect for classes next week, as she's on spring break this week. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Starting Day 5..

The biggest changes for us at this point would be connecting more with our families by phone or messaging; reading more world news during unlimited bandwidth time before 7 a.m. and only hearing 1-2 planes fly over a day.

The guys watered our trees Saturday and Monday as we've been dry, but thankfully last night we had a short rain.

Planting will start in the village today and later in the week they plan to start planting up here.
Pitaya/dragon fruit pillars with basin on top
 to hold compost

Cory's guys will take about a week off from working for us to plant their fields.

Sunday we walked to the neighbors to pick up eggs, the vegetables they bought for us on their supply runs, and to visit a bit.

They also plan to stay to support the children's home.

Like many of you, our church service consisted of listening on-line, we chose an older sermon my brother preached.

We researched making of masks and then did some testing on what sheets we could breath through.

Wow what a difference between sheets. Our old sewing machine is not working well so I only completed one mask yesterday.

Yesterday some work around the dragon fruit pillars occurred.

A small rock wall to prevent dirt from washing away in the rain.

The path behind the house continues to take shape as the rocks and dirt are distributed to the various pillars.

Praying for the many people trying to get flights to leave the country. There are many reasons to leave folks at risk medically being a big one and food supplies. We have a few month supply and are in a very safe area with limited exposure to people.

 As of this morning 6 confirmed cases in Haiti but none reported in our area or in Port-au-Prince the capital.
Calendula flowers

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Lots going on makes for a long week.

As for most people, I suspect, this week feels extra long. 

Life here continued as usual until Thursday when the first 2 Haiti coronavirus cases were announced, late afternoon. 

Then a state of emergency was called: schools canceled, no factory work, no groups of more than 10, ports and airports closed.  

Many Americans with flights canceled continue to look for a way to fly to the USA next week.

Calvin University told Anna and the rest of the student body that they were closing the dorms this weekend. Only international students or those with extreme situations can stay.
Eli moved her and a friend of her's who is from California into the basement apartment this afternoon. 

My folks will be increasing the internet next week for the college student's studies. 

Next week is Calvin's Spring Break, after which they will continue with on-line classes. 

Our neighbors went down to Port on Friday to shop and kindly picked up some fresh veggies for us. 

They said things were a 'zoo' as folks scrambled for the same items that people bought in the USA like cleaning supplies, food.

Food is the biggest concern as most of it comes from the Dominican Republic and the border is now closed. 

Trucks of cargo should be able to cross but much is normally carried  by merchants who would travel at least weekly across the border.

Cory's guys said as well that some merchants are not selling rice at this time, waiting for the price to go up. 

We continue to pray. As of today I've not seen any reports indicating that Haiti has additional cases..but most locations do not have testing available yet. 

Around here Fritz and I worked on school and more weeding. Cory and guys finished the patio and pond bottom. 

The hoop nursery is a bit bigger but still full of plants waiting for rainy season to plant. 

They also started making rock pillars for dragon fruit, stuffing cucumber, yam and other climbing plants.  

Eight are complete waiting for dirt to be put around (not much topsoil on that hill) and planting. 

The patio is already a happy spot for me. 

I like looking toward Port-au-Prince and the sea and praying. I like the space and being able to talk to Cory in the nursery and watch Fritz play with the dog. 

Wild oncidium orchid
The rocks and dirt came from a pile that was made with the building of the house. 

So a path is starting to take shape behind the house. 

Some of the trees and plants from the nursery will be planted by the path once the rains start. 

We don't have any lawn but as the piles disappear the landscaping looks more neat and intentional, which makes me happy!

Wednesday they will start to plant large gardens of beans and corn..sooner if we get good rains this weekend. 

Like everyone we continue to pray for family, friends, Haiti, USA and the world. Each day brings new news, adjustments, and things to pray about. Friends trying to get to the USA, with hard medical problems, hard life problems.  

One day this week we awoke to the internet not working. NOT GOOD. Praise the Lord by late afternoon it was back. 
Asparagus seedlings
Been good to be able to talk to Anna and the rest of the family about changing plans and being flexible as well as keeping a closer eye on the news. 

Praying that it continues to work well for a LONG time.

Will try to update more frequently but shorter posts in the days to come. Thank you for your prayers. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Busy, varied week of projects.

Because Cory traveled down the mountain on Thursday and we worked on a variety of projects, our week feels chopped up.

This was Fritz's best week of school so far this year! Leaving more time for him today to play, watch the guys work on the floor/ shed roof, in addition to getting caught up a bit in math.

Monday was cold and cloudy (we were IN the clouds most of the day) so Cory started working on making a door for our storage room.

We also started to think about writing thank you letters and Newsletters, with the idea that Cory could deliver them to be mailed if / when he went down the mountain.

[For those of you who get snail mail updates-will be a couple weeks likely before they arrive in the USA.]

Tuesday, he worked on squaring up the shed doorway, the bottom layer of the pond base was finished and we continued our correspondence writing.

Wednesday they cut and placed the q-deck on the shed; printed, folded, stuffed, stamped, addressed & sealed the 200+ letters; worked on shopping list, and did some laundry.

There were two big reasons for Cory to go this week for supplies, banking, and food shopping: the start of rainy season that can damage the mountain road and hinder evening travel up the mountain, and the fact that we don't know what will happen in Haiti when the coronavirus starts being diagnosed.

 Now with additional food supplies and supplies for projects we can potentially remain on the mountain for a few months without problem.

While Cory was gone, Fritzlin and I started a new project to surprise him.

We took a bucket and clippers and started walking around the property looking for a specific kind of weed that Cory wanted removed before the dark brown seeds start to sprout during the rainy season.

Sticky but don't poke much. 
We filled two 5-gallon buckets with Fritz excitedly clipping the second time we went out. Friday as a school break we went out again each with clippers and a bucket.

As one could predict-the 'fun' part soon wore off for Fritz.

The weed seeds kind of look like the drawings of corona so today when I headed out by myself with the 2 buckets I spent my time praying about the crises.

 I'm a preventive medicine doc and by nature as well prefer to prevent problems.  "Fear not for I am with thee!"

I learned the first day to cover my braid after Fritz had to help me get a few seeds out..but today I ended up with an even bigger batch stuck to my head.

 Makes me think of the sin in my life. I get one area a bit under control and suddenly the same issue pops up in a different area of life or a different issue surprises me by causing problems.

So thankful that we serve a good, powerful God who is never surprised, never sleeps, always loves us.

God surprised me today..walking back with my buckets of weeds I saw one a bit off the path..and so went to collect it. Looking up a bit further off the path I saw a patch of wild crocus flowers!

They don't last long and I'd of missed them if I hadn't been weed hunting.

Thank you Lord!

Now I can go and transplant them closer to the house for continued enjoyment.

New step replacing the bag sitting above it.
Continued thankfulness for our in-house internet. Staying connected with our adult children, family, and friends is important during these days of uncertainty.

 Glad that Anna has support close by and that Eli is there for her.

Praying for wisdom, patience, and sharing God's love to all!

New pink crocus transplanted by house
Spring Berries!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

This and that... projects and photos.

A few light rains this week indicate that the rainy season is almost here. The local farmers will start to plant their corn and beans soon, with the hopes of completing planting by the end of March.

The shed project saw the walls built this week.

I like the rounded look of the corners, however the V shaped door will need some adjustment as will one wall so that the 6-foot-long q-deck sheets can span from wall to wall.

Lord willing, next week the guys will fix this, cut the q-deck, and pour the roof / porch floor.

The irrigation pond will likely hold water now, even with only part of the plastered cement layer completed due to the work week ending.

The donkey delivered another two bags of cement this morning so the projects can continue next week.

Cory harvested more yacon this week. This is a crunchy, juicy, mildly sweet root crop from the Andes. The two plants on the dirt pile each yielded about a bucket of roots. He divided and replanted the inedible tubers that grow above the roots for a larger crop next year. They produce some even in very poor soil.
Yacon - The sweet roots look like sweet potato and the inedible tubers
look like red jerusalem artichokes

Fritz and I spent a few hours, over a couple days weeding in the garden.

Today we spent some time behind the house working on clearing brush where a new path will run once the guys move a dirt pile and rock.

This will likely occur in April, after they plant their gardens.

The step following the making of the path will be to plant some of the trees and plants from the nursery along the path.

As some of you have heard..the US government raised the travel advisory warning for Haiti up to a level 4 this week due to increased violence and kidnapping.

We remain safe on the mountain but it would be helpful if Cory could make a supply run before rainy season starts in earnest and the corna-19 virus arrives [it has been diagnosed in the Dominican Republic]

We are praying for wisdom to know if and when it is best to travel.

Trying to root the leftover apple budsticks. A few are blooming.

Irrigation pond