Thursday, July 28, 2011

The view from our balcony. 
We where so grateful the sun finally came out.

Apologies in advance this will be a quick down pour of updates.

Baz and I flew to Fort Lauderdale a few weeks ago and spent a week relaxing and picking up supplies. We had to leave the country as our Haiti visa's were about to expire so it was a good excuse to chill out and reacquaint ourselves with each other. We had not spent much quality time together over the last 6 months as looking after the guesthouse and Barry doing building projects etc took up most of our time.

Looking after the Guest House was however a very rewarding experience and we where so grateful to be given the privilege of serving missionaries short term, long term and everything in between.

We had been asked to take a puppy back to the states with us. He was on of Larry (our guesthouse dog) and Annies (Beth and Johns dog) litter. He had been adopted by an American family connected to  Heartline. His name was Mac so we had to say yes. (For those that don't know our beloved dog back in oz is Mac) So this huge Mastiff puppy squeezed into his little carrier and we took him on the plane with us. Such a novelty to have a dog on the plane there is no way that would happen in Australia. Anyway he was the perfect passenger and after ticking the (carrying animal) box on the customs form and lots of gooing and garing from the dog squad in customs we where out the doors and Mac was in the arms of his new family.
Macs new family

So onto the amazing relaxing break in the sunshine on the beach in Florida that we had over imagined. The weather unfortunately had other plans and rained for the first 5 days.

This meant that we saw more of the inside of shopping centers than we had planned to and certainly didn't help the re-entry anxiety we experienced. One of the lovely ladies that stayed with us at the guesthouse wanted to bless us in some way and she organized for us to stay at this very fancy resort in Boca Raton Florida. (Thanks so much C) Really nice place and the funny thing was there where lots of Haitians working at the hotel so I got to praise my creole on them and watch in surprise as they tried to figure out why this white girl that sounds funny was talking to them.

The re-entry anxiety hit us pretty hard and I think it was exaggerated by our surroundings. Everyone we saw was driving a brand new fancy car from Ferrari's to Bently's we saw it all. They where usually driving to and from their gigantic mansions with their massive boats parked out front. I don't think Florida knows that the USA is in recession. All the excess really got us down and felt really surreal compared to where we have been living in Haiti.

A friend of mine made a good point the other day that she wonders what the Haitians that fly to Florida for the first time think of the US. She commented that "it must make them think that all of the US is like this." The first thing you see as you fly over the coastline is canal mansions and more boats then you can count. I imagine it gives them a very false sense of America. Its certainly was what we found the hardest part, reconciling that so much wealth and so much poverty lay just 1.5hrs flight time apart. 

The sunshine finally came out and that helped to lighten our mood. We also had a visit from friends that we also met at the guesthouse they came and spent the day with us around the pool at the hotel. We where very blessed by their visit (they drove 5 hours each way to see us) Who does that!! These people are really something special and it was a really nice relaxing day.

Oh I forgot to mention that Baz shaved his head and here are the pictures to show the transformation. He hadn't had a hair cut in 14 weeks so it was pretty feral to say the least. He did it himself and did a really good job of it. One of our dearest friends back home in Australia has been recently going through extensive chemo. Barry wanted to show his support by shaving all his hair off. Please pray for full healing of our friend she has two young boys and we love them ever so much.

Arrest Mug Shot
Charge Very Bad Hair

Released on Good Behavior

Thanks to our friends that chipped in for some special presents while we where away it was much appreciated.

On our last night/day,  I was sound asleep when I heard the familiar click of the electricity turning off. This is when I usually kick Baz out of bed to go turn on the generator, but we where not in Haiti we where still in Florida. Next sound I hear is the wailing of a fire alarm. I woke Barry and we discussed what to do next. I could then hear the faint instructions over the alarm. I checked the door for heat ( I put this in for Grandad and Mum cause I know you would ask me) and Yes I actually did it. The alarm was now screeching EVACUATE, EVACUATE so we figured we had better go. Barry had wisely collected our valuables and we headed down the stairs. We met a few people on the way down that asked us what they should do. Seemed obvious to me "Evacuate I guess". We where met at the bottom by fire fighters letting us know there was an electrical fire in the basement. I have to say I was happy to know we had walked down 21 flights of stairs at 3am for a real fire. What surprised me was that out of three towers of apartments less than 50 people evacuated. Apathy at its best or worst.

Our 3am wake up call

We arrived back in Port Au Prince to start the next chapter at our new house just the two of us. Its been really great so far and we are loving the freedom of our new abode. Barry is still working some days for Heartline  finishing the school and he has also been helping another organization called Awaken Haiti.  Barry is there now helping pour the slab for a new church/ community building in canna ( I am sure that's not how its spelt)  a new settlement outside Port Au Prince.

The other exciting news is that things are really progressing for the Renewable Energy Expo we are organizing. We met with the Clinton Foundation this week and they where really positive and are going to help make some connections for us so we will wait and see what happens. We have started advertising for a Senior Event Manager and an Event Manager this week and we have already started receiving applications. If you know of anyone that has a heart for Haiti and has event experience please pass on our website all the details for the positions are there

Save the date announcement, we are going to be back in Australia for the month of November so family and friends make sure you are available as we have alot of catching up to do.

Bec and Baz