27 July 2010


Hello world! I finally got my site placement for Guatemala!

I’ll be living in Xela (aka Quetzaltenango, which I do not know how to pronounce), which is the 2nd largest city in the country with about 300,000 people and is known as “the city that is the soul of cutlture” (???). The climate is cool all year long… Sort of a bummer, but hopefully it won’t be too too cold. And, Google images tells me it’s really pretty, and I think it’s surrounded by volcanoes/mountains, so that should be cool! Here’s a website to learn more- www.xelapages.com

I’ll work 3 days a week at the local Episcopal Church with their lunch program for elderly community members. This program is “a collaborative effort to provide food and a social space for elderly people of scarce economic resources.” The other 2 days I’ll be working with Voces de Cambio (Voices of Change), which works with young women to give courses on photography and writing, helping to provide education about self-esteem, leadership, racism, sexism, and other topics, which young Guatemalan women often don't receive. Though I’m not really sure what either of these things will actually look like, I’m excited to finally know what city I’ll be in, and have even a vague idea of how I’ll be spending my year.

Can you believe I leave in 1 month?? I’m starting my America Bucket List--- Any suggestions??

Bendiciones, juli

23 July 2010

back from Haiti!

Well world, I'm back in the U. S. of A!

In my last few days in Haiti, we mainly finished up training Kelsey's Haitian replacement beading-program-manager, Sherilee. A really cool thing about the Clays and the ApParent project is that they're all about making it self-sustaining, which ultimately means that it is by Haitians, for Haitians-- and I think that this is really how missions need to work. It's so great when international groups come in and "lend a helping hand," but ultimately, natives have to work to change their own country-- we shouldn't come in with an attitude of needing to FIX everything- because sometimes, even though it's different, it's not broken the way we think it is.

We spent one of our last days in PĂ©tionville, which is the richest part of P-a-P (which isn't really saying much..) and the arts center of the city. A really pretty place, and we went took Sherilee to a fancy restaurant on the 7th floor of a building (and she *joked* that if the next earthquake happened while we were up there... at least we wouldn't get squished bc we were on the top floor... hilarious...) where we saw views of everything, from the Caribbean sea to the mountains. So so pretty. And still, so much destruction everywhere. It felt like 2/3 buildings everywhere had fallen and were still down, crumbling, like huge destroyed tombs everywhere.

But through it all, I really really didn't feel distraught or hopeless- no one seemed to. Life in Haiti is hard, but people are resilient and have adapted. Everyone was poor before- and they're a little more poor now, but the earthquake and its aftermath has not defined them. Surely they don't like it and it seriously stinks-- but that's just what life is right now. Heavy stuff, world, but so encouraging that people didn't seem to have their spirits completely crushed... even after living in tents with no running water for 7 months.

So yeah. That's my trip in a nutshell... I have millions of bug bites, pictures, a fairly severe burn from a motorcycle (we rode on mototaxis to get around everywhere), and HSM songs permanently stuck in my head-- but all in all, a positive memory of my short week and a half in Haiti.

Thanks for reading, world.
Bendiciones, juli

18 July 2010

Haitian Wedding

Hello world,
I went to a Haitian wedding last night! Most people can't afford to get married here because of the cost of the wedding, but we lucked out! It was suuuuch a good time! I'll put up photos when I get home, but just to give you a little taste, all of the bridesmaids wore old wedding dresses from the 80s... it was sooo confusing! The ceremony started late (rain) and took about 2 hours---but it was soooo worth it.

Afterwards, Kelsey and I and 50 of our closest friends took a very death-defying ride in the bed of a pickup truck to get to the reception site. I'll spare you the details so my mom doesn't have a heart attack... but don't worry, we made it there in one piece!
After like an hour, the dinner finally came out-- we went up, but the girl told us it was not our turn yet... so we had to wait... but oh! We got to pull the blanc card, and so the groom went and fetched us dinner and Coke (I ate chicken!) After dinner, the mayhem of dancing and Prestige beer started. There were seriously like 5yr old kids drinking the stuff, it was crazy! BUT they played Justin Bieber twice -- it was fantastic.

Life here has been teaching me so so much-- about poverty, missions, and my own theology.... So so glad I could come.

More later--

PS: Haiti is a Caribbean island-- it is seriously beautiful!



not her, either.

There she is! Congratulations, Krisalin!

15 July 2010

Haiti is not like what you see on the news

Hello world,
just a few thoughts about my time so far in Haiti....

1. So I'm staying in the Clay's house, which is super nice and way bigger than expected. Like many developing countries, there is really no middle class in Haiti, so it's either tents or huge house as the housing options... It's nice because there are beds and fans and an ice maker and stuff, but it kind of stinks, too, because it just perpetuates the idea that all Americans are rich and the Santa Claus mentality where white people will give you whatever you want. The Clays do their best to combat that idea, but with so much need all around, it's really hard.

2. It's really very hot here... K and I can't decide if it's hotter than Mexico was, because we get to be inside a lot more here, but during the afternoon, it's definitely 90s-100s. Oy. But-- we have lots of fans and water inside, so it's not so bad.

3. We went to a tent city today to visit some of Kelsey's friends from the beading program, and i think I finally realized I am in Haiti. Port Au Prince is kind of deceiving, because it looks just like any poor city, just with extra rubble to get around... but words cannot describe how hot and stuffy and miserable it would be to spend day in and day out in one of those tents with seriously no end in sight. And since 90% of the country is unemployed, it's not like they really have anywhere to go during the day to remove them from the tents... However, all that being said, it is not like what you see on the news. There isn't death around every corner, or angry people pillaging or burning things. It's hot and are people poor, but it's not nearly as dramatic as I thought it would be.

Personallly, I don't even know what the best way to help would be, because just sending aid and money makes the country even more dependent upon other countries and doesn't really work to fix the long-term and deep-seeded problems in the country... But people are seriously dying in these conditions. We had a super long conversation with Corrigan (he and wife run the ApParent Project) about what "missons" are/ should be/ how to help in a sustainable and dignity-fostering way. So so interesting... It's really been giving me a different perspective on short-term mission trips, and ways to do them more effectively...

Anywho... I think we have water back on up here, so I'm going to go--
Thanks for following along and praying for me, world!
Bendiciones, juli

12 July 2010

Haiti Tomorrow!?

Well world, tomorrow morning I leave for Haiti!
This may come as a bit of a surprise to some of you, because the trip only came together in the past several weeks as the Lord has pieced together so so many things to pave my way... so I’m super excited to see what's in store for me there!
I’ll be staying with the Clays and the ApParent project, who I know through my good friend Kelsey Little (that I met in Mexico 2 summers ago). I’ll be there until the 21st, helping with the fair trade beading program that Kelsey started last summer… and sort of just trying to be helpful and to experience Haiti.

Thanks for your prayers! Hopefully I'll be able to update while I'm there!

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ... And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
- Galatians 6:2, 9