Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting Close to Departure

Well some of my growing panic was calmed today. I have been really concerned, maybe overly concerned, that we don't have our "lesson plan" ready for the Haiti trip and there are only 17 days left before we go. But today Susan and I had a wonderful meeting with Annie, our new best friend in Oakhurst, who is a curriculum coordinator for Madera County. Annie shared with us her experience as a mother, a teacher and a curriculum coordinator. After just an hour or so with Annie my panic was fading and a developing plan of how to teach 150 Haitian kids was starting to emerge. We came up with a strategy to divide the students into smaller groups that will rotate through a number of "learning stations". Each station will have a different focus. There will be a music station teaching songs, an English language station, a P.E. station, etc. Each station will be color coded with a matching flag that the student will design using that station's color. This will be so cool! The kids will be outside being active at times followed by indoor lessons. From our experience last year we realized we needed to get the kids outside more often. Hopefully we can burn up some of their apparently endless energy. As has been the case before our appreciation for educators continues to grow. What special people teachers are. Panic fading, excitement growing.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Los Angeles "Kick-Off Event"

Susan and I wanted to publicly thank daughter Lauren, friends Art Becerra and Beth Andrus for all their hard work on our Haiti fundraiser in Los Angeles last weekend. The Be the Power of One "Kick-Off" event was amazing! Everyone work so hard to bring it all together. The food was fabulous, Art mixed some great cocktails and we raised more than $900 for our Haiti school projects. On top of this, there was a whole table of school and health supplies that were donated. We are very close to having the funds needed for our well and new textbooks. It was a huge success and we really appreciate Alfred opening his home for the afternoon. Thanks to everyone that made this event work and all those who donated. The dollars and supplies will go a long way in Haiti. Let's do it again......

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Busy Sunday in Oakhurst

Susan and I spoke today at two services at our local Methodist Church. What a great group of folks! We shared our Haiti experience and pictures with the congregation. Everyone seemed very interested and they donated some school supplies, money towards the well and a $25 gift certificate to Toys R Us. Between services we enjoyed answering questions and snacking on some Haitian treats that they baked up. Next week we will be in Los Angeles for our "kick off" reception for Be the Power of One. We are expecting about 30 people and we'll share info about our efforts in Pignon. Susan believes that we will soon have enough money for the drilling of the well so we are hoping to finalize drilling plans with Haiti Outreach in August. Both of us would like to be in Pignon when the well is drilled and it will be nice to return before another year passes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Planning and Packing

Planning: Thanks to all the efforts of our daughter Lauren, friends Beth Andrus and Art Becerra our July 16th event looks like it'll be a wonderful "kick off" for Be the Power of One in Los Angeles. This looks to be a gathering of about 30-40 folks that have already started to get together supplies for our August trip to Haiti. It'll also be a time for Susan and I to visit with new friends and to share some of our experiences. We are very excited and look forward to a fun evening.

Packing: Our plan this year is to take our school supplies, personal hygiene items and playground equipment in a number of suitcases that we can leave in Haiti when we return home. The baggage charges really add up and it is still cheaper than shipping from the west coast to Haiti. By carrying things with us we are also assured that they get to the planned destination. As we grow and deliver more and more items to Haiti we will have to figure out a better plan. One partial solution will be to purchase items in Florida and ship from Miami to Port-au-Prince. This seems to be relatively inexpensive and Pastor Carsel has reliable people to receive the shipment when it arrives in Haiti.

So far we have 80+ pounds of school supplies packed and ready to go. Next week we will pick up 400 fruit and vegetable seed packets that will be for family and community gardens in and around Pignon. Susan and I think we can get the rest packed in one large suitcase but are willing to add a fourth piece if needed. In the end we'll be carrying somewhere between 120 - 160 pounds. Our personal items for the week will be in our two backpacks. What an adventure!