Haiti 2017 Recap

Two years ago I visited Haiti on my first foreign mission trip.  To say the experience was life-changing would be an understatement.  To read up on our first visit, you can look through my archives and find the posts I wrote back then.

I won’t go as in depth as I did two years ago with this post, but I would love to give you all an idea of what we did, experienced, ate, and saw while we were in Haiti the first week of July.

 

DAY ONE

3:00AM: Wake up call came quick after a restless night of anxious and excited sleep.

3:45AM: Leave church to head to airport.

12:00PM:  Arrived in Miami and learned our flight to Haiti was delayed.

6:30PM:  Finally make it to Haiti, get in the two rented vans, and head to Petit Goave.

7:30PM:  After about an hour of sitting in traffic, we all start to get pretty hungry.

9:00PM:  2.5 hours we finally arrive to the hotel just as a storm hits, unload our bags, and                 have  a traditional Haitian meal of chicken, black rice, mashed potatoes,           vegetables, fried plantains, and pikles (looks like coleslaw, but “burn your tastebuds off” spicy).

 

DAY TWO

Saturday morning we woke up, had breakfast of made to order omelettes, bread, peanut butter, coffee, and that oh so delicious Haitian mango.

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After breakfast we went to Pastor Phenix Bail’s school to prepare for the week of Bible School and painting that would start on Monday morning.

We scraped the walls of the school, power washed them, and scrubbed all of the dirt so that we could begin painting first thing Monday.  We also organized everything for a Bible School that would include crafts, Bible Story, Rec, and Music.  We were gonna go all out with this Bible School.

Around 12:00PM we got pretty hungry, yet there was no sign of food.  I knew something was up when some intense discussion between Ernie and some interpreters was going on near his home. Turns out there was some miscommunication about food for Saturday, so hot dogs, tuna salad, PB&J, cookies, and anything else you could find in the kitchen was what was on the menu.  We were so hungry that we didn’t even care.

When we arrived back at the hotel, we discovered something that we would end up encountering nearly every afternoon.  No water, no AC, and on/off power.  It was so hot and humid out, that showering before dinner seemed pointless, plus without the water it was impossible, so I ended up taking a nap by the pool in the shade.

Around 6:00 we had dinner.  Options for dinner each day would include Lobster, Chicken, 2 types of Fish, Pork, Goat, and Beef.  I ended up trying everything at least once except for the Pork (probably because I couldn’t stop picturing the bear-sized pig we saw in Port Au Prince on the side of the road).  The always included plantains and some sort of rice, often with vegetables or mashed potatoes.  Here is the fish and lobster.

Pastor Bail joined us for dinner and thanked us for coming and for the work we were about to set out to do. Pastor Bail’s school is one that our church has been helping support since the first time we visited it two years ago.  Tonight Brother Wesley gave him another donation to help with the costs to run his school, and he was extremely grateful.

A storm hit as we began to wind down for the night.  We also heard some gun shots and had two Haitian men trying to get into our room.  Needless to say, I didn’t sleep two well on the second night.

DAY THREE

Breakfast bright and early and then it was off to church at Pastor Bail’s “stick church”.  It was hot, it was humid, and it was 3 hours long, but it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.  You could tell the locals were feeling very special with the “blancs” in attendance.  Ladies and girls sang and danced 4 times throughout the service, Brother Wesley preached with the help of Charlie(one of our translators/drivers from our first visit to Haiti) translating, and we partook in the Lord’s Supper.  The thing that touched me the most was when the offering was taken up.  Nearly every member gave something.  These are people with close to nothing, but they come every Sunday dressed in their best, and give to the church.  Wow.

After church everyone wanted to come shake our hands and tell us God Bless You in creole.

When we got back to the hotel, they were having a Kindergarten graduation with about 100 graduates.  You could definitely tell these were more of the “wealthier” Haitians in attendance.

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We decided to have lunch on the waterside patio at the hotel, and then went to Pastor Enoch’s orphanage up on a mountain.  Susan Marx was able to see one of her little girls that she adopted two years ago, and I got to experience some preteen boys telling me their name was a bad word in Creole just to hear me repeat it.  The view at Enoch’s is breathtaking, and the rebuilding of their facilities after total destruction during the earthquake in 2010 is coming along nicely.

We then went on to Haiti Arise.  A Canadian mission compound that included dorms, a tech school, and a woodworking shop.  In the fall, Ernie will begin to teach woodworking here and hopefully will be able to build his own shop at Pastor Bail’s school in the near future.  This will allow the school to not only support itself, but also give locals a skill in which they can earn an income and support their families.

Another nap by the pool, dinner, and 3.4 second shower before the water would surely turn off ended our day.  I don’t think I have every felt so accomplished after taking a shower.

DAYS 4-7

Monday-Friday we held VBS/painted in the mornings, had lunch, and then proceeded to paint in the afternoon.  VBS ended up being much more than we expected it to be, and I truly applaud those who worked it.  I was the lazy one who decided to only paint.  I definitely had the easier job of the two.  200 children who are undisciplined, do not know English, and have never seen a PE parachute vs. 8 Americans who don’t speak Creole and 4 translators…take a wild guess who won.

Pastor Bail’s wife and friends cooked us lunch each day.  The first day I think they definitely overestimated how much we would eat, but the presentation and effort put into this meal each day was amazing.  We had everything from Haitian potato salad, mushroom chicken, lasagna, pizza, goat, more chicken, macaroni, scalloped potatoes, cake, and much much more.  We all left lunch way too stuffed to do anything the rest of the day.  Some of us even took naps before heading back outside to paint. ūüėČ

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Also,  we hired 4 local painters…I’ll keep it short and just say that they DID WHATEVER THEY WANTED.  Most of our time was spent following behind them to fix what they just did.  Painting tape and paint roller scrapers are not something they seem to think they need.  In the end though, we got it done, and the school had a whole new coat of paint.

Did I mention while cleaning out of one of the classrooms in order to clean, we discovered a rat with 4 babies??  Thank you Haitian painters for your help with those.  We will give you that much.

As the week went on, although still exhausting for the workers, VBS began to go smoother and smoother, and you could tell the children were not only enjoying it tremendously, but they were also learning so much.IMG_3897

We spent July 4th working, wearing Old Navy flag shirts, and playing with the hotel puppy.

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My dad was able to get the solar panels working on Ernie’s roof on Thursday, giving him AC at night for the first time since he has lived in Petit Goave.  That night a man named Tony from Canada came to dinner and brought us coffee.  He rides a donkey up a mountain for hours upon hours to buy coffee off the growers at fair market price, then he roasts it, sells it to churches and individuals in the States and Canada, and uses all the proceeds to build and support schools back up on the mountains where he buys the beans.  The man is amazing and his story is even more complex and interesting than what I have just shared.  He blew my mind.

On our final day in Haiti, we finished up at the school with final touch up painting and the last day of VBS.  We ate lunch and then took a boat to a private beach to swim, relax, play some beach volleyball, and eat dinner.  When we arrived back at the hotel, a very emotional and thankful Mr. and Mrs. Bail came to thank us for our work and the impact we had on the community this week.  It was the perfect ending to a trip that ended up blessing us more than we could have imagined.

 

A Year Later

Time flies

Wow. ¬†I can’t believe that a year ago today I was saying goodbye to my Dad and walking into the airport to begin a life changing journey. ¬†Heading to Germany for two months on my own was one of the biggest leaps I have taken in my life thus far. ¬†I know I have spoken and written on the experience I had and the impact it had on me previously, but looking back a year later I can now see even more the immense effects¬†that journey had on my life.

First things first, I long to return every day. ¬†There is literally not a day that goes by that I don’t yearn for a new adventure and a return to Europe. ¬†I don’t even think yearn is a strong enough word to explain how I feel. ¬†I know for certain¬†that this feeling will never go away, but it is a feeling that I am 100% okay with. ¬†This feeling shows me how much that experience changed me in so many ways. ¬†My wanderlust grew 100 fold, and even though it is hard knowing that I do not have the luxury to just up and go whenever, I know my wanderlust will guide me to many adventures and experiences in the future.

Nowadays, as you know, I have started another adventure in a new place. ¬†I have been here at SFA almost 5 months now, which is almost just as hard to believe as the fact that it’s been a year since I left for Germany. ¬†However, it has been an amazing 5 months. ¬†It has had its ups and downs, I miss seeing my family and friends all the time, but I can truly say that I am settling in great and love it here. ¬†My job is the best one I have had, and I can’t see myself doing anything else at the moment. ¬†Every day I go to the office, yet I feel as if I don’t ever have to “work”. ¬†Isn’t that what 99% of us long for? ¬†“Find a job you love and you can truly say you never have to work a day in your life” (something like that). ¬†It is an amazing feeling to be in a position where I can personally vouch for that statement.

By the way, I have the best boss and coworkers in the world. ¬†There is a true balance of fun, family, and career here, and I couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere to be a part of. ¬†Season has officially begun and we just finished up our second week of official practice. ¬†Due to the fact that our girls workout all summer and fall, and we are able to “practice” during these times, the feeling is different when “official practice” starts at this level than it is at JUCO, D3, or D2, but it is still a very special feeling. ¬†Nothing like that “basketball season is upon us” feeling in the air!! ¬†Especially when the actual outside air feels like “basketball season”. ¬†In my opinion there is Summer, Spring, and Basketball Season.

I hope some of you have the chance to watch us play this year. ¬†I feel as if we have a good balance of returners and new faces that will lead us to big things. ¬†Our bench is deep and we are making huge strides in every area. ¬†I believe it is going to be a special and fun year for us all. ¬†Here in less than a month we will travel to South Dakota to open up the season. ¬†The University of South Dakota is a traditionally successful program and we will actually be playing the very first basketball game in their brand new state of the art arena. ¬†They sold the game out a month ago. ¬†Should be fun, and would be a HUGE win and start to the season if we go up there and handle business. ¬†Once we get rolling with playing, I will make sure to keep you all updated with how things are going both on social media and through my blog. ¬†Also, if you have any questions on games, etc. feel free to contact me through email (scottke@sfasu.edu) or any of my social media outlets. ¬†I’d be glad to chat!

Well, that is it for now.  I hope you all are enjoying this beautiful weather, getting outside, being active, and getting pumped for basketball season!!  Thanks as always for reading!!

Love,

Kayla

 

 

2015: A Year of Growth

I know I am a few days late, but I have finally gotten around to writing a post about the past year. ¬†This won’t be in chronological order, rather in going through Kayla’s mind at the moment order, so bare with me.

2015 was one for the books, no doubt about it.  So many unforgettable experiences, first times, and bucket list checks.  A lot of disappointment and confusion led to a lot of growth, wisdom, and ultimately positive times.

To start:

I had an amazing season coaching at Cameron University.  We broke school records and set standards for future teams to come.  We reached the NCAA National Tournament as well, and the entire season was an experience I will be forever grateful for.

In June, I was able to return to the place I spent the first year or so of my life, Seattle, and had the opportunity to run my first half marathon there.  I was also able to venture to Canada during this time and see the USA Women play in the World Cup that they would eventually go on to win for the first time in 16 years.

In May, I had the chance to see our Nation’s capital with my dad.

I traveled to Haiti in July for my very first international mission trip and saw and felt things that I never could have prepared myself for.

I took a huge leap of faith and decided to take the year off from coaching and move to Germany all by myself for two months. ¬†I won’t go into detail in this post (check out my previous posts), but I will simply say it was absolutely life changing, and possibly a total turning point in my life.

I grew apart from some friends, and grew even closer to others.

I made new friends as well, and am finally in the same general area as my childhood friends again (something that has been so much fun so far).

I had my first experience of subbing at many different levels in the Azle ISD, and have been teetering with the idea of entering the high school coaching ranks after two years spent at the college level.

I read the entire Bible in a year for the first time in my life.

I got rejected for jobs that I thought were meant to be. ¬†Over and over again…

But most importantly, I learned to trust God in all of it.

I am currently training for another half marathon in March, doing some individual skills training in basketball, subbing, and helping out with the AHS basketball teams.  My mom and I are currently on day 3 of the Whole30.  It was has been semi-easy so far, but worse days are ahead of us I just know it.

I am also always planning that next adventure, of course. ¬†I’ve learned that I can’t stay put in one place for very long. ¬†There is too much out there to see. ¬†My hear and mind longs to venture out to places I’ve never been, whether it’s over oceans and continents, or in the beautiful State of Texas.

Travel and the experiences and growth that come with it are 110% worth the price.  Every.  Time.

I pray that as 2016 runs its course through my life that I continue to trust in God in both the good times and the bad times, for He is the one who holds my fate and sets my feet on the path HE has chosen for me to go down.

I pray for continued growth and that God gives me the words and wisdom to share more through my blog, and ultimately my life to those who need and those who want to hear it.

I hope you all have a blessed, prosperous, and joyful 2016!!

Germany: 12/11-12/2015 (Munich)

12/11/2015

We went to Neuschwanstein today.  It is a castle so extravagant and beautiful that Walt Disney modeled his castle after it.  

  
I had been here before, and it is one of the few things I vividly remember from that first trip I took to Germany.  It is about a 2 hour train ride down to the Southern German town of F√ľssen near the Austrian border.  We then caught a bus to the small village at the base of the mountain that the castle sits on. We waited in line, got out tour ticket and time slot, then hiked up the mountain to the castle.  The views are so amazingly beautiful and make the hike more than worth it. 

   
    
 
   
   
Before catching the train back, we got some delicious d√∂ner to eat on the trip.  Exhausted, we just played some Phase 10 at the hostel bar and called it a night. 12/12

I woke up, ate breakfast, and did some more site seeing on my own this morning. I then went back and picked up Kalin to check out some more sited and show her some that I had already seen.  The plac was to meet up with Coach Hat this afternoon, but due to flight connections that were missed, and the usual airport shenanigans, we were not able to. 

We went to the Englischer Garden, a city park even bigger than Central Park, and saw the river surfers and Chinese Garden.  I tried eierpunsch. Not a fan. Lebkuchen though…I like lebkuchen. 

   
   

  
  
  

I then showed Kalin Old Town Hall and Viktualienmarkt, sited I saw yesterday morning in my exploring. 

   

   
  
We were hungry so it was time to hit up the world famous Hofbr√§uhaus.  The second we stepped into the place I knew why it was so popular. 

   
    

   
We shopped on our way back to the hostel for a bit.  I then headed back out to buy some souvenirs and ended up stumbling upon the most unique Christmas Market I have seen and probably will see.  It was a mix of 6th street, hippy art fest, and rave party.  

   
    

  
We leave late tomorrow morning to go to Cologne for the last leg of our trip and the end of my journey here in Germany.  I can’t believe I am only a few days from being back home!!

Germany: 12/09-10/2015 (Munich)

  
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We arrived in Munich this afternoon, got to our hostel, found out how to do laundry, and went to a nearby Brauhaus for dinner. 

  
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Visited the first concentration camp Dachau today.  The place is already eerie and gloomy, and the fog that covered the grounds just added to that atmosphere. 

   
   
The museum that was housed in what they called “The Maintenance Building” was full of information. You got to go through a reconstructed bunkhouse, as well as your where bunkhouses once stood. 

   
    
   
At the end there were some religious memorials, and you were able to tour the crematorium where they burned the dead. 

   
    
    
 
Although depressing, it was an amazing experience.  

This evening we visited 3 Christmas markets and got to see a little of what Munich has to offer. It’s a beautiful city. I had some good food and took in the atmosphere around me.

   
    
   I still have a long list of places I want to see before we leave Sunday.  Tomorrow will be a day trip to the castle, and Saturday we will meet up with Coach Hat in the afternoon.  Luckily many of the sites are not only close to one another, but also close to where we are staying, so we should be able to view most of them. 

Germany: 12/08/2015(Prague)

Really wasn’t much on the agenda for our last full day in Prague.  One thing was for certain though, we would eat at Cafe Savoy before we left.  So breakfast there this morning was a must.  Let me explain this place.  It is one of those Instagram worthy establishments.  One of the places that, if you’re a foodie like me who finds out where to eat the second you know you’re going to a certain town, you stalk for weeks anticipating your chance to finally dine there.  I’m talking a table full of food that make you look like Marie Antoinette or something. 

My mom and I are always seeking out new bakeries and breakfast places to try out, and Cafe Savoy along with Oddfellows in Seattle are two that I wish she could’ve been with me at. 

I ordered the Savoy Breakfast.  It started off with a basket of 4 kinds of various homemade breads along with French butter and homemade jam.  Next came a “bowl” of Savoy Cafe au Lait that had cinnamon and chocolate in it.  Then a plate containing Prague Ham, Emmental Cheese, a soft boiled egg, and a piece of their homemade nut bread came out.  All for about $7.  Kalin got the French Breakfast.  For around $12 she too got the basket of bread, a croissant, fresh squeezed orange juice, a cappuccino, a piece of extremely thick French toast with apple slices, Prague ham, hard boiled egg, and French fries of course.  Before we left I had to get an apple strudel to go.  Let’s just say we didn’t eat again until about 8 PM when we decided to be brave and try out the “Gold Chicken” restaurant next door to our apartment. 

   
    
    
    
   
After our feast, we went and found the John Lennon wall, searched through some book stores, went and saw a huge national memorial atop a hill in a large park overlooking the city, then chilled until heading to a movie theatre nearby for cheap drinks and a $4 showing of Monty Python.  

   
    
    
   
Tomorrow we take a bus to Munich.  I loved Prague, but after spending so much time in Germany, I’m excited to go back. Our trip is officially half way over. 

Germany: 12/07/2015 (Prague)

The plan for today was to meet up at a certain spot at 10:30 to start a guided walking tour.  We got there, waited and waited, no guide.  So we said screw it and went ahead and walked toward Old Town Square.  As we arrived at the Astronomical Clock we saw a TON of yours getting ready to start. 

  
We decided to join in on a free English tour led by a guy from Cali who visited Prague 11 years ago, met a girl, returned two years later, got married, had kids, and has lived here ever since.  I’m so glad we did it.  It lasted about 2.5 hours and he showed us sights we had seen, and other we hadn’t.  

    
    
    
   
Most importantly, he explained each site in extreme detail, told stories and Czech myths, and pointed out aspects of the buildings that I would have never noticed n my own.  The Gothic Tyn Church has two towers and dominated the Prague Skyline.  One tower is actually larger than the other.  They are named “Adam and Eve”, the larger being Adam.  

  
Just one of the cool facts that I would’ve missed out on had we not gone on the tour.  After the tour we headed towards the Charles Bridge, stopping on the way for some hot wine and Trdelnik. 

   
   
We then went to a Czech Comic store before heading to grab some pizza for dinner.  I’m quite ready to get back to my normal diet!!