Haiti Blog

Brent & Letitia Jefkins

Home: Part 1

We’ve been in Haiti for a couple weeks now, but before we get back into blogging about Haiti-life, I thought it would be fun to show rather than explain our relaxing month in Canada.

Enjoy!!

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In Toronto!

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Letitia in our friend’s wedding party. Can you spot her?

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That’s right, we rode one of those bad boys (and almost crashed many times)

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A little blurry, but got a chance to lead worship back at our home church, Bethel.

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We celebrated our 4th anniversary in Canada. We got to share a canvas and paint something to remember it by.

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Got to go cottaging! Man, that water was COLD!

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Letitia and Ellie!

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With my sister Amy. She’s coming to Haiti in December!

We’ve had a little bit of fun since being back too!

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We put an ex-pat soccer team together called “Blan Tonbe” or translated “White People Falling”. We lost 8-2.

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Also, check out this video. Our kids recently sung at our church’s evening service. Awesome right?

KIDS CHOIR YOUTUBE VIDEO

– Brent

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It’s Finally Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

It’s blowy, snowy and cold out there right now!

Yes, I may have been complaining too much about the temperature since being here, I’ll admit it! It’s not even the outside temperature that get’s me…it’s the inside! 21C (71F for all you Americans!) is colder than what I normally think is too cold in Haiti. My fingers and toes are in a constant state of frozen! But those of you who have known me in Canada, know I’m a big wimp when it comes to cold!!

Anyways, I’m loving the snow! It was snowless here until maybe 2 days ago, and now the big storm tonight should bring in all the snow I’ll need to feel in the Christmas spirit! Funny how I was more into singing Christmas songs in Haiti than I have been in Canada.

I was expecting to feel some little bit of culture shock coming back from Haiti, but I can honestly say I haven’t. We’ve even gone to the mall and the grocery store. Now, when I say culture shock I’m referring to the way I tend to get all negative and mopey about the divide between the rich and the poor. I have had positive culture shock, like being amazed at the way the fruit and vegetables at the grocery store are so clean and organized, and while you are choosing any kind of fruit and veggie you can dream of, you aren’t stepping in streams of black muck or having people yell at you because they want you to buy from their stand! What a nice place! I could spend all day there!!

Perhaps I will feel some negative things before we leave, but right now I seem to have stuck Haiti and Canada in completely separate boxes in my head, with no connecting wires or pathways. Like I love driving in Canada and I hate driving in Haiti. I stand out like a sore thumb in Haiti, and no one even looks at me in Canada (I’m referring to strangers…don’t worry, my friends look at me 🙂 ). It’s just the way it is.

I was worried before coming to Canada that this vacation would be more stressful than enjoyable because I would be so mopey about the injustices of the world, but it has been quite a pleasure! Maybe we’ve found a balance between being undeniably North American but concerned for the poor. We can’t deny where we come from…that would be a help to no one.

We are Canadian. We care about justice for the poor. Because of where we come from we have access to many wonderful things (food, shelter, health care, employment, material possessions that add to our quality of life) and the means to get them. We work with people who have very, very limited access to things (as mention above), with little means to get them. 

We desire to use the access and means we have to help those without to live better lives.

Who’s with me?

In the mean time, here’s a few cute pictures of our niece and nephew!

Baby Callum

Baby Callum

Ellie

Ellie

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Days 2-4 + Pictures

The drive to Las Galeras

Standing by the water in Samana City

Our little rental car!

Our room

We’ve enjoyed sleeping in! Our breakfasts consist of a plateful of fresh fruit. Brent and I trade the watermelon for the papaya…he hates papaya and I like watermelon the least of all the fruit!!

We swam in the pool and the ocean the first 2 days. Read a lot! We may have gotten hooked on The Hunger Games; I finished the 2nd book since arriving, and Brent just finished the 1st and is now on the second. (That’s right! For all of you who know Brent well…he has read 2 books and finished them in the last 2 weeks!) I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the 3rd one, but unfortunately it’s still in Haiti!!

On Wednesday we made a fun trip out to Playa Rincon, a beach that is close by that we have heard great things about. The drive out was interesting as many of the forks in the road had no signs on them to direct us, but thanks to my innate sense of direction (yes I’m tooting my own horn!), we didn’t take one wrong turn. The beach was big and the water a greeny blue colour with large hills on either side, holding it all in! Because the waves were so big, we spent time body surfing on them, then set up our hammocks, and read some more!!

Hammocking at Playa Rincon

It started to get stormy

The last two days have been cloudy and rainy. So not much swimming. But we have read a lot!! Took a trip into town yesterday to do a little work on the computer at a little restaurant! Today we took a walk! The last two days have been less eventful…thankfully Isaac passed us by with only a little wind and rain. The hotel did make us switch rooms for the night, just in case, since our room is the closest to the ocean!

I almost forgot to mention our little kayaking adventure to the island just off the coast from our hotel!

The classic ‘we’re in a boat’ shot!

View from the water

Anyways, we’re really hoping it’s nice enough tomorrow to bike to another nice local beach! We’ll see!

-Letitia

Our failed attempt at a timed shot!!

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The Trip to the Other Side

Day 1 of Vacation:

I wanted to share a few fun (or not so fun) things we’ve seen/experienced so far.

We woke up at 5am yesterday in order to be ready to leave by 6:30, to get to the border by 8 when it opens. We got there and a sweet boy, who is mute and only has one eye- who I’ve developed somewhat of a relationship with the last few times at the border- helped us get to the bus station. Due to lack of communication he brought us to a different bus station than we were expecting but decided to take it anyway since we had heard good things about it.

I almost forgot to mention the actual trek across the border was quite an ordeal. Being warned by some kids and our wonderful friend Manno, who graciously drove us to the border, that because it was market day to be extra careful with our bags. So we were on guard, pushing through the moving crowd who are going in both directions. Then out of nowhere a big cart loaded full of things that will be sold in Haiti is barreling past me…but with a few pieces of rebar sticking out the side (which you can’t see until the person in front of you dodges them at the last second). Needless to say, I didn’t dodge fast enough and got caught in the stomach with them while frantically pushing into the lady beside me so I don’t get knocked over, because the guy pulling the cart wasn’t planning on slowing down at all. It seemed more dramatic than the war-wounds show; I really only got a superficial scrape on my stomach.

Eventually we got dropped off in this random city to take a public transportation car to another city and then 2 more cars in 2 more towns to finally arrive at our rental car place. By this time it’s 2pm. We stopped for lunch in Cabarete, bought some groceries and were finally off to our destination…a 3 hour drive away.

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The scenery on the drive was BEAUTIFUL. The road we drove pretty much hugged the coast the entire way, weaving in and out of mountains (small ones) and little towns.

We shared some good laughs on the way. Like at the guy carrying a washing machine on the back of his motorcycle. Or when we were passing a vehicle and we wanted to let the guy know we were there so we honked and the sound that came out was the most pathetic honk we had ever heard. Meep meep. I guess we were expecting our car horn or something but we laughed for a long while about it and would randomly honk at people and cars after to laugh some more.

Anyways, we were happy to arrive. Our hotel is beautiful and calm, not a lot of people or commotion. Just peace and quiet; a good place to rest. There are also a lot of cool spots to explore. We’ll be sure to post pictures for you to enjoy soon enough.

In the meantime we would ask for your prayers about the tropical storm that it currently forecasted to come toward the island, we know God can redirect it!!

Letitia

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