Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe's Facebook cover picture

This is a cover page from PM Laurent Lamothe's Facebook page.  Click on the picture and you can visit his page. 

Under this picture are comments.  They range from complimentary to insulting. 
Usually I don't have much to say about things like this but as I looked at this picture, before I read the comments I had a few thoughts.
1. Wow looks pretty.
2. It looks like some houses in Europe. 
3. I wonder if the paint was paid for by the Haitian government.
4. My first thoughts about Haiti when I got there was that they needed a million gallons of paint to brighten up the place.  I was glad to see someone else had the same thought.
5. Bright colors lighten everyone's spirits. That's nice.
6. Some of my friends in Haiti live in houses that look just like this without paint. 
7. When the earthquake hit Haiti, many of these "kinds" of homes fell down the sides of the mountains.
8. My friend Annie could make these houses safe with her building methods.  How can I help her promote her building system?
9.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone that lived in these homes had running water and waste water treatment?
10. How much does one of these homes cost to buy?
11. Can I buy one of these homes?
12. Is it a positive move to brighten up the mountain side without addressing the safety issue?
13. No one must own a car because it looks to me like you must walk into that neighborhood.
14. Is this the same mountain side that I took a picture of?  And even if it wasn't doesn't it look much better than it use to?
Now that I've been in Haiti for three months.  I thought maybe I'd mention that the houses you see, brightly decorated with pretty colors... don't have glass in the windows or even walls on some of the sides of the buildings. 
“All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Checking in on my guys!

Blaise, today is his birthday.  October 16.  It's been my pleasure to watch him grow up.  As everyone can see by looking at him, he's all business.  Keep your eye on him! 

Benjili, is my singer.  He's been blessed with the voice of an angel. 

Elie, the guy who takes care of everything EXACTLY the way things should be taken care of.  He's the responsible guy, he's the one that no matter what you can count on him.  He's going to be a great Bio-Medical Technician.  I will guarantee what ever he fixes will be fixed right!

Jameson, or J as he's affectionately called by me (his American mama).  J is still in New York going to the university for computer science.  He's going to be very useful in Haiti when he returns home to use his skills. 

Mr. Felix I love you, you make me smile  :-)  You are SUCH a mystery. He's now in Brazil.  Now answer me this.... how does a young Haitian man get to Brazil?  I still don't know what he's doing there, but there he is! 

Jivenson. Another Bio-Medical technician with the faith of a mustard seed. If anyone is ever unsure if God is on your side, call Jivenson. 

Jhonny in the red.  Studying as usual!  He's a book worm and a Bio-Medical Technician also.  Jhonny was the first young Haitian to call me mom.  I have a really soft spot for him. 

Mackenzy.  Bio-Medical Technician.  Serious as a judge! Non-stop practicing his English skills. 

So now I've checked in on a couple of my guys. I miss them all so much. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Life is an amazing fun mystery!

Wow! Life is an amazing fun mystery! I must apologize that I've been quiet for a while. My life has been a whirlwind. There's so much to report. First to update information about my Bio-Medical students. They are now "making practice" in a REAL hospital. AND the hospital is trying to make arrangements to pay the students a stipend for their time as well. I'm thankful to God every single day for the good fortune He's bestowed on my kids in Haiti. All of us remember every day that it is all for the Glory of God. We do Gods work here on earth while we wait to be with Him someday. My Bio-Medical guys are doing great! The Rotary Club who provides the education for them deserves a million blessings.

My VickisVision English students have been suffering along without me. However, they've found an Angel that shows up miraculously and spends an hour with them. She's a SPECIAL savior! Her name is Amy and I love her for being there when I could not be. My mother-in-law has been very sick and since has moved her residence to Heaven. Soon I'll be able to be with my English students.

My dear friend Annie is also making magic happen in Haiti. I hope to join her soon.

Tony Sanneh, former World Cup Soccer Player, The Sanneh Foundation & HI (Haitian Initiative) & Annie along with others are working intimately with the children in Cite Soliel to bring Tony's Soccer Program that is a combination of athletic ability and academic commitment through consistent demonstration to both.

Tony selected (18) young men 13/14 years of ages 8 months ago and monitored them through the training months. The local Haitian coaches ensured they were accountable to practice and their schooling.

However,when the passports had been verified and obtained, the package for VISA Group Interview submitted, HI was denied Group Interview. There were no appointments available until September 2013.
Annie received telephone call around May 14th asking her to step in and assist to get US Embassy to know the importance for the Group Interviews for these (18) boys.

As she is not in politics and not familiar with any persons at US Embassy, this was a task that kept leading to a dead end with the US Embassy personnel telling her "No AnnaMarie, No AnnaMarie" this is not possible at this time.

Finally, she was provided dates for June 24,25,27,28 for all 18 children.

The VISA's received final approval on June 28th!!!!!

This approval had never been provided to a team of this young age before. Thus, these boys made history with these approvals. The approvals based in part on the personal plea of each individual child when interviewed by the Chief of the Department at the Embassy. This was not a 'slam dunk' as we call a per-arranged approval. The children really had to step up, present themselves capable, hygienics, studious and fit
to travel such a distance to Minnesota for such a prestigious tournament.

When these boys boarded the International Airlines jet, they again made history for Haiti's children to follow them. Future children will look back at the photo's of them and know they were the 1st one's to open the door (like looking back at dated photo's of the first country men & women to establish Haiti) for them to explore opportunities abroad and bring home to Haiti the experience.

Now having arrived to Minnesota, played the tournament games,winning each one,they are in fact the Tournament Champions!!!!

All the while, I've been busy getting my real estate license and selling houses to make money to go to Haiti. Just for a moment take a look at this page. http://pinterest.com/vickisvision/boards/

Scroll down to the board called "Homes I'd love to sell!" I've shown two of these homes, made an offer on one and working on the offer for the second. No one need ask if God has a hand in what's going on.

We still need benefactors to support our Bio-Medical students. Please, if there is something inside of you that says help... contact me. I promise to make your money stretch farther than any human on this earth.

Until we meet... I hope you are well and doing the things that make you happy!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thy will be done

God has decided we will not be going to South Dakota.  Oh I wonder what He has planned for me.  What ever it is, I'm ready!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Haiti? No... South Dakota

As any of my followers know, I've applied to Teach for America and I'm in the waiting period.  The face to face interview is in a few days.  But in the meantime, I've been teaching English to my kids in Haiti and reading everything I can about South Dakota.  So this is what I've found. Alcoholism affects 8 out of 10 families. The housing shortage is large. There are families that live for months in a tent.  An average of 17 people live in a house built for four. Approximately 49% of the households are without electricity. The houses are lacking stoves, refrigerators, beds and furniture. Water is stored in fifty gallon containers. Malnutrition is rampant. Families lack money to buy food. Tuberculosis, pneumonia, alcohol related accidents, and violence is common place.  Twelve year old children have been treated because of venereal diseases.  Early sexual activity leads to a high number of teen pregnancies. Diabetes is found in 45% of the adults. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Effects including abnormalities affects every aspect of the population.  Bi-polarity and manic depressive disorder lead to suicide. Teen suicide is the second leading cause of teen death rates.  The rate for abuse and neglect is double the US rate. 40% of all cases of child abuse are not reported. Sexual abuse causes changes in school performance, aggressiveness, depression and suicide attempts. 

I find it amazing how many similarities there are between the South Dakota kids and my Haiti kids.  What may be seen as a great disparity between the United States and Haiti is not so different in reality. It's time someone started shouting this from the hilltop. 

South Dakota? No.... Haiti

Monday, February 11, 2013

English Classes in Haiti

Yesterday, just when I was having what my Haiti sister and I call "Haiti withdrawals" one of the kids (maybe I should call him a young man) IM'd me on Facebook and told me that he and a group of friends got together, found a place that has a computer and Skype.  They asked if I would teach them on Monday.  So... that was today and we held class for a little over an hour.  It was great and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the class.  There were only five students but that was perfectly fine.  All the students were unknown to me before 3:00 today. So we spent just a few minutes exchanging our names then we got right to work.  My first class is always going over the a-b-c's and the sounds that the letters make.  Creole speakers have a tendency not to open their mouths when they talk and when the English words come out... often they sound like something close but not exactly.  This group of guys speak English "piti" meaning only a tiny bit.  But I'm always amazed because when I share my screen and type a word, they almost always can, what I'll call read... the words.  So to practice our sounds I typed the words, chip, ship, sheep.  We practiced and practiced until my ears could actually hear the differences between the words. Then I asked them to try using the words in a sentence.  Well, as it turns out they had no idea what any of those words meant. Now I'm smiling because sure, they can say those words but they have no idea what they are saying.  Time here for the teacher (read Vicki) to back up and do some checking.  Chip<<< what does that mean? OH no clue!  Chips, potato chip, you know fried potatoes?  No? Ok, well let's see..... (Many times in Haiti, things are called the name brand) so I tried "Frito lay" and the smiles came out!  So now we know chips!  Ship was easy to explain with a few hand movements and the word water, and sheep was easy enough it's mouton. The class ended about an hour and a few minutes later with promises to see each other again on Friday at 3:00 (central time)  

Now you might be wondering why I'm talking about this when my last couple of posts have been about Teach for America.  This is why.  My heart lives in Haiti but a side trip to South Dakota is what God has planned for me. (I think)  I've already begun a blog that will be used to connect the kids in Haiti to the kids in South Dakota. I think they will find they have more in common than either one of them will believe.  I've been spending hours researching the kids in South Dakota and found they have a low graduation rate and something like every 26 seconds a kid (across the US) drops out of school.  I think pairing up kids in Haiti with kids in South Dakota will be a good thing. The kids in Haiti would give anything to have the chance to go to school, maybe they can encourage the kids in SD to stay in school.  Just thinking about Skyping with the two classes at the same time makes me excited!  

If this doesn't work out with Teach for America I'm sure there is a reason. I'm trusting that God always knows that what ever He has planned for me, is ok with me. But until TFA tells me to pack my bag, you can find me teaching English to students at 4:00 (Haiti time) Look for us on Skype.  We'll conference you in! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Teach for America Update from Illinois

Sunday afternoon in Illinois in February, it's raining, cold and the wind is blowing but I'm still a happy camper.  Teach for America invited me to the face to face interview.  I just want to remind everyone and myself as well... God has a plan.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Teach for America

About two weeks ago it struck me that I should really check out the organization that my daughter-in-law told me about called Teach for America. So... I did and in less than an hour I had written my letter of interest and uploaded my resume. That was the end of that. I didn't look to see if there was a "timeline" when they would get back to me. I just figured I'd hear something.... OR NOT. Which is often the case when you apply for something online. You spend time filling out all of this information and chasing down everything they want and you never hear a word back from them. Therefore, I didn't expect to really hear back from them.

I'll share my letter of interest for anyone who may be interested. I didn't even address this letter to anyone....

I would like to join Teach for America because I want to make a difference in the lives of children who have the potential to reach for the stars if only someone will point them towards the sky. I’m a mature college graduate who had to wait until my youngest child went off to college before I could finally follow my hearts dream. As life would have it, I’ve been able to work with youth since 1980 without a degree. Along the way I had the opportunity to attend various symposiums, classes and seminars but it was the practical experience that offered the greatest chance for me to learn what the children need. I am a volunteer teacher for youth in Haiti. I teach English via Skype to a packed classroom for an hour or two on what is less than a perfect Internet service. By working with youth for many years and having the opportunity to meet the kids in Haiti, I’ve learned how to teach, as my kids call it, “a whole bunch of ways to get where you want to go.” My experience shows kids of all ages have a curiosity about all things in life. They seek out ways to understand what is going on around them almost every moment of the day. Sometimes those experiences turn out to be positive, sometimes they don’t but if they find an adult that is willing to share life’s explorations with them many times it’s not such a bumpy road.

You ask three simple questions like there are three simple answers. There are not. It’s more the willingness of the mentor to bind with the children and trudge down the path together. Success is the moment the child finally gets how to subtract. It’s the kid that’s said “dat” instead of “that” it’s the mom, dad, aunt or sister who comes into the parent teacher conference smiling instead of fearful. There are no magic wands. It’s more like a smile where there’s a frown, an “ok” when all the kid has heard is “no.” It’s trying the same thing over and over and over until finally the magic happens. It’s never giving up on ones dreams no matter the obstacles in the way. I finished my degree in Homeland Security because our children are at risk and I wanted to know how to prevent our children from becoming involved. My conclusion is education. Skills that provide kids with methods to reason, to contemplate, to act in positive ways, to continue to reach for their goal and adults who surround them with love and support. That’s why I want to work for Teach for America and specifically in South Dakota. I’m going to leave my life in Illinois, that’ I’ve spent 30 years building to help children that deserve the opportunity to build their life, just the way I have. We’ll see what God has in mind for me and the children I’m going to get to teach.

Then about a week later I get this letter.
Dear Vicki,Congratulations! I am pleased to invite you to continue in the Teach For America admissions process. We enjoyed reviewing your application and would like to learn more about you and your experiences through a phone interview. 

As you can imagine, I was pretty excited. I quickly signed up for my telephone interview and called the people that I wanted to ask to be my references. On Thursday January 24, 2013 promptly at EXACTLY 8:30 (the time I signed up for) the phone rang. I talked to a young woman named Whitney for about 30 minutes. It was a really fun interview and I feel pretty great about it.... no matter the outcome. 

Maybe I should explain that I told them that I wanted to teach in South Dakota. The Sicangu (Rosebud) and Oglala (Pine Ridge) Lakota are sovereign nations that are situated within South Dakota's Todd and Shannon Counties—two of the five poorest counties in the United States. 
Since the moment I hung up the phone I've been researching everything I can about the area. I'm excited. As I told them in my letter of interest... We'll see what God has in mind for me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Every day it's going to get better!

Click here>Every single day it's going to get better! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dedicated volunteer teacher!

Tony Saint Hubert is one of my students. He is now teaching at 1 & 2 Preparatory (Monde des Petits Genies) at Delmas in Port au Prince, Haiti.

Tony is a dedicated teacher who likes to chat with me about his class lessons and ways to engage children in the learning process.  

He is looking for a full time teaching position and more ways to volunteer.  If you would like to contact Tony, click on his link above or send me an email at vickisvision@gmail.com and I will forward it to him.