Thursday, February 24, 2011

Solar, Solar, Solar

All Nick has thought and talked about for the past several months is solar panels.  We came to COTP for two weeks last January and Nick learned that COTP might be interested in going this route.  For a few months before we moved down here, Nick casually began researching solar panels.  Maybe two months after moving here, with way more knowledge on COTP's electrical system, Nick wrote an official proposal for the board asking that we move in this direction.  We were all some what surprised and excited when we were approved to begin fundraising in order to purchase them.

For Nick this meant he needed to do way more research!  Solar panels have taken up a majority of his time over the past few months.  Any time I ask him what he's thinking, his response is in some way related to this project.  He is constantly thinking about where we should mount them, where we should order them from, when we should install them, and so many more logistical things that are way over my head!

Several times over the past few months, Nick has come up to me with a giant smile on his face stating things like, "I just got a quote from a new company for $1500 less AND they are better panels!" or "I just found someone to donate all the mounting brackets which will save us $2000."  And there were so many more great accomplishments he has made!  The budget for this project has changed so many times because Nick keeps making new contacts that some how end up saving us money!  Nick now has contacts all over the globe who can help us with solar!

It took a while to get started, but once it did all the money came in to completely fund this project!  Nick placed the order for the panels and all the accessories a few weeks ago and they arrived in Florida two days ago.  We now have a team of electricians there who will pack it all up and take it to the container to be shipped to Haiti.  That same team will be coming down to Haiti in April and will be installing them on top of our roof!  We have had one team here already, and will have another in March who are helping do all the prep work for this project.  The have/will be building a staircase to the roof, a room to store the inverters in, and digging trenches for all of the wiring!

Nick has spent countless hours working and communicating with this team of electricians going over ever detail of the project so that they are well prepared before they come down.  He has taken pictures from every angle of our compound to show them exactly what things look like and what we need.  He even drew them a few diagrams of the compound, which entertained me because Nick isn't the most artistic person in the world, but hey, they worked!

Everyone at COTP is so excited to see this project running as smoothly as it is.  We are all excited that this will save us a lot of money in the future as it only has a 3 year pay off period!  This means more money available for our babies rather than spent on diesel.  But more than anything, I'm excited to have my husband back!  I'm excited that I don't have to wake up at 2 in the morning and realize that he's not laying in bed next to me because he's sitting at the computer researching solar panels or sending out emails!  I'm excited that he won't be hanging out on the roof anymore calling company after company to get quotes!  Or spending hour after hour figuring out every detail of this project!  I'm excited that he will have one giant thing crossed off of his plate and will be able to spend more quality time with Eventz and I.  That is until the next project he decides to head up!

I am so proud of my Husband for all the hard work that he has put into this project and that he took a dream of so many people at COTP and worked his butt off to help it become a reality!  This is one thing that will help COTP become more self sustaining and is a huge step for us!

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped work on this project.  There were so many people and groups who did fundraisers or sent in money to help purchase our panels.  Several companies donated materials which helped the overall budget.  And once again thanks to all those who will help prep and install the panels!  Watching this project come together has been a blessing to see how God provides for us!  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Postponed Until Further Notice

For the past few days Eventz has been getting closer and closer to walking.  He can now hold on to chairs, boxes, or anything his height and push it all over the place, walking right along behind it.  He goes fast too!  The first time he did this I decided that I have no option but to postpone his birthday for, oh I don't know, maybe 10 years!!  I mean, I just became a Mom 4 months ago, I can't have a one year old yet.  And I definitely can't have a child who is walking.  I'm not ready for that!  My baby isn't much of a baby anymore and it makes me sad.

I'll be happy to continue packing him around, changing his diaper, and completely doting on him for a few more years if it means he stays a baby longer!  Nick is using this to his advantage.  The other day Eventz was poopy and I asked Nick to change him.  Nick replied with, "you know he's growing up fast and pretty soon he'll be potty trained.  I would hate to change him and take any of that joy away from you."

So just to make it clear, Eventz will not turn one in 8 days, he will have his first birthday in 10 years!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Did we just take our son to a prostitute house?

Nick, Eventz, and I took a night off and went to the beach.  We needed some time away to spend as a family and with each other.  This is only the second night off we have had in the eight months we have lived here and was the first time we have ever gone anywhere or done anything with just the three of us.  We have never had time away just to spend as a family!  This trip was planned for a few weeks in advance, and I was bound and determined to make it happen no matter what.  However, if you have been reading our blog for a while, you know that nothing ever goes flawless when it comes to Nick and I doing stuff.  Everything is always an adventure, so of course this trip would be too.

I woke up early Tuesday morning with a bout of what many missionaries call Haitian Happiness, or diarrhea, something all to common here.  Nick suggested we post pone the trip, but I knew if that happened we wouldn't have the opportunity to go again for several months.  Amy gave me a double dose of Ampicilin to try and stop me up, and I took an extra roll of toilet paper incase I had to pull over on the side of the road.  Luckily that wasn't needed, but the tp did come in handy as our hotel didn't have any.

About 20 mins away from COTP, Nick realized he forgot to grab the money pouch.  He called Rikerns who was in town buying metal and told him to wait for us because we were going to come steal all of his extra money.  After raiding Rikerns, we THOUGHT we had more than enough money for the two days.

We got to the port of Labadee and took a water taxi to get to Norms Place, the hotel we wanted to stay at, because it's only accessible by boat.  We thought the price was $40 US per night, but when we got there we realized it was $40 US per person per night, plus food which was $12 a plate.  We didn't think we had enough money and even if we did, didn't want to spend that much.  We decided to get back on the taxi and head over to another hotel on the other side of the cove.

I won't name this hotel for fear that someone will stumble across my blog who has a connection with it.  Anyways we pull up to this beach and are originally told by one of the head guys that it will be $30 per night per person, a small savings, but we decided to take it.  The place had huge speakers and was blaring some of the most inappropriate music I have ever heard.  I told Nick I was glad Eventz couldn't speak yet cause I didn't want him repeating what he heard.

While we waited for our room we received some really weird looks.  Nick noticed these three women standing behind us and mentioned that they looked like prostitutes, I agreed.  The main guy we had talked to earlier came back and told us that he actually didn't know what the cost of a room was per night but after asking it would only be $35 per night total, a huge savings!  We both kind of wondered why someone who worked there wouldn't know the nightly cost of a room, but we joked that maybe the rooms go at an hourly rate instead.

He lead us to our room which was one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen.  Parts of the wall weren't painted, there was plywood over the window, the toilet seat was on the ground next to it, and the shower leaked so bad that there was a full 5 gallon bucket underneath it to catch the water in.  As I walked in, I wondered how clean the sheets were and if this was a place I should feel comfortable letting my son crawl on the ground.

The guy informed us that after the cruise (this port has a giant cruise ship that comes in a few days a week.  Who would want to go to Haiti on a cruise?) left that evening all the crew members were going to come and things would get kind of rowdy.  We didn't know that it could get much louder than it already was.  We both decided that things couldn't get that bad so we decided to stay.

As we were walking towards the beach, I went inside the "hotel lobby," which we were kept out of before, to ask a question.  When I went in there, I was surprised to see about 10-15 more women who all looked like prostitutes.  As we walked out of the room I asked Nick if we had just brought our one year old son to a prostitute house.  We should win parents of the year!!

We went to the beach and hung out for a few hours, not really giving our hotel much thought.  Then Eventz was ready for a bottle and one of us had to go back to make it.  After discussing it for a while, we both agreed that it probably wasn't a good idea to split up and that we should pack up all of our stuff and go back together to make the bottle.  As we were packing up, Nick suggested that we go back to Norms because it would be worth the extra money to know that we would actually get some sleep and not be supporting a place like this!

So we cleaned up our room, gave them $7.50 for the time we were in there, hopped back on a water taxi and headed to a much quieter more relaxing Norms, where we were the only guests and didn't have to worry about what was going on in the room next to us.

I walked out to the court yard and saw Nick swinging in the hammock with Eventz sound asleep on his chest.  The three of us swang in that hammock for several hours just relaxing.  It was so great to get a way and spend time together.  It was very much needed.

Eventz was adorable at the beach earlier that day.  He is an absolute water baby and could be in it all day long if we let him!  He crawled right down to the water and didn't even stop once it got to his face; he was like a little submarine and just kept going.  We had to stay right by him to ensure he wouldn't drown because he has no fear of it at all.  He was in the water the entire time we were at the beach.

The next morning was incredibly rainy so we decided to skip the beach.  Plus with the extra cost of the room, and all the trips between hotels, we didn't have enough money to take a taxi to the beach for the day.  We ended up coming home early with approximately $2.50 to spare.

Even with all the adventure, we still greatly enjoyed our time off!  It's great to be able to spend some time alone with our son who is growing up so fast!  I can't believe he will be one in ten days!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Proud to be Haitian

Eventz has a small Haitian flag that he loves to play with.  He will pick it up, and sit in one spot for several minutes, waving his flag back and forth, always with a big smile on his face!!  He loves it and thinks its a fun game!!  Of course, I took pictures of it...

Nick and I bought Eventz one birthday present, but we couldn't wait to give it to him, so we gave in and he got it a few nights ago.  He was so cute with it!

Mommy's Present!!

He spent more time on top of the box then he did next to it!

Everybody's got to eat their wrapping paper!

Even More fun when the paper is off!

And better yet when it's out of the box.  He wont play with any other toy.  It slides all over the place because of our tile floors, but he walks right along behind it!  It's so good for him to stand and learn to walk like that!


We get to do birthday all over again with presents from the grandparents!!  This was just practice!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh Politics!!

After several months, the announcement has been made about who the top two candidates will be for the Presidential Election here in Haiti.  Back in November the first round was held and found that Mirlande Manigat was in first place, Jude Celestin in second, and Michel Joseph Martelly in third, causing him to be out of the election.  There was a lot of debate, and riots, because many people felt that Celestin only came in second because of fraud.  After a lot of research into it, they found out that he did in fact have a lot of fraudulent votes.  The international community recommended that he not be allowed to run in the second round; but Preval (our current president) announced that this was just a recommendation and not a requirement, even though he is the one who asked them to check into it.  Preval wants Celestin to become the president because he is afraid that he will be exiled.  Celestin has since backed out of the race, and now we will wait and see who wins from the other two candidates.  The second vote will be held on March 20th, another month and a half from now.
On Monday there were riots all over Haiti because people want Preval out of office now.  Heres the problem.  The president is allowed to govern for 5 years, and Preval’s term “should” have been up the beginning of February.  However, when Preval was elected, there was some hold ups (imagine that) and he wasn’t actually sworn into office until early May.  Preval has announced that he will remain in office until exactly five years since then.  This angers many Haitians because in their eyes he has sat by idolly over the past year and they are ready for a change.  
However, it’s still going to be a while before the new president is decided and sworn into office, so until that time, some one needs to be here to run the place!!
And to make things even more exciting, exiled ex-dictators and presidents seem to be flocking back into Haiti.  I have discussed in past posts about Baby Doc returning recently.  Aristide, who was elected president, exiled, allowed back into the country, reelected president, and then once again re exiled, recently received his passport and has announced that he is also returning!!  YAY!!!  No one knows when he is going to come, but people seem to be positive he will!  This makes people both happy and nervous!!  Some people are saying that he will try to run for president during the next election five years from now.  Others say that he, like Baby Doc will be will be charged for crimes he committed (human rights crimes) when he returns.
DRAMA!!  This country is full of drama!  I can’t even keep up with it all.  I would assume that you all know way more about all of this than I do since you have news, radio, and high speed internet, but I try to repost the little that I hear.
Basically we are always prepared for riots to breakout these days, never knowing when they will come.  We heard that there was supposed to be five days of rioting this week, however there was only a little on Monday Morning and then it ended.  Who knows!  Riots seem to be so common here that most people don’t even care.  It is a some what normal conversation to ask if there are riots in town; it’s almost like asking “how was traffic today,” or “how’s your weather there.”  Oh Haiti I don’t know that I will ever understand!!
Once again read On the Goat Path for more info on all of this!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 Months go by fast...

Wow... it’s been three months since I uploaded pictures on to our picture blog.  I know what you’re thinking.
She’s gotten lazy and decided not to do that anymore...
She’s too busy and doesn’t have time....
She has slow internet and it never works half the time anyway...
Yep, all those are right.  Our internet doesn’t like to work, and even when it does, it’s slow.  I have been busy, and also a little lazy when it comes to this.  However, the real reason is because I legitimately couldn’t upload any for a while.  I tried a few times but the internet always froze and quit working.  Then, shutterfly wouldn’t let me log in under my account.  Finally this week I logged in just as you all do and was able to switch over to my account from there.
So there you have it, my list of excuses as to why I haven’t kept you all updated as much as I have promised.
I tried to make up for it by putting a ton of pictures up!  I think there are nearly 500 new ones, so enjoy!!
I’ll try to do my best to keep up on this better, both for you and for myself!!  It took me a few days to upload and label all of these, it’s much easier to do it a little at a time!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weather Report

I'm sure you have all been dying to know what our weather has been like since my last post about being so cold a month or so ago.  Well, it appears that our winter is over! It has been consistently in the 80's for a while and starting to get humid again.  I think around Octoberish Nick and I had both convinced ourselves that we were basically Natives because we were so used to the weather that we never sweat anymore.  Now we are beginning to realize that we weren't sweating for these past few months because it wasn't as hot, not because we had miraculously gotten used to the climate.

It's only February and we are already sweating even when we aren't working that hard.  Makes us not to excited for summer!!  We have gone from two blankets on our bed and sweatshirts, to normal pajamas and one blanket.  I know it won't be much longer until we are down to just a sheet and miserably hot with that!!

So, cute Eventz story while I'm on here!  Today Eventz was playing with his box of lego's and lost his balance and fell.  He didn't get hurt but it kind of scared him.  I was on the couch, and he crawled all the way over to me (like a big boy, not on his belly), pulled himself up using the couch, and acted like he wanted me to hold him.  This is the first time that he has ever come to me for comfort like that, but it helps show me that he is bonding with me!!  I love this little guy!!

He has been crawling on his knees all day!!  Such a big boy!!  Ok, off to play with him before he grows up anymore!!