Welcome to Tattle Tales from GLA!
We have decided to follow our very popular And Life In Haiti Goes On, and Kidz Korner blogs with a new addition! Instead of having the volunteers post stories, which was not working well lately, we decided to give one person the responsibility to blog every day on happenings at GLA and on the children. So, in this blog, Melissa will share stories and news about the children and happenings at GLA.
Bonjou from the children at GLA!
Posted: 10 January 2010 by Jill (Portland, Oregon, USA)
I feel completely blessed to have been able to volunteer at GLA. It was one of the best experiences in my life and I walked away feeling like I was able to be used in so many ways (given it was Christmas time and there werent a lot of helping hands around ) The volunteer adventure was immeasurable and it was great getting to better know GLA staff, along with the other visitors/volunteers. I am not sure I can find the right words to describe how I feel, but I was truly blessed by my 2 weeks at GLA. This was one of the BEST Christmass I have ever had the true meaning of Christmas was all around. If you are reading this and have the ability to support GLA, please do whatever you can, as they are the real deal
I kept a journal of my time in Haiti and these are some of those posts below:
This morning we all PACKED into the SUV (9 of us in a car that fits 7 comfortably) to head to Joel and Yvonne Trimble's house (http://www.haitiforchrist.net/) for church. It felt like we were our own Tap-Tap (Haitian bus.) And the ride was bumpy, so I think I came out of that with a few bruises! Church was good - it was a very wonderful message about trusting God to take you to the place you need to be in life. We will go back to Trimble's house for Christmas, both a candlelight service and dinner (which I hear is going to be quite a feast!) Then tonight, I had the chance to help out the kitchen staff; it was so much fun getting to know them, as they tried to teach us some Creole words and their names. We learned where all the dishes go and felt good about helping them out, as they work so hard all day long.
What a wonderful day... and just when I think I am going to run out of energy - something happens to "fill my tank!" J These little babies keep you busy, that is for certain, but they are all very precious. Some are ready to play and are into everything, while others are content just to stay in your arms. I have 8 beautiful kids and each one is so unique! I am feeling blessed to be able to be a part of their lives, even if for a short 2-weeks.
I need to describe Bas the volunteer: Bas is an amazingly hard-working 10-week volunteer, and he is doing wonderful work at GLA! He is crazy working all hours of the day and jus taking initiative. Bas just digs in and figures it out! The GLA staff all love him; he is such a pleasant person.
I was prepared to spend 8 hours with my babies... but before getting started this morning, the volunteers were asked if we would be able to help put together gift bags for the nannies for Christmas. We were all totally up for the job! We spent our first 4 hours with our kids and then the afternoon putting together the gifts. It was so much fun being a part of the gift prep. Over the past few months many people have brought gift items for the nannies, so we had bags and bags of various items: scarf's, soaps, lotions, jewelry, toiletries, etc... We equally distributed the items in bags (55 in all!) It was a lot of fun - we sort of had an assembly line going.
Anyone who says volunteer work is easy at GLA is nuts! Today was crazy, exciting, unexpected, overwhelming and completely FULFILLING. You just never know what the day will hold. And given it is Christmas time AND we had a storm, it all made for one interesting day. We had a pretty crazy storm last night; it went on all night, so needless to say I didn't sleep all that well. Thunder that lasts 30 seconds, lightning bolts and crazy wind! The tarps were blowing all over and rain beating on the roof... I have to say, I was a bit uneasy about all the crazy noises. So the volunteers headed up to the balcony and we were in shock at the mess it left us. The tarp was blown off, sun shades gone, toys everywhere and water was 3-4 inches deep. What a mess. We did our best to put things away, but the rain and wind continued until late afternoon, so we had to wait until later to finish our work.
Christmas with the Trimbles: calling it a "feast" was an understatement. I think all of us consumed ~5 times what we should have! I think we all left feeling like we should walk home! There was turkey, lasagna, ham, stuffing, mashes potatoes, corn soufflé, broccoli, sweet potatoes, gravy and cranberries! And if that wasn't enough... there was an assortment of cookies, pecan pie, pumpkin pie and real egg nog. Where are those Tums?! And tomorrow we understand there will be a traditional Haitian breakfast, made up of egg quiche, sausage and Christmas bread! After dinner we had a candlelight service where we read from the Bible, sang Christmas songs and then just talked and shared stories for a couple of hours. It was comfortable and the Trimble's house is quite lovely... they were great hosts and we feel honored to have been a part of the evening. Okay... I am officially tired out and must go to bed... I can't wait to see the faces of the employees when they get their gifts from Dixie tomorrow! Such a wonderful Christmas for them all.
This whole day has been a big blur... thought things would be sort of quiet this afternoon, after our busy morning, but it actually got crazier. I had no idea that ALL of the staff were being served dinner as well. We started by moving gift bags back to the house (keep in mind they weigh about 25 lbs a piece!) and then we had to move tables and chairs up to the balcony for the 17 of us to eat. As the food started to come in - I was amazed! The meals just keeping getting better! At about 5pm, all of the Toddler House nannies showed up dressed to kill! J It was so much fun to see them in their dresses and make-up, knowing how special this occasion was for them! Dinner was fabulous and we enjoyed our visit/eating on the balcony. It was a beautiful evening - hard to believe we had a tropical storm the other night. And then? We did two rounds of playing Santa, giving out little gifts and candy. The nannies LOVED it and ended up singing Jingle Bells to the volunteers After all the ruckus & festivities were over... I took in a deep breath and said "this was one of the best Christmas's I have ever had." I had worked my tail off - but had some awesome opportunities to give back and I wouldn't have changed a thing! I thank God for this day - and what it means to me.
Just another fabulous day in Haiti A GLA donor couple from NY stopped by today and they were able to help us with some baby-watching. So we showed them the ropes and enjoyed visiting. Dixie then came up and asked me if I could film some clips of 6 babies for their referral! I was totally excited to do that, so I spent the next 1.5 hours getting babies ready and filming them walking, smiling, crawling and such. It's exciting to think they will get proposed very soon! I also found out I would be able to help with the kids who had Christmas/birthday gifts to open. We spent the whole afternoon getting kids changed, dressed up, and giving them a hand opening their gifts, while GLA Staff took photos. It was a special way to spend the afternoon!
I spent the morning with my wonderful babies and then was asked if I wanted to go up to the Toddler House with to help celebrate Christmas (they did their celebration today with GLA Staff now back.) OF COURSE I DID! J So, it was a fabulous time watching the kids open their gifts... how cool! They all were called by name and given a gift (they all waited patiently with their gift bag until everyone had received one. And then they all opened them at once!) It was a precious memory that I won't ever forget.
My time here has flown by It was a nice trip down the mountain to the airport; sunny and people were gathered at the markets selling produce. Before I left GLA, I hugged some of the nannies and cook staff, but it was hard. It was a wonderful trip, and I am going to miss so many things. But my heart is full and I pray that God keeps a very special watch over GLA this is such an important organization.
Click on a photo to see a larger version.
Posted: 9 January 2010
Two of our volunteers in December, Amanda and Missy, wrote something for this page before they left at Christmas time. Because I was so busy, I did not get it posted until now. Forgive me, Amanda and Missy, for taking so long to post your thoughts about your experience at GLA! Blessings, dixie
Lying in the hammock under the stars, with one of God's Littlest Angels' babies in my arms is a feeling I will never forget! Each one of these angels is so unique and getting to know their personalities has been such a rewarding experience for me.
God has designed each one of them in His image and loves them as much as He loved His own Son! I got the opportunity to share that with them. In return, I got to see them grow physically, emotionally, and they allowed me to pour into them the love of Jesus!
Oh, the precious babies at GLA! They have definitly blessed me far greater than I could have ever imagined! Hanging out with all eight of my little angels up on the balcony has given me so many memories. Whether it was cuddling in the hammock at naptime, tickling their toes - just to hear their joyful giggles, or witnessing a baby's first steps! I will always remember seeing them blowing their first kiss, or simply just gazing into those big brown eyes of a child desperate to receive love and affection!
Thank you so much, GLA, for letting Jesus be that love!
(Click on each thumbnail photo to see an enlarged verson.)