Saturday, September 29, 2007

Still no internet

I am so sorry folks, but the internet is still not functioning at HFC. I spoke to the girls tonight and they said that they are waiting for Levy (the orphanage assistant director) to reconnect the cables. Once he does that, they will be able to use it on Saturdays with any adult supervisor, but since he is the only one who knows how to connect everything, they have to wait for him. I can't believe that with all the technological things I taught Stephanie I did not manage to teach her this! I will call Levy this week and put some pressure on him to get the internet hooked back up.

Martine said that the girls are all doing fine and there was plenty of laughter and yelling in the background to prove her point.

I forgot to tell them that I have a ticket for December. How pathetic is that?

Friday, September 28, 2007


I'm very new to this world of blogging, so when I got the email that I had been tagged, I didn't have a clue what it meant. I'm still not sure that I do. But I'll try my best. The game is to take your middle name letter by letter and tell something about yourself with each letter. Since this entire blog is devoted to my obsession with Haitian children, I thought this might be a good opportunity to let you know that I actually do have other interests and occupations in my life.

K - Kids' Church: Every Sunday, I teach Sunday school/Kids' Church to the 4/5th graders at my church. We have lots of fun using stories and goldfish crackers to learn about the Bible. I started working with KC 2 years ago and although my original group has moved up to 6th grade, I still get together with them every few weeks. They are my American kids.
A - Arras: the town where I lived in France when I was 16 years old. Through the Rotary International, I spent 11 months with host families in France, attending high school, and traveling Europe. It was during my time there that I became fluent in French and decided that I wanted to work in a poor, French-speaking country.
T - T: the name of the public transit system here in Boston. I hate the T so I avoid it whenever possible and ride my bike instead. I am a ruthless and reckless bike rider, and I take the fact that I am still alive as proof that God has plans for my life.
H - Haufman: the name of one of the cabins at Ponkapoag Camp, an Appalachian Mountain Club camp in the woods south of Boston where I have camped, lifeguarded, and run children's activities since I was 6 years old. It is the most beautiful and most peaceful place in the world.
L - Living quarters: I live in a gorgeous and enormous 2 bedroom apartment with my friend and classmate Jill. We like to cook together, take out the trash, study, go for walks in the neighborhood, and sit on our 2 porches.
E - Evangeline: my little sister who is 18 years old and a sophomore in college in Kentucky. Salim is my 24 year old brother who is getting his PhD in economics in Rochester, NY. And Barnabas, my 15 year old brother, is a sophomore in high school. We like to make lots of noise when we are together.
E - Engineer: my dad is a civil engineering professor at Northeastern University. He is the most patient and wise person I have ever met and he spoils me rotten. My mother is a stay-at-home mom; she homeschooled me and my siblings for years and she keeps our house running perfectly. She is the most organized, responsible, and "caring-behind-the-scenes" person I have ever met and she spoils me rotten too. I could never count the number of times that she has gone out and bought me something without me even asking, or the number of times that she has cooked a meal for me and my friends.
N - Nursing: I am a nursing student. When I'm not in classes or at the hospital with my professor, I am picking up shifts on a cardiac floor at Children's Hospital, giving my brother advice about his millions of sports injuries, or talking with a friend about catecholamines and NANDA diagnoses. I will graduate in 2008 and I have no idea what I will do after graduation. I know exactly what I want to do, but prudence says not to do it yet. We'll see what doors open.

So there you go. My name is Keziah Kathleen Furth but everybody calls me Kez because it rhymes with Pez and Pez is your favorite candy :)

Happy Bday, Merline Jean!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tuesday's phone call

I know some of you are waiting to hear about my phone call with the boys from Tuesday. I kept it brief because it is so darn expensive, but here's how it went:

Emmanuel answered with the usual background of Drisk screaming "Hello!" at me. We tried to talk, but the other boys had decided to copy Drisk and were also yelling and making tons of noise in the background. They all wanted to talk and at one point, Emmanuel said he was going to walk away from them so we could talk, but the noise stayed just as loud and Emmanuel yelled, "Kez, they're running after me!" Reginald had some message for me about something that he and I had talked about in August - I totally don't remember, but these kids have incredible memories and he probably could cite word for word our August conversation. Again, the noise was too much and he gave up with the "I'll tell you another time." I get that a lot from Emmanuel too. Peterson grabbed the phone and bellowed in English, "I love you!!!" and then proceeded to ask me in his very enthusiastic and Peterson way to please bring Spiderman 3 next time I come to Haiti. I promised I would. I can just imagine him getting off the phone and doing a Spiderman imitation all over the roof. I can imagine this because he and I have done it together quite a few times.

I got to talk to Duck and Jefthe very quickly, and then I got Bernadin. It was his birthday, so he got birthday wishes and kisses via the phone. He told me the best news I've heard from the orphanage in a month: THEY ARE PLAYING SOCCER AGAIN! The piles of rock and dirt have been removed and they can play every afternoon like they used to. Bernadin said that it still wasn't very good playing because there are so many rocks, but that he wears cleats so he is OK. Of course he would tell me that because we have a foot-thing going on: I have pulled more thorns out of his foot than any other child in my whole lifetime. And he has scolded me more often for cutting my feet than even my mother. I love him! And I told him so and learned a new bit of Creole: I always thought you had to answer "Mwen renmen ou anpil" with "Mwen renmen ou tou" because you can't put the "anpil" and the "tou" together. Well, Bernadin apparently thinks you can because he answered me very slowly and deliberately, like a grown-up talking to a little kid (which is sometimes the impression I get of how Bernadin thinks of me), with "Mwen renmen ou anpil tou." The girls on my December team are nervous about being harrassed by men in the neighborhood, but I just tell them about my bodyguard, Bernadin, who will keep them safe and sound. They laugh and say "That's cute," and then they look at me and realize how serious I am. Bernadin saved my skin in many situations and I know that he will do it again. Bonne fete, mon gardien de corps.

September birthdays

Here are the rest of the birthdays at HFC from the month of September. I promise I will be better about remembering birthdays (although I have to admit that it was a lot easier to remember when I had Mikerlange around to remind me!).


John Peter

Happy Birthday, my dear friends!!

Birthdays in Haiti, at least at HFC, are hardly noticed. The kids would get prayed for during evening devotions, and everyone gets a chance to say what they like about the birthday boy or girl and what he/she could improve, but otherwise, nothing. Birthdays are so minimized that when I tried to make a database with all the kids' birth dates, a lot of them did not know when theirs were or how old they were! I can understand the lack of celebration - they just don't have enough money to have a party or cake or anything for the kids. Well, I decided that couldn't continue while I was there. So during my stay, when the kids had their birthdays, I would give them stickers and bubble gum and a little birthday card, and then we would all sing for them. When I left in May, I handed out candy, stickers and cards to all the kids that were going to have birthdays after my departure.

The best part of our birthday tradition was the birthday spankings. The kids had never heard of giving birthday spankings but once they caught onto the idea, they loved it! They would all crowd around and count out loud while I gave the birthday kid his/her spankings. And of course, when it came time for my birthday, they ALL gave me 22 spankings. Whatever gentleness I had spanked them with was completely forgotten in their enthusiasm and I ended up with very sore buttocks.

The ironic thing about the lack of birthday attention was that, entirely of their own accord, the kids threw Kim an elaborate birthday party when she turned 23 in November. Then they realized that I was not going to be in Haiti for my August birthday, so they chose a day in April and threw me an even more elaborate party. I have told this story a million times, but I will tell a short version of it. Without my knowledge, the kids prepared 3 model runways/fashion shows, 4 songs, a rap, and several dances. They also did my hair and my make-up, gave me a pedicure and manicure, helped cook a birthday feast, decorated the downstairs courtyard, made me cards, and turned my bedroom into a starry sky scene. It was amazing, definitely one of my fondest memories of my time in Haiti and one of the reasons that I am so proud of those kids. I made a thank you card for the boys and one for the girls that said, "Thank you for the best birthday of my life!" The one in the girls' room lasted a month and the boys' one is still hanging in their living room. (In case you're wondering what's going on in that picture, as I was cutting my cake, someone counted one-two-three, and then all the girls tried to kiss me! Hence the shocked look on my face.)

Let the countdown begin!

It's official. I have an American Airlines ticket for December 15th to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bon Fet!!

A day late, but happy birthday wishes nonetheless toCharline


and Bernadin!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Excited or scared?

I am a loud-mouth. Everywhere I go, but especially in my nursing class at Northeastern University. It seems like I'm always the one answering questions, offering points of view, running study sessions, and asking the professor for favors on behalf of the whole class. At least once a week, I find myself in the front of the room addressing all 80 students. Needless to say, everyone knows me. So they all knew that I had been in Haiti, and when I got back, they all swarmed me, asking questions and talking about how cute my photos of the kids are. And within 2 weeks of classes starting, they were asking whether they could go to Haiti with me. I passed it off at first as typical college student enthusiasm that doesn't amount to anything, but they kept at me until I agreed. Today, I announced a potential trip for December and passed around a sign-up sheet, hoping for maybe 6 people.
25 people put their names on the list! 25!!! I was shocked, touched, and then a little guilty. I can't take 25 people to Haiti! Especially since I won't be there ahead of time to arrange things like beds, food, water, and transportation. So I discussed with my co-leader, Emily, and we have decided to chop it down to 10 students. The game-plan is to go down after our finals on the 13th and stay until the 23rd. We will spend the first half of the trip at a hospital or clinic, either Mother Theresa's hospital on Delmas 31 or the children's tuberculosis hospital on Delmas 40, and then we will just be at the orphanage, doing some health education with the young people in the neighborhood and playing with the kids. I think I'm crazy because it's going to involve so much work and so much supplies and so many $250 days with the tap-tap... but they are so gung-ho about it! And to be able to expose these girls to the Third World, to Christianity in a place where the people have nothing else, to see my kids again without having to put my medical career on hold - I think it'll be good. Actually, I think it'll be great, but I'm so scared right about now that the great and the petrified are balancing out to "good".

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Phone calls

Let's start with last night - I received a text message from the girls at 10:15pm asking me to call them. I wouldn't normally call that late because I had clinical the next morning, but you never know if it's something urgent or just the "we want to know how you're doing" call, so I called them back.

I chatted with Edline who teased me about being cold here in Boston. She said that is was still very hot in Haiti, so I suggested switching places and she almost yelled, "Yes!" Next was Lovely who told me that she had fully recovered from the fever she'd had last time I called, and that she does not like their new school uniforms. She also told me that my little Fedlens has officially left the orphanage. His mom came to pick him up last week; I had asked her to give all the girls hugs and kisses for me, but Lovely said that she at least did not meet the lady. Lovely also told me that the little boys who were on quaratine for mumps are all better now and that no new cases have arose. Merline, my "Haitian Maman", claimed me next, only to tell me that last time, when I thought what I was hearing was her distorted voice, it was actually Childa, passing on messages for Merline! She said she had a little bout of shyness, silly girl! I grabbed Stephanie next to tell her about the internet decision, which she greeted very calmly (I would have been flipping out about the limited time, but not that amazing gal). She talked about school, about her accounting class where the professor lectures strangely and Steph doesn't do well because she doesn't understand the terminology. Finally, Martine took the phone to tell me the reason they had texted me: would I please call the boys tomorrow? No, the boys hadn't asked, Martine just thought they would be happy to talk to me. How darling, and hence part 2 of this post.

I called the boys after clinical this afternoon and Emmanuel answered. He gets really giggly and says my name at least twice in every single sentence when we talk on the phone. It's really adorable and it makes me giggle too. He didn't want to talk on the phone today though - too many people around - so he passed it off very quickly to Duck, meanwhile Drisk can be heard yelling in the background, "Keziah! How are you? Keziah!" All these boys have such distinctive voices! I just hear them and get these big grins at how familiar they sound. Duck gave me the update on his arm, which is out of its cast, looking very skinny, but not causing him any trouble. He also conveyed the tragic news that the soccer field still has piles of dirt on it, so they are not playing soccer yet. Imagine having your cast off after 3 months and still not being able to play! Next, the phone passed to Bernado, who didn't talk much. He basically just answered my questions about school, Job, and his Haitian mom with one word responses. He made up for his silence by hanging around while the other boys talked and pestering them.

Drisk took the phone next. His news: the FIFA video that had been lost is now found, the boys have been playing playstation on the weekend only, 9th grade is fine, they have finished reading Psalm 119 in devotions and are now started on Jeremiah, and Manno the coach has not been coming to get them so they have not played basketball since I left. How bored they must be!! And of course, they haven't slept on the roof, "Not because we're scared, but because there is no one to do it with." Then he asked me to send him some apples - you see, every time I took Drisk to the market with me, I would let him buy himself a treat and he always chose apples. I'm not sure how I'm going to find a way to get apples to Haiti, but I promised I'd try.

Jacques told me that 10th grade was fine, although some of his courses were tough, but now they were getting easier. He said that he does have a lot of work to do, but that his teachers are all nice. He is taking chemistry, so he told me about an experiment they did to demonstrate that matter can change form: they burned a piece of paper right in the classroom on the second floor and then discussed how it had become ash but that ash cannot become paper. And yes, there was lots of smoke in the classroom. I talked briefly with Jefthe, and I asked for Alex, but he was sleeping.

I sent Jacques to get Emmanuel for me again. I had a hunch that he was doing the same thing he did when I came back in August: letting the other kids have all my attention and pretending like he didn't have anything to say, when actually he's bursting with it. Sure enough, he came up and talked for a good 15 minutes. We talked about school; he is struggling with trigonometry, so we talked about ways to get help. He has got to work hard and pass in school otherwise, he may not be around next time I go to Haiti. And he knows it, and he knows how much time and effort I put into his schooling last year, so he takes my advice and my warnings seriously. It still scares me to death though, because Emmanuel needs motivation to work, and I don't think he's got a lot right about now. He told me that he has started doing calligraphy, instead of his usual comic strip characters. And he said that ever since I came to devotions reguarly during my August stay, Soeur Pradel has taken to singing loudly, like I do. Apparently she said that if Keziah could sing loudly and in a girly voice without being teased, then so could she. Emmanuel recounts this in between bursts of laughter. "What's so funny about it?" "She ... hahahah ... can't .... hahaha .... sing! She sounds .... hahahah ... awful!" Finally, as I was trying to end the conversation since my phone card was running low, he said, "Can I tell you a secret? Mwen grangou." This was his new thing before I left, taking advantage of me being his unofficial mom and constantly asking me for food. I told him that I would send him a jar of peanut butter via the phone, which sent him into another bout of hysterical laughter. I always end my phone convos with him by saying, "Mwen renmen ou anpil, Emmanuel," and I can tell how he's feeling by how he responds. Today was a good day - I got "Mwen menm tou, mwen renmen ou anpil," back.

The last person I talked to was Jefthe. He gave me a message for his mom, and then said, rather officially, "All of us that are here on the roof - Jacques, Emmanuel, Bernadin, Drisk, and Duckhein - we say good-bye. We love you and we are praying for you. Bye."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I miss him so much!

Pray with me

As I write, there is a board meeting taking place to decide whether or not to allow the children to use internet. Please, pray with me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Who do you consider lucky?

In Haiti, a country where the life expectancy is only 57 years,

where the average person lives on less than 70 cents a day,
where an utter lack of sanitation causes great risk to the population,

where the natural resources have been completely depleted,
where intestinal worms steal 25% of many childrens' daily caloric intake

where violence, robberies, and kidnappings keep people out of the streets,

where the HIV/AIDS prevalence is 5.6%,

where infant mortality is 10 times higher than it is in the USA,

where 2/3 of the population is unemployed,

children survive, scrounging for food in trash piles,

selling water, mangos, or crackers in the street,
begging for a gourde or two,
or living in orphanages like Hope for the Children of Haiti.
These children are the lucky ones.


Today I finally heard from one of the kids! Fabiola wrote to me from the library at the seminary which means she probably had Levy, the assistant director, supervising her internet use. Fabulous Fabi was writing to ask me to call Claudette to ask her to buy a hair iron to bring back for the girls. I must say that I am a little confused by this request because I remember the girls telling me that Dr Bernard doesn't allow them to straighten their hair. And I can't exactly call Claudette until after the funeral tomorrow. But contact was made between Haiti and Boston, so it was a good day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


My close friend Monique went to a soccer game last night, but it wasn't just any old soccer game - it was a friendly match between Mexico and Brazil! When she told me, I couldn't believe her at first. She finally convinced me that she wasn't pulling my leg, and I immediately started jumping around, "I can't wait to write to the boys and tell them about this!" only to stop a second later, "I can't write to the boys and tell them." What a depressing thought. Jacques and Emmanuel's favorite team just played a game 18 miles from my house against Job's, Bernadin's, Junior's, Renick's, John Peter's, Peterson's, and Richecarde's favorite team. That means that Ronaldinho (Bernadin's, John's, Mathurin's, and Renick's favorite player), Kaka (Junior's and Richecarde's favorite), and Robinho (Peterson's favorite) were all within 45 minutes of me. And I can't tell the boys! GRRRR!!!

I have started a list titled: "Things to tell the boys when I call" because otherwise I would forget silly stories or important things that I wanted to share. The soccer game is at the top of the list, right after "I love you".

Side note: if you're ever looking for special gifts for the boys, soccer magazines (like the ones in these photos) and soccer videos (such as highlights from World Cup 2006 or any international soccer, but especially Brazil) are two absolute favorites.


Dr. Bernard's sister passed away this morning at 5am. She had been bedridden for the last 20+ years and recently became very ill. Dr Bernard spent the night with her last night and was with her when she passed. The wake will be on Friday and the funeral on Saturday. Obviously, this is a difficult time for Dr B and his family, but he says that he is glad she has finally left the pain of her illness and is with the Lord Jesus. Please be praying for Dr Bernard and his family.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Clothing needs

Be on the lookout for DRESS CLOTHES and DRESS SHOES for the boys, in addition to the usual socks, underpants and undershirts. With the huge need for sports gear this past year, the need for church clothes was slightly overlooked and when I left, many of the boys were wearing pants that were too short, shoes that were too tight, and shirts that were too old.

Muscle man

Long distance calls

The girls tried to call me last night while I was eating dinner. I freaked out because they never call me unless something bad is going on. I called them back immediately, and it turns out that they just called because they were worried about the internet being shut down and they wanted to make sure that I knew about the situation. I explained about the board's concerns, and then we just chatted. They told me about school, about the weather in Haiti right now, about Merline Jean being back, about their friends, about the porridge (la bouille) that they had eaten that day. They gave me a bunch of messages to pass on to parents and friends, now that they can't email any more, and they told me a million times that they loved me. Unfortunately, a lot of "Kisa?" and "Mwen pa ka tande ou byen!" was said, so I didn't get as much out of the 43 minute call as I would have liked. And I didn't get to talk to the boys. But, considering the fact that I called only the boys during the summer, I figure this is only fair. Although, if the internet is permanently nixed, my phone bill is going to climb significantly.

It's funny talking to the kids on the phone. Some of them are so difficult to understand, and their voices are virtually unrecognizable. Others, like Stephanie, Argentine, and Jephycca, have the most distinct voices in the world and you know who you're talking with the minute they say "Koman ou ye?" In the background, you can hear the multidude screaming things they want someone to tell me and of course, lots of giggling. I can just imagine them in the older girls' room, passing the phone around, running through the house to call everyone, "Kez is on the phone!" What do you talk about though? I can't tell them about my life because it is completely foreign to them. But they don't want to talk about themselves because they always think that nothing has happened, when it is exactly that "nothing" that I want to hear about: who lead devotions yesterday, where did they go to church, have the girls been playing volleyball, how do they like their new uniforms, is anyone is trouble, did any new babies come into NLL, has anyone's biological parent come to visit, how are the boys.... I really should write a list of questions before I call them. If you don't ask, they won't tell. The boys are a lot better at this than the girls - I would call Emmanuel during the summer and he would talk for ages about anything and everything that was going on at the orphanage. I would just sit there and grin stupidly, even if I didn't understand exactly what he was saying - it was just that special to hear his voice. Same thing with the girls last night. I would hear their voices and get chills just imagining their beautiful smiling faces.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The NLL girls


Yesterday I ate my first mango outside of the country of Haiti. It was actually pretty good, although much less stringy than I am used to. I mentioned that to my roommate, Jill, who said it was probably because this American mango was genetically altered or chemically enhanced or something. That scared me a bit, and I almost didn't finish it, but Jill was getting such a kick out of the juice that was all over my face, my hands, my arms, and the table, that I had to continue. For anyone who has not been lucky enough to eat a mango the Haitian way, let these photos prove to you how heavenly an experience it is: