Blog Archives

Starting a new chapter

As usual, it’s been a little while since I last wrote. I have since left Haiti and moved to the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. Leaving Haiti was no easy thing. I miss it everyday, but I know I am the right spot for me at this moment.

When I made the decision to leave Haiti earlier this year and began processing what that might look like, I knew I had to find a way to keep my roots where they had grown deep. Living in Haiti for five years I had meet many amazing people, from those who came on teams, to my students and of course many many others who called Haiti home. From the desire to stay close to Haiti, Cedar and Cypress Designs was born. Since I left Haiti in June, I have been working on becoming a business owner. I can proudly say that as of July 31st, I officially am!

Cedar and Cypress Designs is an on line retail store where you can purchase all sorts of jewelry and other products for you and your home. All the products are hand made in Haiti. Each of the companies I partner with as suppliers are people I know personally. People who have big hearts for Haiti and understand the importance of socially aware business practices and what a dignified living wage can mean to a person.

As I have relocated back to the United States, I am able to get the products I fell in love with in Haiti out to consumers in the US. I started this new chapter as the new school year in Haiti is also beginning. My heart misses the kids and everything that is in Haiti, but I know that thought Cedar and Cypress Designs, I’ll be visiting home soon. I will continue to blog on this site, but I will also be blogging on the Cedar and Cypress Designs website as well.

Thank you for following my journey, for praying for me, thinking about me and supporting me. I hope you will continue to check in and I will continue to update!

Don’t forget to check us out at www.cedarandcypressdesigns.com

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Home Again.

For those of you who know me REALLY well you know my favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of OZ, I love the books, the movie, the life lessons-all of it! Sometimes I feel like Dorthy, off on this incredible journey that happened to her, meeting incredible friends, overcoming struggles, but ultimately making it to OZ and home. Unfortunately for me coming home is not as simple as taping my heels together-first of all I don’t have Ruby Red slippers and second, well we all know it just doesn’t work that way.

I travel back and forth to Haiti and the US, calling each place home. I grew up in a small town in upstate NY, went to college in Rochester, I drove often between my mothers and fathers house, grandmas, the lake; yet wherever I laid my head at night I always knew I was home.

In the book, Glinda told Dorthy she always had the ability to go home, it was with her all along; all she had to do was think real hard and say those magical words “there’s no place like home”-and the ruby slippers helped of course! Well I don’t have to think real hard, I just make home wherever I am. I suppose as corny as it is ‘Home is where the heart is.’

As long as I do my best to keep friends and family in my heart whenever I am away, I know them will always be with me- wherever life takes me. NY will always be home…and so will Haiti. Work is here, friends are here, family is here-life is here. Home is where your heart is and it sure is good be home!

Welcome Back!!!

WOW, it is so nice to be back home in Haiti!!! After almost an entire month in the US Julie and I returned to Haiti this week! Before returning we spent a week in Orlando (Julie, Sandra and I) buying generators, air compressors and many other things need for the shop in preparation to expand and include 20 new women!

The staff cleaned up!

Flying in to Haiti gave me chills from excitement; it was so good to finally be home. Julie and I had a great friend pick us up from the airport providing an entirely new travel experience; US Military style, but that’s a whole other story…

By the time we arrived the shop was already closed for the day, we decided to surprise everyone by showing up at 8 AM the following morning. It was great to see our staff and friends, the greeting we got was so welcoming it made Julie and I both cry!

It sure is!!!

While we were out the shop not only ran successfully, the staff made it better than we could have imagined! They cleared new pathways and everything was orderly and running smoothly, it was good to see them taking such a great amount of ownership and pride in their work. It far exceeded my expectations, but they proved us they can run the shop without us; we just need to get out there and sell sell sell!!!

Julie and I

Throughout the day a few of the apprentice and street kids showed up, it was great to see them as well!!! One time I opened the door to three boys who charged at me with open arms and hugged my waist; it was humbling to feel so loved and missed. I couldn’t be happier to be home, if you are in Haiti and you see me glowing, it’s because I am so overjoyed to be home (and possibly a bit from sweat).

So happy to see his face!

Just get me home!

I am not sure where to begin; it has been so long since my last post I am not sure how to get all my thoughts down without one run on sentence or mile long paragraph. I thought about not blogging about this as so much time has passed, but it was too exciting not too!

The day I was in Cap Haitien Jamil and I finished the rest of the hearing aid molds by 10:00 A.M.-headed to Tortug Airlines to wait stand by for a flight back to PaP. 12:30 flight, over booked. 3:00 flight, over booked; people were paying bribes…needless to say Jamil and I didn’t make the last flight out of Cap Haitien.

I spent an hour calling everyone I knew trying to find a place to stay or a way back to PaP. 500USD to rent a car that would drive us home the following day. I refused to leave the airport until I had a solution in place. The power went off, the sun was lowering in the sky, and tears were about to streak my face….

At 4:00 P.M a private plane lands on the tarmac and five people step off. Well now what else would I do but run out there after it hoping and praying it was bound for PaP. I was yelled at and chased by the Tortuge staff, but I was determined to get on that plane. After a few minutes of yelling across the air strip, I was successful-the pilot agreed; he later told me it was my persistence, but he was happy to help!!! I grabbed the bags with the 227 ear molds, took Jamil by the arm and jumped into the plane!

Mountains in the Central Plateau

As I loaded into the front seat of a six seat plane, the controls were in front of me; steering wheel in my lap. I had a moment of panic then the excitement that I was going to get home set in and I was calm. It was an amazing experience!!! I flew with Foundation Haitienne por une Educatoin Adaptee a L’Aeronautique, a company started to charter flights to most anywhere in Haiti; they offer a pilot training program, aerial photography and medevac flights (www.fheaa.org). Haiti is a beautiful country, but the view from above is breathtaking. It was unique for me to fly over so many of the places I would travel to when working with the 410 Bridge and Medical Teams International; we went over Haiti Outreach and the Partners in Health building, passed the Hydroelectric dam and over Canaan.

Pignon airport and Haiti Outreach Guest House!!!

It was great to see how God turned a seemingly difficult day into something perfect, something only he could put together; my plan would not have been nearly as exciting. I am so thankful and blessed by Jamil who was willing to trust me and my crazy plan; and for Frantz, the pilot who went above and beyond to help someone in trouble. The world truly is full of amazing people, especially when your world is Haiti.

Jamil taking in the sites of his beautiful country!

Frantz-the Pilot and I!!!

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