Rosie’s Boutique

Kayla Raymond is the founder of Rosie’s Boutique. During my most recent trip to Haiti over Thanksgiving 2014, I visited Rosie’s Boutique in Haiti. It is a colorful and unique shop in Cabaret, Haiti. I loved all the goods and- even better- the stories behind the goods for sale at Rosie’s. Beneath their beautiful, handcrafted surfaces, they tell the tales of employment and change for the better. Continue reading

Keep Running

It was 11:00 on a Saturday afternoon, and it was pouring. We were in my mom’s hometown of Marathon, Iowa and today was the day of the famous “Marathon to Marathon.” As the name suggests, it is a harsh race of 26.2 miles from the city of Storm Lake to the sweet little town of Marathon.

We were there with some family friends to see the race and maybe sell a few copies of my mom’s book, Love Idol. It was a little over midway through the race when it started sprinkling. And then that little sprinkle turned into a downpour like nothing else, with horrible lightning and a bit of hail. I could hardly walk around out there, much less fathom how someone could run a marathon in that weather. We headed inside as a car went out to optionally pick up the forty-something people still running out there.

The car came back empty.

Not a single person wanted to quit, even in the worst conditions.

I guess they had worked too hard and trained too much to give up now.

Not to mention, my grandpa who I love so much, who broke his foot while we were in Mexico, stood right by the finish line with a boot on his foot under a little tarp getting soaked and refused to leave until every person crossed the line.

He feels it is important that the person hears their name when they cross the line. Even if he is the only one there, and all the crowds have long since left, he wants to tell them, “Well done!”

There is a chapter in my mom’s book about this topic. About how he wants them to hear their name. She compares it to when we cross the finish line of our life, and how God is there to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (And though she wrote it much more eloquently than I could have, it is still an amazing thing to think about.)

But that’s not all. Just the fact that these runners kept running inspires me also. Sometimes, in our life, things get tough. Real tough. But it is the strength to keep running that makes us who we are.

I just wish I could have the courage to say I would have kept running. And I’m still pondering what my response would have been. Because I don’t really know what it’s like for things to be real tough for me. I live in a home full of love and pantries stocked with all I can eat. I live in a sheltered community where 99% of the residents are Christian. I’ve been to Haiti and seen the poverty, but have I ever experienced the true pain of a 4-day empty stomach- of watching my family die and leave me- of sleeping and living in the dirt and on the streets? No.

But I hope and pray to God that he will give me the strength to keep running in the times where it gets tough.

A Birthday Wish

Today I turned 12 years old, and I am marveling at all the things I have done between age 11 and 12. The playground was put up at the school. I was interviewed many times for my work in Haiti. I went to Haiti. I started a blog to speak about my life and passion, and others’ as well.

But what I’m looking forward to is not presents or cards or celebrations. I love all these things, but there is one thing I have been asking and asking for, and finally, it is going to happen.

We are going back to Haiti!

I am so blessed to be able to go yet again this year and I couldn’t be happier to be going back to my most favorite place in the world. We are leaving next week, and will be staying for a whole week!

More to come next week as we leave. As for now, please pray for safe travels. So stay tuned…

 

Lisa-Jo’s Project: Laundry in Africa

You all probably know the story of how I raised over $6,000 last year for a playground at a school in Haiti.

But in case you don’t know the story, here it is: Last year, I felt as if God was calling me to do something for the country of Haiti, something big. I kept searching and searching for something to do, and finally, it came to me. My mom suggested I raise money to build a playground at a school in the village of Simonette, Haiti by selling Vi Bella Jewelry, which is made by Haitian women. My goal was to raise $5,000, but God really came through, and I raised a grand total of $6,000 for the school!

I’m amazed that God has used me to do this, even though I’m just a child!

But right now, I want to tell you about another story that has touched my heart. A story that will take place in Africa. Led by my friend, Lisa-Jo Baker. She wants to raise $5,000 to build a laundry facility for mothers who don’t have access to water.

I remember when I first got to Haiti. As we neared the house where we were staying, we passed through a shallow stream. One that was polluted and dirty. I saw people washing their clothes in the water. I wondered if the water made the clothes dirtier than before, but they have no choice.

This is a common sight in Haiti:

Lisa-Jo is going to banish the option of washing clothes in polluted water (or just not washing clothes at all) in a community in Africa.

I highly suggest you check out her blog and make a donation to her fundraising effort.

I have already made a commitment of $40 to her fundraiser.

(And by the way… You know how my motto for my playground project was “every kid deserves to play”? Well I think hers should be “every woman deserves to wash laundry”. 😉 )

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I found the photo shown on Flickr. It was taken by “kretyen.”