What does it mean to love recklessly?

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If you ain’t got no money take your broke self home/We flyin’ first class, livin’ the life August 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily McDonald @ 11:23 am

So here’s some brutal honesty for you.

On nights like tonight, I think “god, maybe you really aren’t calling me to stay in this country.”

It’s 9:45pm and it’s 90.5 degrees in my room.

There is no electricity and the generator is broken.

I desperately miss my loves.

The rooster who lives outside my window can’t sleep tonight either and is crowing instead.

I have taken 3 cold showers tonight, and I’m still sweaty.

Some foreign antibodies are taking over my body and I’m sick and feel like crap.

Several mice and obnoxiously large cockroaches have left a white flag on my floor and asked me to quit waging war against them.

My neighbors are choosing to have an unusually loud party on this night.


It’s just been one of those days. It all started when I spent almost 6 hours at the Haitian equivalent of a food stamps office. By 2, Amy and I were starving so we walked to a nearby favorite – Mucheez. But the power had just gone out, so all they could serve us were black chicken nuggets. I’m not kidding, they were at least a very dark brown. And not cause they were burnt.

Spent the last part of my afternoon trying to find some protractors for my 6th graders, since they told us tonight that they need protractors for their big going-into-7th-grade Haitian exam in the morning. Couldn’t find any anywhere.


My life is not glamorous here. But even on nights like tonight, I really am thankful that God called me here, cause I definitely wouldn’t have come on my own, and I would have missed a crazy exciting adventure.


no lyrics today, my computer is broken so my life is musicless these days August 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily McDonald @ 12:14 pm

Life in Haiti. What is it like? It changes every day.


Wednesday came, and right before it went, Sherrie finally arrived back here at the orphanage. I was planning this great blog post that talked about how “it is finished – I survived – all the kids survived – Sherrie is back, and finally, I am not longer in charge!” But, that’s not exactly how it is. Sherrie is back and the burden has shifted in some senses, but I am also still in charge. Sherrie is getting older (as opposed to the rest of us who are steadily getting younger) and she is ready to be relieved of some duties. So although she now is the final word on things, Amy and I are pretty much keeping the day-to-day stuff rolling.

There is a new girl (and my new roomie!) Amy who also arrived on Wednesday. She’s here through Christmas and came to help with pretty much everything (she’s awesome like that). She’s a teacher, but also has her masters in school administration so Sherrie was quick to name her school director! I still don’t have a title – or a job – for this fall, but I think I’ll be helping Amy with administrative stuff, and my goal is to be the special ed/resource teacher here. I think I’ll float through the classrooms helping the kids that are struggling, and also pull some kids out for certain subjects. We’ll see how it all pans out. We may be the first school in Haiti to have a special ed program! Yay!


 So Ross is gone, Sherrie is back, Amy is here, teachers come back to school tomorrow (for 2 weeks of teacher training) – and the days of summer fun definitely feel like a distant memory. The kids have not handled all the change very well, which is understandable, but sad to me. I think it will be easier when school starts and we all get into the swing of a routine. ~ In the meantime, we are spending our days getting ready for the school year – unpacking and sorting curriculum, getting classrooms set up, knocking out some construction jobs, and lovin’ on babies.


And you know, saving the world.


jesus, lover of my soul, i will never let you go July 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily McDonald @ 3:13 pm

So today was not a good day. Things have been hard since Ross left – the kids are feeling a little unsure of what’s going on – plus Sherrie (and a new girl!) are coming in tomorrow. Change is always uncomfortable and scary for me, and I’m sure I’ve done a poor job masking that for the kids.

So anyway. Did I mention that it was not a good day? It was one of those days that I let everything bother me instead of just letting it go. On top of that, my mom was busy when i called her.


 Stability is so important to me, and I feel like God keeps taking away any tiny thing in my life that resembles something stabile – just to prove that He’s the only stable thing. So today I had a hard time with that. I cried and told God that I wanted off this island. I said mean things to my sister, but she’s a cool kat and she forgave me, then made me feel better. She told me a story about my dad shopping for mormon wedding dresses. It was an amazing story. I cried I was laughing so hard.

Then I told God I was sorry, and that I do want to stay here, sometimes, it’s just hard.

But then, he gave me tonight, which was really good. Really good. : )


The moral of this story is that some days in haiti are hard. Sometimes all day is hard, and sometimes just a few minutes of the day are hard (is hard?). But every day there is lots of good (today, Ludjier told me i was beautiful when I was laying on my bed crying). And I want to be where God wants me. And this is where God wants me, so I’m happy.


I’m also happy cause… i’m the luckiest girl alive.


i don’t have to pretend that airplanes in the sky are shooting stars – we have the real thing here

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily McDonald @ 1:59 pm

I’ve always believed that summers should contain lots of summer fun – they were never the same when I was in summer school or working, but still. Summer always equals tons of fun.
I think fun is always close by. You just have to look for it, and sometimes help create it. So here on the island of sun and dust, we’ve spent our summer doing things like…
Sleepovers, dance offs (cha cha slide, anyone??), soccer, beach trips, shopping trips to the big markets, learning how to drive (Mr. Ross is the best teacher ever!), cooking yummy food, play dates, nightly trips to the market for picklese and plantains, building forts out back, trips to Epidore and Muncheez for hamburgers and pizza, learning kreyol and English and slacking on summer school.
And… well. Some other good things! Really good things.
We also spent lots of time working hard on things like… Laundry, summer school, construction (let me clarify, I did not do ANY construction this go around) – Aaaaand, that might be all the hard work we’ve done!
Seriously, this summer has been incredible and more than I ever imagined it could be. I wish I had written more along the way. I’ve definitely had my share of “I’m so overwhelmed. I can’t do this anymore” moments (or possibly days), but I wouldn’t change anything about it.
Before I came back to Haiti in June, I found out that there was going be another guy with me here this summer. I was really worried and I specifically asked people to pray for Ross and I’s working relationship. Just in the 6 weeks I was here the first time, I saw my share of teams come in and out, and I saw how easily things can get tense and uncomfortable. To say this is an intensive environment is an understatement, and you can’t ever escape. So – I was worried, and you guys prayed for us. And let me just say God was super amazing. Ross and I made a really awesome team – I felt like we were always on the same page, we challenged each other, and we just worked super well together. And he definitely gets major credit for keeping my freak-outs to a minimum!
Because of our kick-ass teamwork – I think the most rewarding part of the summer was seeing the kids blossom and mature under Ross and my care. To watch them go from testing us and feeling our limits to really trusting us and to see them grow (for 2 – to begin!) in their relationships with God was really awesome. Through some intense one-on-one time, the younger kids especially outgrew the majority of their negative, attention-seeking behaviors. They became secure in their environment here and it was really – like, I can’t put it into words. To be able to give a child a sense of security and to see them respond to unconditional love – as the kids say, “it is good”.

The ‘le pa bon’ – “it is not good” moments have shown their faces a few times, as well. I’ve definitely had some moments of doubt and uncertainty – you know, crazy thoughts like “what on earth am I doing in Haiti?”, “what am I doing with the rest of my life?”, “God, how long am I going to be stuck on this island?” and “I wonder what chips and salsa taste like?”. I’ve missed things back home – like my big sister getting ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED to the love of her life, my baby sister leaving for Russia, going wedding dress shopping with Catherine, Caroline, Charlie, and Mary growing up, family 4th of July – good things that make my heart sad to miss.
It’s been a summer of learning how to trust (ok, my entire lifetime is about learning how to trust) – but every time I think I get it down pat, something else comes along and I realize that I usually only am ok with trusting God with parts of my life. But I’m learning from my mistakes and learning from the kids.
With them as my teachers, I should be a-ok.


leave a mark that can’t be erased, neither time nor space July 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily McDonald @ 6:29 am

I’ve been thinking about my childhood a lot lately. I think it’s because I’m surrounded my children whom I feel like are my own. Well that, and because I’ve had Jay-Z’s Young Forever on repeat (don’t judge).


I have this intense desire to create a happy, peaceful, stable childhood for these children – one that resembles the way I grew up. I know that it is an unrealistic ideal to want a two parent home where Mom and Dad love Jesus more than each other (and that is A LOT), where they dig underground houses and caves because there are no trees to build tree-houses, where they have to pick up the house before they leave (but they always come home to a clean house), where their daddies buy roses for the girls on their birthdays — but a realistic thing is that I want these years to be a time that these kids can look back on and smile.


I was reading a book on my Kindle (<3 ❤ ❤ the Gouches! Everything cool I have is from them – my purse, my wallet, toys for kid-dates, my kindle, need I continue??) and I came across this paragraph and it super struck me.


“I sat on a bench in sight of three teenaged boys playing with a soccer ball. I wondered if they were allowed to play in the gardens; I wondered if they cared; I wondered if years from now, when they were middle-aged, married fathers, they would remember this carefree morning in June. Who was it that said that without forgetting it’s impossible to live at all? Whoever said it was right.

But that lesson is one you don’t learn for some time. When you’re young, you’re absolutely convinced that you’re going to remember forever, and in vivid detail, every moment of joy or heartbreak, whether it be of your own making or caused by some outside force. You’re absolutely convinced that the moment will utterly define the rest of your life.

And then, over time, you start to forget, not every detail, but a lot of them, and some time after that, the emotional impact starts to dull, and after that there come days when you don’t consciously thing about the moment of joy or heartbreak you were so certain would actively pursue you to the grave.”


Now I can’t remember all the profound things I was going to say about it. I’ll think about it and post later, maybe.


xoxo I miss you all loads.


even if you don’t wanna speak tonight that’s alright, alright with me June 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily McDonald @ 5:10 pm

I almost freaked out tonight.

I woke up this morning in a grouchy mood, not wanting to be a mom to 40-something children. But I guess that’s the funny thing about being a mom – it’s not really something you can opt out of on bad days.So I drug my butt out of bed and tried to be a good mom.

It was going pretty well.

Then tonight happened. Chandlin (one of my trouble makers who has been a completely different child since our date) had been crying for 30 mins or so because he was constipated. I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t have anything but anti-diarrhea medication. Finally I decided to give him some pain reliver so I called him up to my room. Mistake #1. He took the medicine and all the sudden he had to go. I told him he could use my bathroom. Mistake #2. All I’ll say is that he didn’t make it to the toilet, and it was everywhere. Literally everywhere. To make it better there was no power and no water. I asked Norky to bring me a bucket of water and he came up and said, “Wow it stinks in here.” Norky – always good for a laugh.

I brought back a HUGE bag of stuffed animals and toys (all thanks to the Gouch’s!) and was going to divvy them up among the children, but have found (for the time being) they’re working perfectly in my room for play dates and special reward time. Usually I’ll tell 2 children they can come play, and next time I blink my eye there are about 7 kids in here.

I’ve been doing some fun, intentional activities with the kids in an effort to educate them and also just make memories. They really never get out besides church on Sundays, so Ross and I have started trying to show them some of their own culture. They’re experiencing some culture shock, but I think it’s good! I had 3 of the little girls help me make banana bread yesterday. Gooooood times.

I’m probably going to get a fever blister. All the girls have them and Rose-Marlin is continually planting big wet ones on me (not big wet fever blisters, big wet kisses).

I’m sick. I have no idea what I have but it’s kicking my butt.

Now I’m going to bed.

xoxo, world.


June 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily McDonald @ 3:13 am

And this is how it all began.

All of the children here are incredibly resilient and strong. The majority of them seem pretty emotionally intact – which is amazing, considering their history, experiences, and present circumstances. However, there are a few of my babies who haven’t weathered the storm that they call life quite so well, and it’s left them a little emotionally battered and bruised. And quite often with children, emotional issues =’s behavior issues. All that to say, some of my kids have some emotional and behavioral issues.

I’ve been thinking about the best way to go about working with them and I decided they need some one-on-one, individual time with adults. But that is pretty impossible within these walls. So I decided to start taking the kids out on dates – just for a walk around in the streets and markets closeby.

So today I started with Ludjier. He’s six. He was in his room watching the World Cup so I stuck my head in and told him to grab some shoes, and just like that, we were off on our adventure. First stop – Haitian cheeto puffs. I opened the bag for him and we kept walking and walking, trying to get lost in the streets. Getting lost is pretty hard here, but we did our best. Eventually we got thirsty, so we bought a coca, and that is when we had our first problem. Ludjier was pretty adamant about holding my hand, even though I told him he didn’t have to. But he had a system worked out where his cheetos were wedged under his underarm, and he could hold my hand with his left hand, and use his right hand to occasionally grab a cheeto. But now that we had a coke bottle to hold, that messed everything up. He ended up just taking turns between the three, but as soon as he finished his cheetos, I held the coke, and both our hands turned orange. As we wandered the streets, we both soaked it all in. The sights and smells of the market and streets – umbrellas protecting the merchants and their wares from the beating sun, the produce on display (it’s still mango season!), the ravine, the occasional vender selling shoes, the devastated homes, the man sewing t-shirts, the occasional argument between seller and buyer, the random goat, chicken, or dog running along beside us, and of course, the children playing in the street. When we returned home Ludjier weaseled his way into my bedroom on the terms of “just coloring you a picture, then I will leave” and somehow he found my huge bag of toys (Thanks Caroline and Charlie!).

And with that, our date concluded.

It was a fabulous one, I must admit.