no regrets.

Tonight, a wise friend shared her wisdom with me….telling me to live life fully with no regrets.  Love – even when tired…to be “all in,” when the easy response is to hold back…to really live with “no regrets.”

So what does that really even mean?  Each one of us will be called to live our own life…challenged to make the most of the gifts we have been given and the circumstances that surround us.  There will be moments we need to say no and then again times to just dive in – head first.  I may have a tendency to live life carefully…to live by the rules…to be cautious…to do the “right thing” – the “expected things.” And then again, as I grow in age and experience and hopefully a bit of wisdom…I am learning to live in the moment.

I have heard stories of heartache this week…of paralysis and suicide attempts and cancer and farewells and deep, deep heartache. Life can be a bugger.  So all we can do is take it one day at a time…one moment at a time…living and loving and breathing…

…napping – eating coconut gelato – telling new colleagues to bring their sneakers for a noon walk – savoring late night patio conversations on a work night – watching a marathon of a TV series – reading a classic book  – taking long bicycle rides – grilling pizzas on vacation – asking hard questions and really listening – balancing kale salads and chocolate brownies – sharing hugs and tears and prayers…

Life life well my friends – with no regrets.

No Regrets

kozefò 5K by the numbers.

Runners, walkers and volunteers enjoyed another beautiful sunny day to support the work at ANA Primary School.  Student art work, Kozefò merchandise and handmade soap were the new additions this year! (Thanks Jim for the Haitian inspired Toasted Coconut Lime Verbena!)

10 students were selected for sponsorship-YEA! 30ish are still waiting, so check them out on our website if you are interested: http://www.kozefo.org/sponsor/

And the results are in for the 4th annual Kozefò 5K…

total Runners-Walkers registered: 90

total volunteers: 35

money raised: $4000

Overall participation and money raised may be a bit down from last year [guessing that many summer vacationers were still out of town] but that did not stop the FUN!  I am always humbled by the loyalty and generosity of others. My fav part of the day is making rounds to check in with the variety of folks that show up – cousins and in-laws, work colleagues, family friends, church members, schoolmates and the guy that won it was a returning runner just looking to support a good cause!

Thank you to you all!

5K Crew

5K Student Art

5K tumbler

5K Soap

5K Kozefò Graphic Designer

5K runners

5K Top runners

5K finishers

5K Sound Guy

5K Pals

opportunities to support Kozefò.

Thanks to the folks that came out to run/walk the Kozefò 5K today!  Stay tuned for pics and an update real soon…in the meantime, if you were unable to join us today due to summer vacations and other fun family outings, you can still support us!

Here are a few options for you:

simply make a DONATION at kozefo.org

purchase KOZEFÒ gear to promote education in Haiti (email me at sara.lein@kozefo.org to make a selection from the items available below)

KozefoTumbler

KozefoSoap

KozefoShortSleeve

KozefoLongSleeve

KozefoHoodie

purchase ART made by the students from ANA Primary School in Port au Prince, Haiti  (email me at sara.lein@kozefo.org to make a selection from the items available below)

BicycleAdriano

HeartsKisleve

DucksDonly

FlowersRosenie

SoccerBoyCharleston

PalmTreesManouchie

opportunity to support Kozefò.

The annual Kozefò 5K is being held next Saturday, August 1st in Woodbury, Minnesota.  This is a great opportunity to support the students and staff at a small primary school in Port au Prince, Haiti. This school was once “home” to many sweet family members and friends of mine…

(Check out these dashing dudes that just shared in the wedding of our only child. Love these boys – JP, Eli, Stanley, Gefte, Vinny!)

FamPhoto

Ringbearers

So now, we have the chance to continue the work of education in Haiti.  Our June Kozefò Team was awesome – creating fabulously fun learning experiences, building additional classroom space, sharing sponsorship correspondence, providing a noon meal/drinking water and equipping the school with a computer lab.  Enrollment has nearly doubled for this upcoming school year.  And we will be needing all the support we can get to keep everything running smoothly.

Learning Is FUN

Building Crew

Rooftop Classroom

 

Sponsorship Coorespondence

Noon Meal

Tech Lab

 

New Student Sponsorships are NEEDED – information will be available at the 5K…

Student Sponsorship

 

Please consider joining us!  The Kozefò 5K is open to walkers, runners, observers!  You can register or donate on-line at http://www.kozefo.org/kozefo5k or on-site the morning of the event.  For more information about student sponsorships, please check our website on August 1st at http://www.kozefo.org/sponsor/

Thank you to all of you that have been supporting us through the past few years.  It is truly an incredible journey!

 

 

relationships.

A week in Haiti…filled with activity – Vacation Bible School [music, crafts, games, free play], sponsorship letters, new student registration (42 more enrolled to add to our current 51!) the construction of two new classrooms, painting the computer lab, tech teacher interviews, laptops prepared, English class lessons, neighborhood walk/home visits, budget review with our accountant, teacher meetings, and the year-end Spektak for the school – whew! What a week!!!!

Dreaming, planning, praying for the future. Reflecting personally on all that we have experienced.

Yet, when all is said and done…it is really just about the people.

“Love God, Love Others.”

And that is what matters. Language barriers did not hinder the love between us. New friendships began, and old ones were renewed. There are just so many sweet stories to tell.

Team Kozefo at Spektak

Allen and Bradley

Budget meeting

Eddy and Grace

Dr Bill and pals

Gahls and Clef

Gillian and Bela and pals

Grace and selfies

Interpreters

Jim and James Bond

Judy and Harlens

Laura and boys

Lauren and pals

Lydia

Medal Ceremony

Pastor Brian and Jeremy

Sara and Ruth

Tammie and Lovinska

Tapperson and Paulema

Steve and tech lab

Teachers

Team Kozefo at Wahoo Bay

wants vs needs.

I live in a time and place that I am not even certain that I have ever really had to worry about my “needs.” I have shelter, water and food. Bills can be paid on time. There is money left over to do things for pleasure – to shop, dine out, travel. I really wonder if I have ever had to face a real NEED in my life?

The past few days in Haiti have been filled to overflowing with moments that I long to share – a sweet work day at the school, with building, painting and organizing…a neighborhood walk into the homes of three students that offered us a very small glimpse of the lives that they lead once they leave school each day…worship services that were packed with people and full of the holy spirit…energy filled days with the students – singing, dancing, playing, learning, making music together, jumping rope…English Institute lessons between Americans and Haitians – medal award ceremonies in our honor (a story for another time.) And.So.Much.More!

Yet the piece that has me awake tonight, sitting on the balcony to write this at 3 am…is the conflict between needs and wants. Wifi has been sketchy to non-existent this week. The 23 of us are staying at a lovely guest house, along with another group of 10 or so from southern California, and a couple from Spokane. I am pretty sure that we have maxed out the generator, as the electricity has been flashing on and off for the past 30+ minutes – just trying to get going. And I am not certain how long it has been since the city power has been turned on here.

For us, the inconvenience of limited electricity and wifi, impact the fans and AC that keep us cool at night…and the ability to hop on the internet or iMessaging to connect with family and friends back home. Needs or wants?

For some of our students, they have left the family they know and love, to move from the countryside to live in the city with a relative in order to have opportunities for a “better life.” Not sure how often, or if they have the opportunity to communicate with their loved ones. In the homes we visited, I did not see beds. I can only guess what the sleeping arrangements may be each night. Fans? Nope. AC-certainly not. The foods or drinks we may crave from our normal routine – clearly “wants”…as there are many, many individuals in this place and throughout the world, desperate for a meal.

I have no answers. I can only reflect. And hope that through life’s circumstances, we can pause long enough and regularly enough to encounter the abundance of blessings in our lives…to seek contentment…to share with others…to keep our eyes open…to seek joy.

So, for now, I will crawl back in bed – generator power has been restored – and I will pray for the sweet little faces waiting for us tomorrow. And I will pray for my own strength and patience and peace.

joy(photo snapped by a young student during the English Institute “medal ceremony”)

sweet face(Sweet Lovena – one of our darling students – Lovena’s mother died in March 2013, so her father has sent her to live with her aunt and one cousin.  Her seven sisters and two brothers remain with her father in the countryside.)

when in haiti.

PAP arrival

Our fabulous team of 23 arrived in Port Au Prince today…complete with an extra swing through the customs line to verify that the contents in our boxes were indeed school supplies.  Pastor Ernso of Eucalyptus Village greeted us at the airport and transported us through the streets to his sweet oasis of a guest house…via TAP TAPs! With the luggage piled in the back of a truck. Nothing like jumping right in as a local.

luggage loadtap taptap tap travelingLooking forward to a relaxing evening…with plans to start working tomorrow…projects at the school – painting, building, prepping for the computer lab…time with Rock, Nahomie and Rosita!

Agenda for the week:

  • Saturday – work day – dinner at Pizza Amour
  • Sunday – church with Pastor Ernso – PAP tour to include Laboule 12
  • Monday – VBS/Day Camp – English Institute
  • Tuesday – VBS/Day Camp – The Apparent Project – Epi’dor
  • Wednesday – VBS/Day Camp – Wahoo Bay
  • Thursday – Year-End SPEKTAK at the school
  • Friday – depart

Orevwa! Bondye beni ou.