Friday, September 21, 2012

Heading to Haiti!!!

Where to the beginning(ish)

Haiti and its amazing people have managed to take me from life in L.A. to life in La Plaine. It all started with my August 2010 trip to Haiti with a team from my church in Los Angeles, Pacific Crossroads (PCC). The initial goal of my first trip was admittedly selfish; prove to my past employer that I had work-life balance and post as many “altruistic” photos as possible on Facebook. Thankfully God has changed my life, motives and career goals since my initial trip.

Upon returning to Los Angeles, I would always find myself thinking more about malaria and less about marketing. Free time and admittedly a few work hours were spent learning more about how our geographic neighbor, Haiti, could seem so many worlds away. In May 2012, I decided it was time to leave my job to pursue a different career path. After spending the month of May with my friends at Souls Winning Ministries (SWM) in Haiti, I continued backpacking for a few months. During this time I did my best to practice patience as I prayed that God would continue to guide my next steps. Just a few days after returning home, a compelling partnership opportunity was presented to me…

On Wednesday, October 24, pending a few doctor’s appointments and details,  I will be heading to Haiti for 8 months to work on several projects with partners from Souls Winning Ministries and Pacific Crossroads Church. Aside from having 40+ constant playmates, my 9 to 5 time in Haiti will be spent focusing on the progression of three separate projects; micro-finance, education reform and young-adult mentorship. I have been asked by the different partners to address these three areas to not only train future leaders, but to continue to propel the community towards self-sustainability. I feel extremely blessed and very excited to be part of such a unique partnership opportunity. I have seen firsthand the need for there to be collaborative community communication to ensure that SWM will become more sustainable and continue to lift up local leaders. It will be life-changing to use my gifts and abilities to serve the people of Haiti, and to experience God’s grace in this environment.

I will be writing about project progress, my own updates and life in Haiti on this blog which may, at times, reflect my flawed self, not PCC or SWM J. Thank you for your support!





Monday, September 17, 2012

Thai Massage and Singo Scrub

Stateside, I rarely splurge on any beauty treatment that I don't have a group-on for. Luckily while traveling I've been able to experience a spa-splurge in each country. My insights on each below;

Thai Massage: Before arriving in Thailand my friend warned me that massages of any and every kind were extremely accessible and to pace myself. But let's be honest, who can pass up a $10 massage? Not I! Just two days after arriving in Thailand I experienced my first Thai Foot Massage. Greg and I were passing a clean and nicely decorated spa when I suggested we get a foot massage. Greg is a man's man. He doesn't use face creams, has never heard of the word "serum" and takes 8 minutes to get ready, shower included. I thought he would pass quickly but two months apart can make compromise easy so he agreed. We changed into ridiculous sumo wrestler like spa pants and let the two masseuses go to town. WOW! They clearly had some training. They poked, pushed and stretched our tired feet for an entire hour...for approx. 5 USD. We were so happy with the spa and service, I returned the next day for a real, full body Thai Massage. I had the same masseuse as the day before, who was skilled and professional while giving me the most painful massage of my life. I'm still not sure what exactly she was doing or what undiscovered muscle group she was massaging but it felt...effective. Mid-massage, although my eyes were closed, I am fairly certain that she was standing on my back. Pain aside, it was worth the 10 USD because she definitely put her all into it, I smelt like a Pina Colada and it felt like I had worked out for hours without lifting a finger.

Singo Scrub: On Zanzibar Island in Stone Town I had an amazing treatment at Lemon Spa known as the Singo Scrub. Traditionally reserved for women who are about to get married, the Singo Scrub is guaranteed to leave your skin silky smooth. Our friend 'Felicity' worked her magic to get me the locals rate. Lemon Spa, while small, was clean and tranquil. I changed into a kanga and was led to a private room for the scrub to start. The scrub is a soothing, sultry mix of spices indigenous to the island. I closed my eyes as clove, sandalwood and cinnamon exfoliated off all the dust from the day. My masseuse was slow and intentional as she scrubbed away. The smell of the herbs and spices colliding was amazing. I may or may not have tried to taste the scrub that was on my face! After the initial scrub I was instructed to rinse off (in HOT water...another highlight) and return. The scrub finished with a light oil mix. I thought I had throughly rinsed off but I met with Greg and our friends for sundowners at Africa House and found myself picking out cinnamon and clove from my hair. Having silky smooth skin and smelling like a Christmas cookie isn't so bad so the Singo Scrub gets two thumbs up!