After a crazy year that saw our family living at 7 different addresses in 3 countries, we’re finally starting to stabilize for a season.
A quick recap if you weren’t aware of what our life has been like:
-Jan 2020 – Flew to Haiti, super excited and re-energized, ready to spend most of 2020 there. We applied for Jamie’s green card then, so we had our eyes on leaving Haiti when that finished, expecting it to be right around…now (June 2021).
-Feb 21, 2020 – Car Accident with Anderson and myself. He still has a bum shoulder, so pray for him. We’re hoping to get him to a surgeon soon, but it’s hard with everything going on in Haiti this year.
Me, I have plates on my jaws and cheekbones, but I’m physically doing as well as I could hope to be considering I’m 36 years old and could probably use more exercise in my routine.
-June, 2020 – Had to leave the US because Jamie’s visa was expiring. Haiti was still closed, so we ended up in Finland thinking it would be for 2-3 months. Her green card was moving faster than expected, so that was exciting, but we figured we’d get back to the US in September or so. Ended up living in 3 different apartments, but it was an amazing time for our family despite the COVID restrictions.
-January, 2021 – Still in Finland. Green card finally arrived. (Side note: While there, I applied for residency in Finland, basically the equivalent to a green card. It took about 3 weeks and $500. Let’s just say the process in the US takes much longer and costs significantly more).
-Moved back to the US at the end of January, 2021. Jamie’s green card officially ended our time of residency in Haiti, as we need to live in the US to start the clock towards Jamie getting U.S. Citizenship. (Don’t worry, she doesn’t have to give up Finnish citizenship, not that she would. lol) That’s the long term plan. Then we will be free to come and go from the US whenever we please, and be free to go wherever God would have us next.
-February, 2021 – Moved into our own apartment. Sure, it’s above my parents’ garage, but it’s OUR place, so that’s awesome. Jamie killed it on the interior decorating so it’s beautiful, cozy, and very international 🙂
-Same week as we moved in, I applied to a job through a friend’s referral. Terri is a solar engineer and we met in Haiti over 5 years ago when we worked together on a few projects. She said SunCommon may be looking for some more engineers to do remote work. I applied on a Monday and had a job offer by Friday in the same week. Jehovah-Jireh!
-Before my start date, I took a quick trip to Haiti for <3 days because of COVID restrictions. It was the best worst week of my life. It was amazing to see all our dear friends, my brothers and sisters down there. It was terrible to pack up our house, without Jamie and the kids, and say goodbye to those same friends.
So what now?
F1 Engineering is not done. Things have just shifted.
In Haiti, we will continue to rent the shop and support our crew. When work is available, we will continue to do solar work to support missions and organizations throughout the country.
I now work at SunCommon as a solar design engineer from a home office here in PA though they are based in Rhinebeck, NY and Waterbury, VT. The work is great and has been a huge learning experience already. I’ve learned more about solar in 2 months than I learned in a couple years in Haiti. Good news, we didn’t screw things up too badly down there. Great news, I now have more knowledge to share with our crew and anyone else I can support in Haiti.
We are very excited to have an active project right now. Wings of Hope, an orphanage for special needs children, is based in Jacmel and started inquiring about solar over 2 years ago. Obviously, it’s been a rough season to work on projects, and it took them a bit to get the funding together, but it’s finally moving forward. This will be the pilot project to see how well I can work remotely.
I’m currently working on assembling the “brains” of the system, including the Inverters, Charge Controllers, and circuit protections in the garage here in PA. That will get shipped to Miami, then on to Port Au Prince by boat.
From PAP, we’ll get this crate, along with Solar Panels, Batteries, and other materials purchased in Haiti, and send them on a flight with MAF from PAP to Jacmel. This will keep our crew safe since Route National #2, the only road into PAP from the South, is constantly a hot zone for gang activity including kidnappings and violence.
I also have a couple other projects in mind, but they are still in the beginning stages, so I don’t want to share too much cause things change quickly, especially in regards to Haiti, these days.
All in all, our family is doing reasonably well as we finally get to settle in one location and establish some routines in this seasons. Mara and Aiden are growing so fast, and they are really smart. It’s great to be around my family for a bit, and it was a blessing to be with Jamie’s Mom for much of our time in Finland as well. It was a rough year, but there were some pretty great highlights as well.
Please keep us all in your prayers as we are still recovering, mostly in an emotional/mental/spiritual sense, from a tumultuous season, but also praise God with us that we are still alive and doing well.