I find it difficult to update this blog because I tend to feel like I’m talking to myself – there’s no dialogue. That’s why I’m really happy Phil wrote me with some questions about Clean Water for Haiti, living in Haiti and being the Rolling family. He writes:
I was wondering if you or Leslie would consider writing a blog post about what its like to be missionaries while having children with you- do you home school, do your kids get bullied because they are different, does it affect relationships with your families in North America- things like that? And I was also wonder just out of curiosity- How far do you distribute your filters? And are you the only one who is doing this? Do you plan on expanding in the future?
Anyone that has been reading this blog or our family blog (http://rollingsinhaiti.wordpress.com) will have read posts that have touched on some or all of these things, but I know Phil is a newer reader so I’m happy to answer his questions. In fact, we love having questions because it lets us know what you’re interested in reading about.
We are very fortunate to have access to an English school to put our kids in. The school is run by a missionary friend of ours, Gary Walker. The school is set up on the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) program. Olivia is the only student in the school who speaks English as her first language, so she has a bit of an advantage over the other kids. Funnily enough, she only learned Creole after she started attending the school in 2011. She seems to fit in quite well. She is very social and loves going to school. I’m a little concerned about Alex because he will be the only white kid in the school when he starts going a few years from now. However, whatever does not kill him will only make him stronger and he has good parents :). Leslie works very hard for the mission so homeschooling would have been very difficult for us.
As far as our relationships with the grandparents goes, obviously they would like to have their grandchildren closer. Leslie and I have been here long enough that relationships with people at home have inevitably suffered, and that includes relationships with our families. Relationships require a certain investment of time, and we’re just not there to put the time in. A sad reality of doing what God has called us to do. At some point or another all the members of our immediate families have been to visit us here so they’ve got an understanding of what our life is like and that’s helped a lot in bridging that gap.
We distribute filters up to 90 minutes drive away from where we are located. We will only deliver full truck loads – 34 filters – when we deliver at a distance of more than 5 miles or so. The main highway was completely rebuilt within the past few years, so 90 minutes drive will take us to within a large percentage of Haiti’s population.
No, we are not the only ones doing this. We have trained dozens of organizations and supplied them with the molds they need to build the filters. Over 10,000 filters have been built and installed by organizations we have trained. However, we are the only project that is continually installing filters. Our motto is “Empowering, Improving, Sustaining” and I think the only way to hold to that is to work continuously rather than in fits and starts. We have made huge strides in filter quality, product reputation, user adoption rate, and reducing our cost per filter that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise but oops, now I’m getting outside of the range of your question. I’m proud of our project, what can I say.
Yes, we plan on expanding in the future. However, the best laid plans of mice and men aft gang abray. We were on the way to making a large expansion at the end of 2010 but due to the secret manipulations of some disgruntled employees we experienced some profound organizational issues that substantially set back the project. Our foundations are much stronger now, but it will still take some time to regain the momentum we had in 2010. We are currently installing about 120 filters per month, but we would like to be averaging about 230 here before we start planning a second location for manufacturing.