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  • Toby Banks

So, We Moved

Last September, we were surprised when five of our girls from HOPE Orphanage told us they moved out of the orphanage and asked us to help them. We reached out to contacts and were blessed to find a safe apartment for the girls. When several months later, three others joined them, we needed to find a place with more than 2 bedrooms. Again, we were blessed by friends with a 5 bedroom apartment that belonged to the school where our son Josh and his wife Paige work. So the girls moved. This school year, the school needs the apartment for teacher housing so, it was time to move again.

Josh and Paige found a home about a mile from where they live that missionaries were vacating and hooked us up with that connection. It has enough space and is in a safe place. The missionaries were selling the solar panels, inverters and batteries that they had installed on the house. We decided that even though it was a bigger up-front expense, it would save money in the long run to keep this system. The apartment at the school had supplied furnishings, appliances, water, electric, generator, inverters and batteries. The house was missing a large majority of this stuff. Easier to move without all that big stuff you would think, but remember TIH (this is Haiti).

We had about a week to accomplish the move.

Day 1: Four of the girls participated in a ballet program that we all went to see. They had been working for several months on this show and we were delighted by a well done performance. We spent some time reconnecting, hearing the latest news and planning the upcoming move.

Day 2: Sent the girls to church in the morning but Tim and I couldn’t go because the former tenant of the apartment came with movers to get his stuff out of storage and to gather the furnishings the girls had been using including the living room furniture and several beds. The girls had sorted through clothes but that was the extent of the prep work. We had 4 boxes and LOTS of trash bags, and so it began. As it turns out, our truck had been filled with diesel that was “supplemented” with water, so that was being fixed. Josh and Paige have a nice four runner that runs on gas, however gas is scarce and hard to find. That ruled out that vehicle. We contacted a friend and explained our dilemma, they offered the use of their truck for the entire next day. So we spent the day packing trash bags and trying to organize.

Day 3: Four of the girls had dentist appointments. Between them, they had 25 cavities that needed filled. They were not happy. Neither were we. Lessons on brushing and flossing ensued. Then we got the truck and started moving. Anpil men fe chay pa lou is a Kreyol saying that means many hands make light work. While I wouldn’t say it was light work, we managed to get a lot of stuff to the new place. We found that the house was infested with roaches. We also discovered that the water tank on the roof only held 200 gallons of water. To get the water from the cistern to the roof, we needed to use a generator. The generator on the property had already been sold but they told us we could use it to pump water until the new owner came to get it. The generator only runs for about 15 minutes before overheating. But we filled the tank. Shortly after that, the girls told us we were out of water. How could that be? Investigation showed that all of the toilets were leaking. Not dripping or oozing, but really leaking. The innards were shot, and they needed wax rings to keep from rocking so much you fell off! We also could not get the washer to work. We tabled those issues since we only had the truck for the day. We had sent a driver to try and find gas so we would have use of the car for the next day. After 8 hours he came back empty handed and was going to try again in the morning.

Day 4: The driver was able to find a few gallons of gas so we had the car to use. We ran out of time the night before and were not able to move the couple beds we had so some of the girls crashed at Josh and Paige’s house and some at the old apartment. We gathered everyone together, got some food and went to the new place. We had called an exterminating service to come for the roaches, mice and rats. While waiting on them we took an inventory of needed supplies tucked away a few things in their new homes. After the exterminators came to give an estimate, we went out to get appliances. We needed a stove and fridge, we found a used freezer, we needed some beds with mattresses, and we needed something to sit on. We left most of the girls to organize things and went out to get the things for the toilets, find appliances and beds, and buy some additional security lights to install. We had an appointment for the exterminators to come and treat the house for the next morning and again dispersed to find a place to sleep.

Day 5: Started working on toilets, lights and other things that needed done. Fixed the washer so we could wash clothes and greeted the exterminators. We had to keep the dogs out of the area, so we got them situated at Josh and Paige’s. Then we had to disappear for a couple of hours while they treated the house. We rewarded the girls for their hard work with brunch at a nearby café. Upon our return to the house we were astonished by the hundreds of dead roaches. They came up from everywhere. The kept showing up and keeling over all day and night. We decided that the kitchen cabinets needed painted and lined. The girls did a great job painting over the next 2 days. We continued to work on mechanical issues and discovered that there was a short between the solar inverter and the batteries, thus the batteries were not holding a charge. The search for a technician began. Then while working to put a new wax ring on one of the toilets, the waterline to the shower was drilled, resulting in an Old Faithful-type geyser. This required an additional hardware store run to find appropriate pvc to repair. We also decided that we needed to get a bigger water tank on the roof so we ordered one of those and bought the plumbing supplies to connect the 2 tanks (Thanks to Greg Benson for the technical advice).

Day 6: Took some of the girls to get bedding for the new beds, some of the girls stayed to paint the kitchen cabinets and we ordered a generator. The most amazing thing happened with the generator. Tim called a guy and ordered what we needed at 9 am, he went and paid for it at 10 am and by 1 pm the generator was installed and working! This was unprecedented. While the generator was being installed we took delivery of the appliances and furniture. The living room is upstairs and the steps are narrow. The delivery guys told us that it would be impossible to put the furniture upstairs, it took some cajoling and some demanding and some begging, but eventually it was put upstairs.

Day 7: Lights and fans installed. Temporary closets in some rooms created. Toilets installed. And for the grand finale, the solar tech came, found and fixed the short circuit and the batteries began to charge. The kitchen was organized, groceries were purchased and we had a home cooked dinner and a family movie night.

Day 8: Mom and dad headed back to the U.S. We were doing some last minute tasks, hanging hooks and bars to hang towels, washing walls, and assigning tasks to complete to everyone. The driver came to take us to the airport and we had not even gathered our stuff. We quickly decided to leave a carry-on bag with clothes and shoes and other things we can keep in Haiti to save luggage space on return trips, and to take out 4 suitcases of household goods and items for a missionary family moving to the U.S. We were throwing phones and cords and computers into a carry on in the back seat of the truck on the way to the airport and made it in time to get through the airport and to our flight. Once in the air we realized that the key to the vehicle we had left in Columbus for our return was in the carry-on we left behind in Haiti. EEEEEKKK! After a very quick stop in Miami, we moved through the air to Columbus. Since it was very late, we decided to rent a car to get home and come back the next day with the spare key to get our ride. Tim left to get the rental, I waited on the luggage. Imagine my surprise when 2 of our bags did not arrive. AA baggage told us the bags were there at the airport and they were looking for them. After 1.5 hours, I convinced them to deliver them the next day. As it turns out, no-one actually KNEW where those bags were. Fast-forward to today, Thursday (we arrived home Saturday night), after approximately 3 hours on the phone with multiple people in multiple airports, the 2 missing bags magically appeared on our porch.

All in all the move was as successful as it could be, the girls are settled and happy, and hope to never move again. The week was expensive:

$5300 Solar Panels, inverters and batteries

$6000 Appliances, beds mattresses, and furniture

$6600 Rent ($1100 per month paid in 6 month increments)

$1000 Exterminator, trash removal (what pervious owners left behind), water

$ 700 Water storage tank and supplies

$6000 Generator and installation

$1000 Fans, toilets, plumbing supplies, security lights

$ 800 Truck repair (water in diesel)

$27,400 total

*We still owe about $8000 for the truck purchase*

Please consider partnering with us, having us come and share at your church or gathering, and praying for the girls as they find their place in the world.


Tim and Toby for Raising Hope Ministries

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook as the girls are learning to create and post content.

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