Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter, everyone! Schools were closed for Holy Week, so the principal came from St. Raphael to bring me the list of students needing sponsoring for next year. Most of them are teenagers.

Every day, someone comes to the house asking for money to pay for a funeral, or to get someone out of jail who is there because they had no money to pay for a funeral. Every day, a couple of kids come in asking for sponsoring. I had to tell them that I didn't know how much money we would have, and I started taking a waiting list. But there were so many, I am now asking them to come back in the summer when we know how much money we have, and know how many we can sponsor.

We did more painting at the house this week -- a communal work group. It will take a long time, but we will get it done. There was some type of stomach bug going around this week -- everyone seemed to have it -- so I wasn't able to go look at the bed situation as I had planned.

I recommend a book I am currently reading about Haiti, The Serpent and The Rainbow, by Wade Davis.

Till next week, Sharon.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

There are still problems with the satellite downlink in the internet cafes, so I am using the owner's machine. I purchased paint and brushes last week and started to paint the house in preparation for our visitors in the summer.

As the kids here have conje (holidays), I have hired a couple to work. I've had 2 requests for beds from our kids so will go with them to their homes this week via several taptaps to determine how much sleeping space they have, and then come back to Cap-Haitien, purchase beds and somehow arrange to deliver them. I think that one double bed will sleep 4 of them. Right now they are sleepiing on the floor.

One of our neighbors is a charpent (carpenter) so I ordered 2 tables and 4 benches to be used as work tables to prepare the liv yo (books) and valise yo (backpacks). They were delivered yesterday and are well made and sturdy.

Walked home with Mme Jocelyne, our lesivye (laundress), last week to meet her family -- 7 children under the age of 10, her husband was killed in a marketplace accident 2 years ago. Their house is only about 6' by 6' for 7 people. She wants me to return this week to take pictures of the kids. She told me that what she wants most is to learn to read and write, so will we set up some sort of adult education program? This is out of my area of expertise -- help!!!

Boss electrician came yesterday (Sat.) and tells me that the wiring is now repaired and we can begin to pump water.

Ala pwochen (until the next time),


Sunday, March 13, 2005

I'm still cooking for 8-10 children each day. We've had rice and beans, soup, and one of the NGOs gave us a large can of pork and beans. I usually boil some eggs, and the kids can have a banana, a glass of milk or water, or coffee or tea, and a multivitamin.

I have been able to buy peanut butter in the market so I try to send some home with them. Jack says his wife can roast and grind peanuts into peanut butter for us a gallon at a time, but she needs the containers to put it in, so I'm saving the old containers.

This week, three students came from Cap-Haitien. They heard that a 'blan with a fondasyon' would help send them to school. I think if we ever open up our sponsorship to include kids from Cap-Haitien, there will be a flood of them coming in. But our mandate right now is kids from St. Raphael.

One man, a 30-year-old, only about 4-foot-two tall, came in with his kids, his birth certificate and his report card. He has been putting himself through school by working one year then going to school the next, and is now ready for his final year. The others were newly orphaned, and in need of help. A few parents came in, hoping we could pay for the funeral for their children, one for a 10 year old girl in grade three. I felt bad that I had to turn them down -- she was the age of many of ours -- but we need the money for the students.

Elorge and I were able to buy some notebooks, pens and dictionaries. This time of year here, they are a lot cheaper than they are in August when all the kids are getting ready for school. The satellite link for the internet cafe is down, so still no e-mails. It's still raining hard from time to time, and yesterday was blistering hot. the power is out again, and the generator is not pumping water. I could really use an engineer or a very handy handyman to help out.

Till next week,


Sunday, March 6, 2005


Almost immediately upon my arrival, the kids began showing up at Lakay Fondasyon (photo), hoping for food, mattresses and clothes. It's been raining all week, and, with no cook, I have been making pots of soup to feed about 8-10 children each day. It's not much, but at least I can give each of them a multi-vitamin. I had to ask them to not come on the weekends, as I have other work that has to get done.

I bought a small generator, finally, and it's now pumping water from the well. It's not big enough to supply power to the whole house, but it's a start. The wiring in the house continues to cause problems -- the entire compound has no power today -- and the landlord's electrician is here rewiring the house again.

I bought two beds that I can put together today. I had planned to buy three beds but the prices had gone up so much from last year, we will make do with these two for now. The price of propane is also much higher this year. What this means is that now the poor are even hungrier, and dying faster than before. It also means that the money raised so far is not going to come even close to meeting the needs.

Kenbe [hanging in there!], Sharon


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