Good news -- Soeur Ginette (the nurse who has been running a clinic here for 30 + years) has agreed to take on our kids in Sen Rafayel. We have given her a list of their names and some money to cover the meds she dispenses. I will settle with her in July when I come back here and travel up to Sen Rafayel. Anything she cannot handle, she is sending to the hospital in Pignon. This is good as we no longer will have everyone having to head further up the mountain for treatment when they are ill.
As you know, many of our kids are orphans and eat intermittently. One of our moms, Mme Joseph, needed rent and food money. She has started cooking for not only her own family but also two other families of 8 children with no parents. She receives a salary which means she can pay her rent. This is a pilot project for Apr-May-June. I will assess it on July 1. We are also starting a pilot project to put kids together according to grade level and subject strengths and weaknesses, like peer tutoring in Canada.
Gastel, another of our kids in Sen Rafayel, failed all his subjects, which would put him out of the Lycee. However, Met Directeur (the principal) recognized that Gastel was "malnouri" and kept him in school, then told Elorge about this, and Elorge then told me. We have created a part time job for Gastel so that now he can eat.
The psychological effects of poverty are haunting. When I travelled to Esmann's house to see about space for the new bed, his cousin with whom he lives showed me what they wanted to build and how much they needed. The house was spotless; she obviously works very hard. She must have said a dozen times "nou pa gen possibilite" (We have no choices). It would take less than $200US to greatly improve their quality of life.
Another woman, Mme Theopyl, came with pictures and school records for all 8 of her children. The youngest is 5 and has stubborn TB. She asked for help for the oldest boy to finish high school -- just $17US. The next day, a little woman came with her 3 childen. They were all wearing black, as her husband -- their father -- was recently deceased.
Each of these three women said the same thing in their own way, that is, "I do not want to 'mande charite' (ask for charity) but when you have children, sometimes you have to do what you do not like."
Two students, Julia and Daniel, are working part time at Lakay Fondasyon every morning from 8-11. They cover text books, eat, go to school. I knew they were not eating so created more jobs. Julia came out of the "douch deyo" (outdoor shower) and I asked her if she had water at her house to wash. She said no, she has to buy it for $2 a bucket. I asked the rest of the house staff about their water at home. Carmene pays $1 a bucket to wash and she has a family of 5. It costs her $30 a month for her family to bathe. The last person gets a little dirty water. And that is when they have money.
When you are poor, you must buy water to wash, and to drink and still need money to eat and buy clothes in "pepe" (market goodwill offerings). You also must pay to send your children to school, and because there are no jobs, you must find a charity and beg.
Denis Excellent came in yesterday afternoon. His 10 year old brother, Benji, had just died and was still in the house. It sometimes seems we have more funerals than kids in school.
The 2 card men came up with their "modele-yo" (samples). M. Wilson is making some for us. I bought some regular cards from M. Ronald as he could not translate the story of the Starthrower.
Kenbe pa lage
Sharon (somewhere in beautiful, downtown Ste. Phylomene)