Friday, July 22, 2005

There's still no hydro, no phone, though we had hydro for about 2 hours on Monday night, but only 2 rooms had current. Boss Electrisyon has been by several times but cannot ascertain problem without [working] hydro. Ditto the other Boss Electrisyon who services refrigerators. It appears that ours has 'died'. Without hydro, it is a very nice icebox. The temperature reached 140F yesterday, and the large blocks of ice we buy on the street last about 4 hours.

We have 15 students working at the house -- about 10 are digging a new garbage pit in the garden area and cleaning the security wall in preparation for whitewashing. The others are working on the gallery with textbooks. They have finished cleaning, repairing and covering the books, which are now ready to add to the backpacks that Pat, Amy and Marisa are bringing with them when they come in August. Then we can sort texts according to grade level and school. While that is going on, two others will scour the market every day with a list of the books we still need.

I have been able to purchase rice and beans in large sacks and I am distributing small sacks of each on Fridays, along with magi (spice) and a little oil. I travelled to Diegrand's house on Tueday to see it. He borrowed the money for rent and is working it off. He's so proud of the one room dirt fllo he shares with his sister.

Boss Plombier repaired our reservoir yesterday and we are able to pump water again. Boss Mason has almost finished the increased security wall. We are going to build a small patio in the corner of the garden when he is finished. (We need a way to use all the rocks the neighbours have tossed into our yard over the years.) It will be magnificent.

Many come knocking on portail daily asking for help to complete high school, each bringing the necessary supporting documents. We don't need to go looking for kids -- they are finding us. We could easily compile a list of 500.

Time is up - kenbe - Sharon

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hello everyone,

Today is the first working internet service since I arrived. There's still no phone or hydro. Gas costs $30/gallon now, and once again, the price of material for uniforms and for food are higher, with very limited quantities available.

A very sad day today, as we have just buried Djempson Cadeau, 7. His brother Kesner, 16, is one of the students we sponsor. Kesner is the head of this family of four. The mom and dad are both dead. Kesner is filled with guilt that he did something wrong as he could not keep his brother alive.

This family's situation underscores our mission to support students in school and at home, as well as pay for medical and dental when needed. It is not possible to pay for only for schooling, since if the other factors are ignored, these young people will be most likely be repeating every year. It is simply not possible to learn or attend regularly when you are hungry, sick or frightened.

Since robberies are on the rise, apparently, M. Brutus has installed a back door in the kitchen at Lakay Fondasyon, and he is in the process of increasing the height of our security wall which he will top with barbed wire. Another 'Boss' is coming to fix the roof which has been leaking. In addition, one of our reservoirs on the roof is leaking, and so I have been spending a lot of time hiring appropriate help, and purchasing and transporting supplies, as well as doing the actual work.

Local travel is very difficult as tap taps won't stop for 'blan -yo (foreigners) any more, and taxis are asking double the agreed upon fare when you go to pay. The people's anger and frustration seem to have reached the boiling point and with no other outlet for venting, we bear the brunt. Haiti seems to be a country holding its breath.

Kenbe, Sharon

Thursday, July 7, 2005

I arrived in Cap-Haitien on July 1, and I am busy getting the house organized for visitors in early August, when Pat Materiuk will coming down here with Amy and Melissa, both university students from Ontario on a poverty awarness/familiarization trip. They plan to be here for several weeks, and I will ask them to email reports to you all with their impressions and views on what they learn here.

Haitian young people continue to come to Lakay Fondasyon, on the average, about one new visitor every half hour. They seem to be aware of Starthrower's mandate to help high school age students with tuition, as all of them fall into that category. However, with limited funds available to pay for the students we currently assist, we simply do not have funds to help any others. All I can do is listen to their stories, and occasionally add a name to the waiting list, which is now at 20 students.

M. Claude Boucher, Canada's ambassador to Haiti, (Canada's Embassy in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti) hosted a reception here in Cap-Haitien for Canadians who are working here with NGOs (non-government organizations) and charities. It was very interesting to meet him for a brief chat before he was called away.

Until next time,



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