Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hello Everyone!

Here is my update, with an urgent plea for donations.

We were able to purchase propane on Saturday, and so are able to cook daily again. Also, I have had success with a combination of peanut butter (mamba) and protein powder in restoring energy, but the protein powder is now gone. Any help from anyone would be appreciated.

Hospital Justinien is on strike again as the doctors have not been paid.

The boxes arrived from Pennsylvania last week. The jeans and t-shirts fairly flew out the door as everyone is writing exams and schools are going on field trips. The new clothes are just wonderful, and the kids were all so excited, I took a picture with the last of my film. Eleven students asked for field trip money (We sponsor 150 students in total), and it was only a few dollars each. For the girls, it was the first time they had worn long pants. The field trips are to various sites, like to Labadie to climb the mountain and see the historic ruins, to the Citadelle, and to Kenscott, a small city also with ruins. There are lots of ruins in Haiti. This is the first time our kids have been able to go on the trips.

Cindy in the U.S.(who arrangesd the t-shirts and jeans, etc.) is preparing more supplies and they should arrive mid April. Now we need a container to ship donated goods still waiting in Canada. Can anyone help with this?

In preparing the birthday lists (an idea borrowed from Ron and Diana, a couple from the States who run an orphanage in Petit Anse), I realized that I have miscounted and we currently have 150 students on our lists. Ron and Diana take all the children in their orphanage to swim at a local hotel pool once a month to celebrate birthdays. Our birthday party will be on a smaller scale -- cake and pop on the last Saturday of every month.

Many do not know their actual birthday. Dieugrand's mom died when he was 10, his dad when he was 12. He raised his sister, Christamene. When the opportunity arose for him to go to school, he had no birth certificate. Sister Cecilia talked with women in the village who had known his family, discerned an approximate date and presented that information to the local magistrate for an 'acte de naissance' (birth certificate).

TJ was left as a newborn in a garbage dump. The people who took him in gave him a name and a birth date.

We have sponsored Guilene Mesadieu for 8 years. She is blind from birth, and attends a special school in Port-au-Prince. She has asked that we try to find a manual braille typewriter and a portable tape recorder.

I have never put out a special request for funds but the reality is that without an infusion of new money over the next 2 months, Lakay Fondasyon will close at the end of June 2006. Two years ago, I was given a generous, anonymous donation to "keep me safe" in Haiti. I chose to put it into creating a place where many others, too, could feel safe. That money is gone and the lease on Lakay Fondasyon ends in June.

Last year, I sold my house and car and used that money to sponsor the program. Some wonderful people in England, Canada and the United States are working very hard to support us. However, six people cannot shoulder the burden of this work. It requires many more.

Our web master tells me that we get more than 1200 web site 'hits' each month. If you are reading this, why are you reading this? What is your interest in Starthrower Foundation and in Haiti, and what is your response? Do you think this [situation in Haiti] is sad? Or do you recognize the injustice and want to help? If so, what are you doing about it? Please help keep our doors open and give these young people 'possibilite'.

Blessings, Namaste


Monday, March 20, 2006

Hello Everyone!

It's been busy since I returned a few weeks ago. Here's what's been happening.

Laura's visit [student, London, Canada] came and went in the blink of an eye. Our parcels from Cindy [Starthrower US] are now in Cap-Haitien -- I got the email today -- so I will send Jack to pick them up when I get back home.

Marcellus comes to study every day. On Friday, I gave him the running shoes he had asked for last time, as well as one of the French 'mot cache' books from Yvette in Montreal. Then he told me that it was his birthday, so I checked the records, and he just turned 18. That gave me an idea: I will start a Birthday Club here and acknowledge birthdays by the month. I will post the list on the gallery for all to see, along with pictures. These young people have no one to say 'Happy Birthday' to them, as most are orphans. Abel is compiling the list.

Blessings to Sue Simeon for the money for two of the boys for clothes and food. Thanks too, to all who donated towards vitamins. We are distributing them very rapidly. About a dozen new people come knocking on the portail daily, asking for help with school or apprenticeship. I cannot compile list for future use as there are no addresses here or phone numbers where we can contact them.

Prices continue to rise and some inferior products are creeping in, making things difficult. Like the beans we bought for distribution before I left: They are too hard and take 4-6 hours to cook. Nobody has that much charbo (charcoal), which is $100 Haitian [$15 US] a sak. Hopefully, the new batch will prove more user friendly.

We had a problem at customs upon arrival this time. Haitian official charged me $300 Haitian/$43 US to bring in 36 backpacks. Half were in Laura's luggage but I got dinged because of the "quantity". We need a container for shipments, and someone who can navigate it through customs.

There's been no hydro for the week so we are using ice like crazy. Rosenie A.'s brother, Yvon, brought a gift on onions this morning. We bailed him out of prison in St. Raphael after he was jailed for not being able to pay for their father's funeral.

At one of the schools in St. Raphael, 0-Bon Berger, there are not enough benches or desks for the kids. When one of our students demanded a place to sit, the director called in the police and had him hauled up before a magistrate. We have 25 kids in that school. I will withdraw them next year and find a school which can accommodate all.

I am still looking for someone to cook up in St. Raphael, as most who come down the mountain seeking help are without food in addition to needing school fees. The average age in Haiti is 16. That means that about 4 to 4.5 million are under age 16, and many are heads of families due to parental deaths. This is SO big. One at a time.




Monday, March 13, 2006

Toronto, Canada

Hello, Everyone!

Sharon is on her way back to Cap-Haitien, in the company of Laura, a London, Ontario high school student making her first trip to Haiti.

Unfortunately, Sharon's time in Canada this past month was not as productive as usual, as she was being treated for a bacterial infection contracted in Haiti. Such infections are a fact of life, despite every precaution. We all wish her a full, and hopefully speedy, recovery. [If you are traveling to Haiti, see the CDC Shigella Information Page for details.]

As soon as she is able, Sharon will send updates via email. I will be posting the pictures she brought back with her as soon as I receive them.

Thanks to all who supported Laura's fundraising Bowling for Haiti to help finance her trip. While Sharon continues to recuperate, Laura will be a great help at Lakay Fondasyon for the two weeks she will be there.

And thanks, too, to all who are supporting Francilien, the U.K. marathoner, who is dedicating two Marathon fundraisers to Starthrower Foundation.



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