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.