Thursday, April 20, 2006

April 20-30, 2006 Cap-Haitien

Hello Everyone!

all April we have had hydro for a total of three hours and 45 minutes. Our camera has died a peaceful death. We have tried 3 new batteries -- each one takes 2 pictures then shuts down. I guess we go digital. Unfortunately will not have pictures of our Remembrance Service tomorrow. Perhaps it will be more effective without the presence of a camera.

Cindy in Penn. is mailing the carpenter plane for Djohn. Two if the three boxes she sent arrived and we tracked them down. Our taxi bill is outrageous but we have some shoes, vitamins, Tshirts and tinned food items. It is amazing to watch how the staff become energized when boxes arrive. They take it as a sign that someone cares about Haiti.

School has resumed after Easter Break (Konje Pak) so we are swamped with new 'Starfish' looking for support. At the beginning of the term anyone who has not paid all fees is put out (Yo mete li deyo). They are trying to salvage their year but we nave no money. We have added 28 to the waiting list. If possible, we will take them on in September after our current crop is settled and paid for.

Report cards are being distributed this week and we are seeing positive results from the tutoring that has been ongoing. Of course the young people are feeling better about themselves and Abel is feeling encouraged about his work.

I found an Internet cafe by chance when making a home visit to one of our kids. Abel and I are going to visit as many kids as possible and take photos. We have many without water and toilets, and need numbers in order to further assist. We have so many problems that I need to see for myself. In addition to no food or water or toilets, rats and mosquitoes are problematic.

Bos Plombye (plumber) came Monday and installed a new drain valve on our reservoir, leaving a masonry hole the size of an 18 wheeler, so Bos Mason arrived yesterday to repair both the hole and a leak which ran the circumference of the reservoir. Once the cement dries, we need a good rain to fill the tank and we are ready to wash.

Monday is the Fet de Travay (celebration of work/Labour Day) so only Abel and Degrand will work -- their choice -- and we will make home visits to those who live in Fo sen Michel (Fort Saint Michael).

Thursday we travelled to BelAir with Rose Claudelle (26/01/90 - grade 8AF, second year high school) to see her home. It's 2 rooms, about 5ft.x5ft each. There's a single bed in each room, an outdoor cooking area, an outdoor toilet that cannot be used as it is full. Water must be purchased for 2 gourdes a pail. There are 18 people living in the house, will be 19 when her sister Noseline returns from Port-au-Prince. She is also one of ours but became very ill in October and was taken in by an aunt.

Because of the rat problem, we are buying screening (til) in large quantities and trying to cover window openings. As the walls on the huts are often curved, it is impossible to make a frame. We found a carpenter who will make a small fence (barye) and cover it with til for the front door opening. We are trying this at Dieugrand's house. If it deters the rats we will have more made.

Julia fell on Saturday and landed on a nail which embedded itself in her derriere. The nail is apparently about 3 inches long. Her brother Jack arrived at work on Monday telling me she could not sleep well and had a fever. I sent Abel and Jack on bicycles to his house with money for a taxi and the clinic. It's the only option as she is unable to walk. She is on antibiotics but the nail has not been removed as the clinic does not have a doctor.

[a few days later] Julia's wound swelled (li te enfle) and burst (pete), expelling the nail and she is beginning to heal.

I have often wondered about the psychological dimension of the poverty these young people are experiencing. In the last month 3 of them have come to me thinking there was something wrong because they couldn't stop crying. One said, "I have a problem. I'm remembering my mother and I just cry because she left me. What will happen if you leave too?"

The grief is profound and so deep. I am grateful that it is being expressed. There are no answers and no assurances. We can only be present and listen.

Abel, Carmene and I are putting our heads together to create a 'reflection service' for our kids who have had parents and/or siblings die. The grief is so deep in most of them (and unexpressed) that I thought the time was right. We are planning on Sunday May 7th at 2 p.m.

I leave you with Martin Luther King: 'I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have 3 meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centred people have torn down, other centred people will build up.'

May the world d be filled with audacious people.

Beni-w (blessings),


Friday, April 14, 2006

 Good Friday 2006 Cap-Haitien

Hello again,

Lakay Fondasyon is closed for Good Friday, so I took a taxi to the Roi Christophe to see if I could use a computer. I am unable to continue using the Brothers' internet as they have so little hydro, they need to use the computer themselves when possible. I am searching for other locations. The best answer is our own computer with 'inverter' (I'm not sure what that is) and internet.

I am writing again because yesterday, one of our neighbors dropped dead in front of our house as everyone was leaving for the day. [The girl who died] looked to be about 14 or 15 years old. Two of the men playing dominoes in the street knew her and carried her to her home. She was so thin. This nightmare needs to see the light of day.

Yesterday, Peterson J. was diagnosed with a heart problem, rheumatism and malaria. The hospital is still on strike but the little clinic we discovered is staffed by a Cuban doctor, and seems to be an answer [to our medical needs] for the time being.

A heavy rain and strong winds on Tuesday and again on Thursday brought down most of our mangoes, so our summer crop will be sparse. Also the rain means the kids are sleeping in mud and sewage, so the sick list grows.

Boss Fleuridor, plumber, came yesterday to survey the damage to our rain water reservoir. He will be back Monday to attempt repairs.

Djohn D., carpenter's apprentice, is in need of a 'rabot' (carpenter's plane). If anyone can help with tools, used or new, it would really help.

Marline V.has an ear infection and the list goes on.

Blessings, Alapwochen,


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hello Everyone!

First of all, for those who have been asking about our financial needs ::

* House $400 US per month ($4,800 US/year)
* Food distribution $1200 US per month ($14,400 US/year)
* Per youth (school, apprenticeship, medical, dental, housing etc.) $1000 US
(150 youth @ $1,000 US = $150,000 US/year)

I am squeaking by with $500 US per student/year and $400 per month for food distribution. If we could provide enough for one meal every day, we would cut down on the amount needed for medical support.

The *good* news this week is that the owner of the house is very pleased with the improvements we have made and has invited us to stay on *without* a rent increase. [Note: The 'improvements' were minor, and necessary to make the house habitable.]

Gas has reached $70 Haitian/gallon (about $10 US/gallon) if you can find it. Several strikes and much frustration.

The hospital is still on strike, so I am sending folks to small clinics. However, like the hospital, they are understaffed and overextended. Many people are sick as a result of recent rains: Jean Ricot is being tested for malaria; Rosenie for TB, Esmann for intestinal infection; and Volcy has a fungal infection on his face.

Alex needs a tetanus shot. He stepped on a nail and it went through his shoe, and his foot is infected. We'll try again tomorrow to get a number at the clinic.

Jetho (apprentice with Boss Paul for masonry in Sen Rafayel) is ill. Sr. Jeanette could not diagnose, so she sent him to Dr. Anne., who also could not diagnose, so she sent him to the hospital in Milot.

Dens Excellent came in today to say his 10-year-old sister, Djeniflor, died earlier that morning. He needs money for burial and suitable clothes. Our money is gone. She is the 2nd sibling to die in that family in less than a year -- Benji, age 3, died last summer.

Djohn Dejoie was in this morning, too, from Sen Rafayel, in need of food and another bed. His was stolen in December. Although he only slept on it for 3 months, he finds that he has pain everywhere again from sleeping on the ground. Unable to help him right now.

Abel greeted 115 people at our 'portail' during the last 2 weeks of March. We have added another 20 names to our waiting list. When finances turn around, we will hopefully become proactive instead of always being reactive.

A work group from Rayjon [Canadian charity] came in last week. They were painting for Sr. Rosemary [Sisters of St. Joseph] and all of them came to lunch on Saturday. I have asked them to send a photo for the web site.

Blessings, Kenbe,



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