Bonne annee, everyone!
Abel (the student we sponsored for auto ecole) started working full time here at Lakay Fondasyon last week. He is looking after visitor intake at the security gate (portail), record keeping, tutoring, food purchase, packaging and distribution.
This means that Starthrower Foundation is now able to continue distributing weekly food packages even when I am in Canada. And, when we purchase our truck, we will have Abel as a chauffeur. He is a great help, since I am a blan (foreigner), I am at greater risk of harm when I use public transport. Abel is also tutoring Jocelyn, our laundress (lesivye), who is learning to read and write. In the process, we discovered that we have an incorrect last name for her, but do not know how to spell the correct one, as she has no birth, baptismal or marriage certificates.
Starthrower also covered the burial costs for Joseph's family and added the names of all his siblings to our list of those eligible for medical help at the clinic in Sen Rafayel. Unfortunately, the clinic closed this week so our 80 or so kids in the village are without medical care.
Mme Joseph continues to cook for the students in Sen Rafayel (St. Raphael), although it is not possible to provide her with food sacks due to often violent civil unrest and we cannot offer any security. Elorge and Deles came down the mountain from Sen Rafayel last week for supplies. The high price of gas has raised the price of a return bus fare. It is now $40 Haitian (about $5 USD) for a round trip. Three years ago, it cost $5 Haitian (less than $1USD). [The average daily wage in Haiti is $2USD.]
The country was closed Monday for a general strike (grev), and because of the increasing violence leading up to the nnational elections (now due to be held on February 7, the original inauguration date), the schools have remained closed for an extra week. They might reopen next Monday, January 16.
Plumber (Bos Plombye) came on Tuesday and changed our bathroom tap. We now have running cold water as opposed to dripping cold water. No, that's not true -- the tap still drips as well.
We have 50 people on the list for weekly food sacks. We also provide a sandwich, some fruit and a drink for everyone who comes to the house. We also need more multivitamins. Everyone is taking them faithfully, and I think it will make a difference. We are making peanut butter (mamba) this week. We try to give to each person a jar to supplement the rice and beans.
My time at the internet cafe is almost up. Good to have the opportunity to touch base.