When I was in Port-au-Prince last week, I found it to be a city living in fear. At the Canadian embassy, we were warned to avoid many areas of the city. Of course, these areas, for us, were unavoidable, so we travelled with extreme caution (and a wonderful chauffeur). Kidnappings are an hourly rather that daily occurrence in PAP, and gunfire in some places is constant.
Back home in Cap-Haitien, Soeur Ginette has presented her bill for services and meds for 2006-2007. She is a Canadian religious sister and nurse working in Sen Rafayel. She has been here for 35 years. Her little clinic keeps our kids alive. We have 80 on the list for her, and 36 of those saw her for a total of 110 visits. Of those, everyone was anaemic (no surprise), and 18 had malaria, 2 had typhoid, 34 had skin infections, 10 had pneumonia, 10 had eye and ear infections as well as parasites, diarrhea, accidents, dehydration, vaginal infections etc. We paid a total of 30,000 gourdes/$857.00 USD (divide by 35 for U.S. equivalency).
On Wednesday, we worked with M. Carlos making our video. We filmed Lakay Fondasyon inside and out, showing our work, Then on Friday, we piled into a truck (with a bad starter) and made 6 home visits to our kids all over Cap-Haitien. We finished the video back at Lakay Fondasyon, on the gallery, with a few words from Abel, Jack, Rosenie and me. The finished product will be ready for Monday (August 14). It will need a lot of editing in Canada but, hopefully, it will provide a sense of what we are doing and WHY.
Usually I pool donated funds to provide support for as many as possible. However, I am now asking for special help for two of our girls.
1) Erzilia A., who did not pass 8eme, which is not a surprise as her mother died this year (her dad died many years ago). She is deep in depression, and struggling to care for several younger siblings. She would like to learn 'couture et cuisine' (cooking and sewing). I found a small private school in our neighbourhood. She went to see it and smiled for the first time since I have known her. It's a 2-year course and the cost is $300 USD a year (see photo :: Starfish).
2) Marlene D. came to us 6 years ago, and is all alone in the world. She shares a 'ti kay' (little house) with Rosenie and Marie Carmene. She just successfully completed Philo (7th and final year) and wants to be a nurse. The training here is 3 years (if you can get in). It is expensive even to apply. We are in the process of securing the papers needed to write the entrance tests. Will know amount needed after successful entrance exam.
Last year, Starthrower sponsored 150 students, and there are 30 on the waiting list. Of these 180 kids, we have enrolled 11 who attend the least expensive high school and 4 in apprenticeships.
Thanks to Mme Sue in the U.K. for her donation for scientific calculators and other supplies. Since these calculators are like gold here, I will wait until I can bring them back with me when I return December 1. The kids understand, and the calculators will make a good Christmas gift. Mme Cindy in the U.S. and I are setting up accounts with CASCO, a shipping company that should be less expensive to ship goods to Cap-Haitien.
Re: My health :: I am taking Buscopan, an antispasmodic, that seems to be helping to keep me on my feet. After a full day's wait in another doctorès waiting room, I finally gave up and went to the clinic on our 'cornwe' where I send our kids. They have a Cuban doctor there. I waited all morning to be told by a nurse practitioner to come back the next day at 10 a.m. It was she who suggested I try the Buscopan along with anti nausea meds. But when I came back the the next day, I was told the doctor had gone to Port-au-Prince. I will phone him on the weekend. I will return to Canada for treatment if necessary, but for now I am okay.
Internet has been difficult this past week, with the computers either crashing or sending multiples and cutting out. I will try to send more information this week.