As I count down the days until I return to Haiti, I've been very busy making arrangements and speaking to groups around southern Ontario. Last week, Pat [board chair Pat Materiuk] and I visited King's College, University of Western Ontario in London, where Pat and I spoke to two first year classes (90 in each) and one third year class. David [board youth liaison, Dave Materiuk] helped with the final presentation. We talked to them about travelling to Cap-Haitien next summer to fulfill their credit placement requirement. These students can receive a full credit toward degree following a placement of one month. Anyone interested in more information about a placement with Starthrower Foundation will contact Pat. She will then meet with them and do all the preparation work.
As these classes were in the evening, Pat had scheduled daytime meetings at John Paul II High School to speak to groups from various grade levels. And a big Thank You to Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School students, chaplain Brenda Holtkamp, and teachers Jane Finney and Hannah Burza. Last Friday, after the final of four presentations, I was presented with a cheque from the Assisi Society.
Mme CIndy In Pennsylvania is making two presentations at local organizations, and showing the video, which was made this past summer in Haiti. Cindy is putting the video on DVD and refining to 15 minutes. (Thanks, Cindy! Editing video is a huge task!)
Last Sunday, I showed the video to a gathering at the home of Ann, in Caledon. It was a very enjoyable afternoon with many new faces asking questions about Haiti and our work there. And on November 23rd, Harmony Natural Health Clinic, in Orangeville, will hold an open house. Bev [board secretary-treasurer Bev Fleming] will be there with the Starthrower Foundation display, and will answer questions about our work in Haiti. Dr. Wendy, the owner of Harmony Natural Health Clinic, will be enlisting sponsors for her marathon run in January.
Terri Holden, a personal trainer at Fit for Your Life, in Orangeville, is holding a Christmas get-together fund raiser for Starthrower (date to be announced). Terri will be showing either the video or the shortened DVD, which Cindy will be sending to us here.
Thanks to those who purchased some of the art works [catalogue list has been amended to show those works still available]. I know that Fritz, the artist, will be very pleased to receive payment for his works, which will help make this Christmas a very special one for him and his young family. Thanks, too, to those who visited Abel at Lakay Fondasyon last week, and dropped off protein powder and vitamins.
Bev and I have also been busy trying to arrange shipment to Haiti of the donations sitting here in Orangeville. Last Saturday, four students from Robert Hall Secondary School, two students from Orangeville District Secondary School, and our amazing accountant, Nancy Pratt, and her daughters, Samantha and Jennifer, arrived at my place at 9 a.m., and we packed donations until 3 p.m. Approximately two-thirds of donations are now packed, labelled and ready to go. It will not be possible to pack the remaining donations before I leave. We have been offered space to ship half a pallette (28 cu.ft/12 banana boxes) and three boxes of ring notebooks, on a shipment leaving Canada for Cap-Haitien this weekend. This very generous offer comes from another NGO working in Cap-Haitien. It allows us to send backpacks, vitamins, pencil cases, T-shirts, socks and some toothbrushes. We still have roughly two palettes to be shipped. Bev is looking into other arrangements for these boxes. We believe the best route would be to send the remaining 40 banana boxes by either truck or air to Ft. Lauderdale, then ship by sea to Cap Haitien. We have found a reliable, and not too expensive shipping company in Ft. Lauderdale. Bev is currently searching for a trucking company to donate the cost of transport from Orangeville to Ft. Lauderdale, as well as a preferred rate from an air carrier.
I leave Orangeville on Monday, November 20th, and arrive in Cap-Haitien on Wednesday, November 22. Thanks to generous donations received to date, we currently have funds to keep all programs going until March 2007. Donations made between now and February, which are needed to keep operating beyond March 1, will be transferred to me in Haiti.
The Starthrower Foundation annual general meeting will take place early in the new year. Those of you (or someone you know) in southern Ontario, who would like to be considered for a position on the Starthrower Foundation board of directors, please contact Bev for details using the email form.
Until next time, kenbe red,kenbe pa lage