Sunday, September 16, 2007

Things We Need -- Updated List

Hello Everyone,

We are madly trying to get everyone in school. Hope to finish inskripson this week then begin paying trimeste fees. Money has been distributed and the kids are responsible for finding a tailor or seamstress, as well as purchasing shoes (hard to find good black dress shoes -- one thing we could use -- new only sizes 6-12 incl. no heels for the girls).

Micheline cried all during work yesterday, so after feeding her and suggesting she lay down, she fell asleep for 2 hours. When she woke, she told us she has been put out of her ti kay and must find a new place by Friday. Housing is such a problem.

The state radio tells us that results for those who rewrote in August will be available today. Will let you know who did what.

More good news - Brunie G. in SR is 'bon' for Rheto so we now have 5 entering Philo in Sen Rafayel and one in Grande Riviere du Nord.

An updated list of items we need. The most urgently needed are in red. (If you'd like to donate any of these items, please send us an email first so we can avoid duplication.)
• Protein powder (ongoing - we use one 2-gallon container each month)
• Vitamin C and chewable Multi vitamins (ongoing)
• Backpacks (50 immediately and 150 for the new year)
• Shoes -- mens and womens new black dress shoes sizes 6-12 inclusive. No high heels.
• Socks and runners for the winter months (Sen Rafayel is about 20 degrees colder)
• Dramamine, Gravol
• Container for carrying gasoline
• Work gloves
• Tooth brushes* (adult)
• Pencil sharpeners, erasers, ball point pens (blue ink)
• Sunglasses, Baseball caps, sun hats, Cotton scarves, handkerchiefs
• Ibuprofen, Tylenol
• Tools -- sanding machine, electric saw, electric drill with multi heads - (to drill cement), measuring tape (heavy duty)
• Cat food (dry Purina One for Sensitive systems, tinned Friskies
• Cat carrying case for vet trips (cats keep the rats at bay)
When Auguste arrived for work as I was updating this list, he mentioned he would like a'machin pou koupe gazon an (a machine to cut the grass). We are still using scissors. A general roar of approval went up when he said this. A weed whacker (gas or electric) would probably work. A real lawn mower even better.
ALA pwochen


Back to School, New Starfish, New Starthrowers

Hello Everyone,

I received a phone call last night to tell me that the supplies from Pennsylvania came last week, but that they had just found our phone number to let us know. Jack will call on Monday morning and make arrangements to travel and go secure them. As usual, Mme Cindy has perfect timing. With school opening, whatever she sends will be used quickly. Thank you, Mme Cindy and State College Pennsylvania.

Carmene will be making our "Proba" (protein/peanut butter mix) just before I return from Canada at the end of November, and we need the protein powder. We will package and distribute it the first week of December. I hope to distribute Vitamin C at the same time, if we have enough. We distributed extra Vitamin C with the multi vitamins last winter and on the whole everyone seemed to stay healthier.

We are NOT working today, our first and only Saturday of repose since I got back. The week has been insane trying to prepare 100 plus young people for school. Some uniforms are not ready and some schools are not ready meaning those involved will get a later start. Many of the text books have been changed this year, so this week Julia, Jhennie and Micheline will continue working with Rosenie to search the marketplace. This is a hot, frustrating process. They usually buy a sandwich and a drink to keep up their energy.

They come home by taxi, and then the new books are processed. Each page is checked for printing errors and missed pages, then photocopies of the missing pages are made. This means making another trip into la ville by tap tap or taxi, then searching for a place which has either electricity or a generator operating to run the photocopier, then returning home, and inserting the missing pages, where necessary. All books are covered with plastic, which we also buy in the market. After covering all the texts, we stamp with our special 'dam', check the list then print the name of the recipient in the upper right hand corner. Then the books are either inserted in waiting backpacks, or if backpacks have been delivered already, texts are wrapped in plastic bags and scotch tape, and labelled, ready for delivery. We also have to change 4 complete booklists as the state was late with some results. Four of our Grade 9ers need to be upgraded to 3eme.

Claudy and Louisena came down the mountain from Sen Rafayel yesterday to pick up the back packs for College Bon Berger. They also took first trimest fees for College Bon Berger and College VIncent Oge. We took on 3 new Starfish from Sen Rafayel. All have been sitting out for at least a year due to the death of one or both parents. All are in class Rheto. Uniform money was sent and books will be purchased, then back packs prepared and will be sent along with school funds on Thursday when Claudy comes back. He will bring a different partner as Louisena starts school Monday, Sept 17. Claudy starts Monday, Sept. 24.

Soeur Ginette also visited us on Friday. She brought the receipts and bill for consultations and meds dispensed at her little clinic in Sen Rafayel. The total for these 6 months was 34,000 gourdes ($6800 Haitian or $1000 USD). There were only 30 on her list last year. This year, there are more than 60. I will go through each fiche and record illnesses and recurrences.

We have a visitor arriving this week. Jeff will be with us for 5 days and Mme. Carmene has already prepared a menu for each day. It should be a nice quiet time for him as most of the craziness is behind us. This week, we will visit all Cap-Haitien schools and pay frais and first trimest fees. Next Saturday, we will visit the University in Limbe with Jeff to see how Deles and Vincent are settling in to their new lives. Thanks to all who have worked so hard to give these amazing young people 'possibilite'.

I would like to officially welcome Starthrower America and thank their board of directors for taking on such a huge challenge. Thank you, Mark, Lucie, Steve, Peggy, Jeff and Peter.

There are times in the midst of the chaos and seeming confusion when I stop and really look at what is happening here, like the jobs everyone does with such efficiency and joy. I listen to the conversations and the laughter, and remember the deep grief many carried with them when they first came. I think of the newly arrived Starfish, still overwhelmed with grief and fear and I am also overwhelmed at how blessed I am to be part of this amazing journey.
Kenbe red


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Student News, Sen Rafayel Update, and Ice Cubes

Hello Everyone!

The staff just arrived en masse and with great noise. They were carrying Auguste in celebration of his "bon" Philo results. (He passed!) When I said they would have to do the same for Jhennie when she arrived after her hospital appointment (she was bon also), they replied No, because Jhennie is young, the right age for a student. Auguste, they said, is a ti gran moun (usually a person who has reached 100 years old. He is 30.)

Jhennie now must decide what she will do next as her Philo was bon. Unfortunately Frantzy was pa bon. He will rewrite in December. If his medical entrance exams were bon, they will hold a place for him to start in January (so we are told). Elorge, Marlene and Frantzy survived medical school entrance exams, although the boys had to purchase new clothes (dress shoes, pants, shirts) in order to be allowed in to write them.

Auguste is going to stay full time with Starthrower Foundation as Director of Education. He will liaise with all school administrations and students, and do intake, monitor their school progress and attendance, pay for medical, dental etc consultations, facilitate home visits, tutor all subjects, all levels. In addition, he will take courses in Enfomatik and English.

Rosenie will go to school (Rheto) evenings and work 3 days a week here managing (purchase, prep, distribution) all supplies, like text books, hygiene products, meds etc. We will hire one new staff member for food prep and distribution on weekends to help Dieugrand.

Deles and Vincent began classes at the University in Limbe on Monday. We will visit them with our next visitor, Jeff, when he arrives, as Jeff's brother is sponsoring one of the boys. Elorge, Marlene and Frantzy survived medical school entrance exams although the boys had to purchase new clothes (dress shoes, pants, shirts) in order to be allowed in.

In addition to his duties as house manager, Jack does all liaison with the bosses with whom we place students in trades. This mroning, he is meeting with Bos Emile at his garage in Pont Neuf. He will check the premises for supplies, other apprentices, talk with the Bos re his credentials. If he is satisfied, he will pay the bos for the year and all parties will sign a contract. Fabien, the student beginning to train as 'mekanisyen' will come back to the house with Jack for funds for work shoes and clothes as well as a back pack with hygiene products.

Our guest from NC left on Sunday. everyone misses her enthusiasm and smile. While Steve and Mark did not stay at the house, they did come bearing gifts. 4 wireless think pads. We are told 2 printers will follow so we have organized the house for usage once the school year is in full swing. Many of our students still have not started as uniforms are not ready.

We have a lot of problems in Sen Rafayel. Poor Claudy and Louisena, the staff there. People in the village think we owe everyone in the village free education, and, as they see only our staff (we cannot travel there due to lack of vehicle) life is full of harrassment for the two of them. I have deliberately not placed Sen Rafayel first year high school students on the wait list as we may have to finish with the students we currently have, then concentrate on Cap-Haitien students. Perhaps when a vehicle arrives the situation will be reviewed.

The amount of electricity has been greatly reduced as the gas supply in Haiti has temporarily dried up, and we need gas to fire the generators. We are out of water, but I have asked Jack and DIeugrand not to pump it until the hydro goes off again. We have to turn off EDH to 'monte dlo-a' (pump water) which means the fridge won't work. I haven't the heart on this first day of hydro to turn it off. We actually have ice cubes today - 10 of them!!
Pita anko


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