Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cap-Haitien Water Distribution, Education Update, and Surgery

Bonjou tout moun [Hello Everyone!]

Auguste, who has been managing the center in my prolonged absence, informs me that everything at Lakay Fondasyon in Cap-Haitien is continuing to function well. However, when I return to Haiti in the spring, we will likely need to add another staff member, as not one of them has had a day off since I was airlifted out on October 10.

The staff have been wonderful. It was precisely this type of emergency situation for which I had been training them all these months. Their caring, conscientiousness and commitment, though, are all their own.

Alex and Esmann, two of our senior boys, have decided to enter a trade instead of continuing on in high school, mainly because they both have family members who could use financial support. I understand their reasoning, as both these young men didn't even begin primary school until they were in their teens.

Unfortunately they made this decision to change course after we had paid for their non refundable first trimeste fees and supplies. Auguste has tried to explain the advantage of their completing the year, but they are adamant that they need to get out and work. It will be an interesting conversation I'll have with them when we sit down in the spring.

Because of a teachers' strike in Haiti, some schools did not reopen until February was well under way. Once again the government had not paid teachers at state schools. Everyone from the ground up suffers; never those from the top down.

We are not distributing as much water as we were earlier this year. Many students who used to come for our water distribution program have not come to see us for a while, as they are very short of food. And when they are hungry, they just do not have the strength to walk for up to 2 hours to get to our centre. We need to find a way to break this cycle of poverty permanently.

Patience is something that I have been working on since my first trip to Haiti, and I know I still have a ways to go, and that it's the journey not the destination. It is not easy to be patient, to keep working and waiting for things to improve. When you see the great need in Haiti -- for food, water, medical care, shelter, etc. -- the urge to do something RIGHT NOW is very strong. Just when I think I'm getting somewhere, the universe lets me know that I still have more work to do.

Instead of taking advantage of this down time while recuperating and waiting for the final surgery, I have been pining for Haiti, and missing the staff, the kids and the centre. Actually it would have been difficult to take advantage of the down time as my activities were so restricted. However, I return to St. Michael's hospital in Toronto today (Sunday, February 22) for two days of tests. If the tests results are good, then the reversal surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning (February 25).

To those who await emails, thank you for YOUR patience. I developed another abscess on the bowel 2 weeks ago and the pain literally takes my breath away at times. Putting together coherent emails was just not possible. This week while on medication for the abscess, Lesley, one of the amazing nurses from St. Elizabeth health care, noticed that I had developed an eye infection. When I queried, "How can this be happening?" she replied, "A little thing called stress." And now, of course, I am naturally concerned to be facing surgery again, but I have hope that this is the final hurdle to full recovery.

And on that note,, I will say one last thank you to all who have touched base during this time. And thanks so much for your continued support, emotionally and financially. If there is anything that Karen can help you with while I am unable to respond to emails, etc., then please contact her.

Beni-w tout moun (blessings to all)
Ala pwochen (until the next time)


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kreyol-English Update from Haiti - Clothing and Supplies Distributed, Tuition Needed, and a Starfish is Robbed

Hello Everyone,

I received some news from Auguste, who is managing the center in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, so I am sending it along as the Update From Haiti for this week. I translated from Kreyol to English.

Auguste writes:
Good morning, Madam - How is your health today?

Madam Jane came to visit with Father Henry. They're coming back Monday to talk with Sister Rosemary when she will be here.

Dieugrand has a problem. On Monday 26 January, when he arrived home from school, he found the door open. Thieves had broken the lock and stolen the bed, with everything else. Clothes he bought when he worked in the summer -- he lost everything. He is desolate, sad and crying. I tried to give him a little courage but it isn't enough.

I bought oil and distributed food sacks, vitamins, potable water, shoes and clothes 23-26 January. I put clothes on the gallery and let each one choose. This year not everyone could find something. But I send a big thank you to Madam Cindy (Penn). She also wrote a little note in Kreyol.

University in Limbe starts second semester on February 2. [Note: students are required to take courses during the Christmas break. Tuition is separate from regular classes, and these Christmas break courses are mandatory. The kids love to go to school year round.]

I talked with Sister Rosemary and she asked me to send you an email. She is going to the bank to see if sponsor money has arrived for Deles [Course fees for Christmas break were paid out out of general funds.] We don't know what to do about Robert Vincent for the second semester [as we have been unable to find a sponsor which would allow him to finish his second year].

God bless and I'm praying you have good health.

For those of you who are learning the language of Haiti, here is the text in Kreyol :

Bonswa, Mme.

Koman sante ou ye jodia?

Mme Jane ak Pe Henry te vini nan kay-la jodia. Li va retounen anko lendi pou-l pale ak SewozDieugrand gen problem. Lendi 26 janvye le li soti lekol li te trouve pot li ouvri yo te kraze kle-a e vole pran malet ou te ba-li ak tout bagay.

Rad, sa li te achte li te di si yon jou li pa gen kob-la li kapab revann yo anko li pedi tout. Li vreman dezole, tris e l'ap kriye. Mwen te ba-li ti kouraj men sa pa sifi.

Mwen te achte lwil e distribiye sak nouriti, multi-vitamin, dlo potab, soulye ak rad yo 23 e 26 janvye. Mwen te mete rad sou galri chak moun te chwazi. Se diferan ane sa-a, mwen pa kontan paske tout moun pa te trouve rad.Men, mwen di yon gran mesi a Mme Cindy, e li te eseye ekri ti let an kreyol.

Universite Limbe ap komanse 2e semes 2 fevriye 09. Semen sa-a se peyman pou 2e semes-la. Mwen te pale ak Sewoz li te di-m konpoze yon email pou-ou. Li va ale nan bank lan pou-l tcheke si sponsor te voye kob-la pou Deles. Nou pa konnen kisa n'ap fe pou Robert, Vincent?

Bondye beni-w e m'ap priye pou gen bonsante.

I am scheduled for surgery for the colostomy reversal within the next few weeks. I should be given a definite date this coming week; My surgeon cautioned that surgery dates may be changed if no beds are available. Let's hope I can get a bed. It's been four months since the original surgery in Haiti, and it would be great to be on the final step for recovery.



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