I am on my way to Cap-Haitien Haiti so by the time you receive this I may already be at Lakay. Here's an earthquake aftermath update about Cap-Haitien schools opening, students, hydro and water, food, study and job programs.
As well, here are a few pictures sent from Haiti before the quake. (Click on the picture to see a larger version, then click the Back button to return to this page.)
One area of Cap-Haitien had a little hydro on Wednesday but not in our section. More kids are coming every day looking for news about what's happening, and for food and water as schools remain closed.
We plan to start meal hand outs, and food and study programs and job creation on Monday (February 1). I'll give you more information once I have a chance to assess the situation in Haiti, but if schools are not able to open, then one of the programs we will set up will be for studying and tutoring. We can have the students come to the Lakay to do their school work.
Restarting school, university, etc will be a massive undertaking in much of Haiti. See this report on CBC news for a bit of background.
Just before I left Toronto (Saturday,January 30), I received an email from Auguste, our director of education in Haiti. Auguste said that Guilene (see this post) made it safely from Port-au-Prince to San Rafayel. She took the alternate route which by passes Cap-Haitien.
Nursing Students Leogane
Bruni, Gaby, Wesley and Alland, the 4 nursing students at the (now demolished) nursing school also made their way to Sen Rafayel. I expect that Bruni will help them find temporary accommodation. They are expected to come down the mountain to see us in Cap-Haitien this week. I will let you know when I hear from them.
Plenitude, Peterson, Port-au-Prince
Plenitude remains unaccounted for after his initial phone call (this post). Peterson made it to Cap-Haitien to go to a clinic to get patched up. He has now returned to Port-au-Prince in the hopes of going through the rubble of his dormitory to find his papers (pyes yo) -- his birth certificate, baptismal certificate, high school papers and university entrance papers.
Alternatives to Haiti Schools
I've had several inquires about the feasibility of sending our Haitian post-secondary students to North America or to the Dominican Republic to continue their studies at this time. Other than the cost involved, there is also the language barrier. Our students speak Kreyol (Creole). Some may know a smattering of French and / or English, but not at a level acceptable for post-secondary studies.
Haiti Trips Postponed, Canceled
Visitors who had planned to travel to meet me in Cap-Haitien in the coming weeks have canceled or postponed travel at this time.
Thank you for supporting the earthquake relief fund, nutrition and education programs, and for organizing fundraisers. As always, the easiest thing to get to Haiti is cash.
Thank you for offering to send clothing, bedding, etc. but those items are available in Haiti, and so do not require costly shipping. When we buy these items in Haiti, we make best use of your donations.
Thanks again to Mochaberry Cafe, Henning's Salon and Acheson's in Orangeville, ON for collecting money for Starthrower following the earthquake.
Auguste reports that more of the Christmas boxes are arriving in Cap-Haitien. And just prior to the earthquake, he was advised that a shipment of supplies sent months ago from Mlle Kayla in the U.S. had arrived, but I do not know if he was able to arrange to pick it up at the port: "CasXpress gen bwat-la pou nou men yo pa livre li paske moun ki pou bay nou bwat la, li pa Okap bwat Mlle Kayla." I'll check into that as soon as I can.
ROCK4HAITI Concert Toronto
For those in the Toronto, Ontario, area, Ryan and his band My Flea Circus are holding a fundraising concert for Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 8 p.m. at Sneaky Dee's (College and Bathurst) in Toronto to raise money for Starthrower Foundation (see Starthrower Foundation Fundraisers).
Next Update From Haiti:
If all goes according to plan today (Sunday), I will be in Cap-Haitien by late afternoon. I hope to be able to assess what's happened at our center (water, hydro, damage to buildings, etc) and the likelihood of schools opening in Cap-Haitien, as well as updates on our students, and let you know by the middle of next week.
Travel To Haiti
As I make my way via Ft Lauderdale to Haiti this weekend, I have been pleasantly surprised at the response from everyone who asked where I was going.
In the past (before the earthquake), when I said, "Haiti," there were grimaces made, and some airline staff, customs agents and fellow passengers wondered why I would ever want to go there.
This trip have found a shift in thinking. Twice folks said, "Those poor people! Haven't they had enough?' Empathy: What a healing, life-giving emotion.