Friday, May 25, 2012

For Dog Lovers, Catching up

And then there were 4 - dogs that is. Imagine my surprise last Sunday upon returning from a month in Canada (via 2 extremely turbulent flights)  to find that our canine security force had doubled. Two was a handful, with TiSab (pronounced TeeSab, meaning Little Sandy) requiring special attention due to  a cerebeller lesion and Jolie jealous of the extra attention her sibling receives. Tigger and Granjil (6 months old) had joined our household in my absence as both were in situations which Auguste deemed dangerous. Granjil, named after the mountain,  is the little guy we rescued   in March. (see blog)  Although student Rosema was very attached to him, the pup was the constant recipient of kicks  etc... by those who needed an outlet for their frustrations.  He came to us with an infected  cut to his right  eye and a very large lump on his head, as well as other various cuts and lumps.

Joceline surrounded by Granjil, Tigger and Jolie

Ti Sab (Sandy) trying to keep cool and escaping the horde

Tigger is the pup who hobbled  into our yard (lakou-a) in March with a displaced hip and a broken leg. The bone was protruding through the skin and infection had set in. We were told he had been kicked  off the roof of his house. We sought the advice of the only person in Cap-Haitien with any veterinary training, who  told us Tigger would probably lose the leg. Not on my watch.  Doggie day care was open. Tigger began arriving each morning at 7 when his owner, Steevenson, went to school. After 2 months running with Jolie and our students,  he was vastly improved. But the threat to his safety continued, so now there are 4. After a very sleepless week (pups bark and cry even with their owners are on site in our security quarters) we have devised a plan. Hoping that  all the ducks are in a row, we are heading to Sen Rafayel to-morrow with 2 dogs, a truck load of dog supplies, hobbled to-gether from our meagre resources, and a dozen bags of cement. The pups will support our security team. Their bark is worse than their bite.

Senior security staff member Kesner came down on his days off and stayed to get to know the dogs and their routines. Students Rosema and Camiose will travel with us and look after the dogs en route. Next week Auguste will head back up on the weekend with Dieugrand and Rosema to paint and offer support to Sen Rafayel staff. The following week, I'm going up to stay to work in the office, hold intake interviews  and check on the dogs as well. Did I mention we also have 2 cats?

Bottom line - those who live in absolute poverty suffer - people and animals alike. There are no safety nets here - no Social Services, no SPCA. I had a similar discussion while sharing a meal with friends Brandy and Jeff  in Orangeville. They were participating in a 'Hunger Awareness' project in Dufferin/Caledon and we ate a meal entirely from the local food bank. (See Jeff's blog at ) As we are heading up the mountain tomorrow, of course the truck broke down, but in advance - IN OUR DRIVEWAY. At least we were not on the mountainside with dogs.

                                            Granjil performs for Suzeline and Dieugrand

                                          Tigger loves water - any water - laundry, dishes...

Putting our kids to-gether with wounded animals has been an unplanned but  brilliant manoeuvre. They are healing each other. Our young people are becoming sensitized to the brutal reality of Haiti's animals. Rosema is even considering becoming a vet, a profession completely unknown to him until this year.  If he follows through, he will have to leave the country to study as there are no programs in Haiti.

In addition to dogs and cats,  both offices were running full tilt in temperatures soaring past 110 and the humidity over 90%. Dripping wet is an accurate description. It is also a dangerous time for those who have inadequate water resources. Although we distribute potable water, they can't always get here due to class schedules and/or distance.  Ednie arrived Tuesday  at closing time suffering from heat exhaustion and severe dehydration. Staff helped her in from the street. Everyone stayed past closing until she was able to travel, then put her in a taxi home about 6:15 pm.

Ednie -  arrived at 5 pm as we were closing. Heat exhastion and dehydration -barely
able to sit up. With cold compresses, she slept for an hour on the couch,  after several glasses of water.

Happy 16th Brunel !
Brunel spent his 16th birthday with us this week and picked up a birthday package courtesy of Mme. Cindy's surprise boxes. Everyone in both centres has been the recipient of a new baseball cap, also courtesy of Mme. Cindy. With July heat arriving ahead of schedule, hats, sunglasses and potable water are more important than ever.

Inea and Edwige continue to need better medical treatment. Although Inea's Thyroid surgery took place March 15, she has had throat pain ever since and is extremely fatigued. After 3 unsuccessful trips to Sakre-Ke  (Sacre-Coeur) Hospital in Milot for post op follow up, we are sending her to Doctor Jerome to-morrow. Her file (dosye) has been lost and there is no record of her as a patient except for the papers we have sent from here. They contain her dosye number but the file is gone.

Ineas -too much post-surgical pain for a smile
In an all too familiar pattern, Edwige has a follow up appointment at the hospital Monday. Her file is also lost. We have the original diagnosis -Ovarian Cyst -  as we send a request for diagnosis and test results on our letterhead for every student. Some clinics refuse.  If nothing tangible is done for her, next week we'll make arrangements to send her to the new hospital in Grande-Riviere du Nord. It is farther and more difficult to reach, but she is in constant pain.

On a brighter note, Brunie received her nursing cap at the official ceremony (Kwaf-la) . Because she changed universities, she was required to repeat the ceremony. The new school has been a positive change for her.  Although the program is demanding, she is more relaxed.

On the macro level, this Sunday is the Feast of Mothers, the Haitian Mother's Day. It is talked about in the schools, so everyone is aware. It is a difficult time for many of our young people as so many have lost moms to the scourge of poverty. Rather than hold a celebration now, we wait until the new school year and hold a remembrance service for all who have died.

I won't go on forever, it's been an insanely busy week. In addition to settling in the dogs to-morrow, we have 3-month performance reviews with 2 staff members, home visits to 2 of our young people with serious housing problems to see if we can arrange for land surveys which would allow us to rebuild their homes,  and a meeting with Danius to plan the second floor construction. A heart felt acknowledgement and thank-you to Diane and Benjamin Plett of the Jasmine Foundation for their support, encouragement and confidence in Starthrower. Thanks to them we are embarking on the final stage of the Sen Rafayel building project.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the  support which came our way from so many in the Orangeville/Palgrave/Caledon communities. The Palgrave Rotary Club was so receptive. It was  a night I will long remember. Thank you Karen for the invitation.

The Illumination Fundraiser hosted by Women of Spirit (Cindy, Sharon, Lucille, Cheryl, Kathy, Karen) was an inspired and inspiring day.  A day of yoga, meditation, pilates, zumba - you name it, we did it (me in a dress yet!)

The 'Life After 40 ' Funraiser in Toronto was a roaring success thanks to Linda and Theresa. You are a dynamic duo.  Thanks to our web admin Daniel for taking the time to attend.

As well the Girl's Club at Golf Road Jr. Public School in Scarborough held a very successful bake sale. My heroes!

Thank you Diane of Acheson's and Janice of As We Grow for your support. Both women of distinction.

Thank you Nicky and Joan of Harmony for the homeopathics.

Thank you Kyong of Natural Choice for the NutraCleanse products.

The list is endless. If I've left you out, it wasn't intentional. The universe knows who you are and that you are amazing.

For now that's all she wrote-  I have to get up at 5 for the trip to Sen Rafayel.

Pi ta


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