We have discovered a stress relieving activity which can be done alone or in company with the added benefit that something tangible is created. Not Yoga, although that would also work - Woodworking! Everything we need for Sen Rafayel must be purchased in Cap-Haitien and trucked up the mountain. The open market in front of Customs offices on the boulevard is the best place to find treasures - albeit some look as though they have been buried treasures but we clean, sand, prime, paint, varnish with enthusiasm. There is a perception that cost of living must be very cheap in Haiti, however the opposite is true. No large buying base--high prices. The only store in town with a desk for sale (one model, not aisle after aisle) has it priced at 25000 gds, ($625. USD) In the market we paid 7500 gds each ($188.US) for a desk with six drawers and a table with 4 chairs for the library.
|Sen Rafayel library gets furniture|
|The office gets a desk - finally|
|Kinston and Phana (Rheto) different schools (Cap centre)|
|Staff member Lusnot tutors Edwige and Mona (9eme)|
|Sherlyne, Venise (Philo) different schools|
Study for everyone this term has been made much easier thanks to the funds raise by the Palgrave Rotary, Life after 40 and Women with Spirit. We were able to purchase and distribute solar lamps sold by a Canadian-Haitian company out of Port-au-Prince (Micama Soley). Everyone is thrilled with the products. No more kerosene,candle,matches.
|Delivery day - Checking the solar lamps|
|Firefly solar lamp at work in Auguste's tikay|
Our two trips to Sen Rafayel this week showed students with the same commitment to study. In Cap the students in different grades don't mix but in Sen Rafayel, perhaps because of the luxury of time - no rush to catch a tap tap, a walk home with others leaving the centre, there is a grade mix in the study pattern. I have been astonished at the natural teaching ability of some of our young people.
|Rheto and Philo study mix in Sen Rafayel|
On the weekend we doubled the amount of board space in Sen Rafayel and tripled it in Cap-Haitien. A chalk board is just a sheet of Cilotex but it gets the job done. Chalk is one of the few items we are able to purchase here.
It is intake time for us. In May we received submission letters. In June and July we prioritize and hold intake interviews. Over the past 2 weeks, Auguste and I have interviewed 45 potential admissions in Sen Rafayel. which includes checking their papers and verifying information in their letter. Thus far we have offered admission to 20 and have a final round of interviews on July 18. For those new to our blog, Starthrower in Haiti is an education support program. We do NOT have a school, rather we work within the Haitian education system, supporting local schools which we vet carefully looking at academic performance, staff performance, student comments... When we take on new students, (those who are in secondary and have been sitting out for at least a year due to financial distress) we offer them a choice of school from the list we have compiled for Cap-Haitien and Sen Rafayel. In addition to financial support, our 2 drop in centres operate 7 days a week for the kids providing a snack, potable water, study, tutoring, a game of dominoes, newspaper etc...
Meet a few new faces ......
Meet a few new faces ......
Sen Rafayel continues to challenge - changing but not in the most significant ways. There are now poured concrete roads and sidewalks. At what price? Houses being razed with no compensation. The poor get poorer. EDH has hydro poles and transformers in place but when electricity will arrive is anyone's guess.Who will have access - another thorny issue. However, if you have 10 gourdes you can listen to a soccer match. And if you have 100 gourdes you can get a plate of rice and beans at this restaurant. Fortunately the last plate had just been sold.We made do with the sandwiches in our cooler.
|This restaurant was take out only - and the last meal|
was taken out before we arrived.