While leaving Haiti is necessary from the perspective of fundraising, medical and dental support and touching base with the amazing volunteers who keep everything going while I am here, bottom line - the most wrenching aspect of this journey is not the poverty, the dangers, the frustrations - it is the leaving.
But I leave everything in good hands. To whom do those good hands belong? Here is a celebration of and perhaps introduction to our Haitian staff. With the exception of Mme Joceline, they all come from the ranks of our students, graduates who have chosen to stay and pass on what they have learned.
Auguste is the person in charge of everything, the director of all programming. He looks after staff, supplies, deliveries, purchases, program content and delivery - you name it, he is in charge of it. Auguste had struggled since age 11 to put himself through high school (see web comic by Daniel Lafrance) when he arrived on our doorstep in the summer of 2005 seeking support to finish the final year of high school, and began as part time yard help. His many skills unfolded and he moved into the office within 3 months. He is now called the Director or Direk in Kreyol.
Everyone reports directly to Auguste, but part time student staff report to branch coordinators. Our Cap Haitian branch is managed by Lusnot, who came to us as a student in Gr. 9 along with brother Gaby.
Sen Rafayel coordinator Edeline had dreams of becoming a medical technician. Her parents were dead, she had no siblings but had an aunt in Cap who offered her floor space to sleep while she went to school. The year Edeline completed high school, her aunt contracted Cholera and died, along with Edeline's dreams of post secondary education.
Operating 2 drop in centers means that security is a major job. Dieugrand has been our coordinator of security for both locations since finishing high school 2 years ago. Dieugrand was one of the first students I met in 1998 (he was in Primary then) and has been with the foundation ever since. Looking after security means he travels up Granjil mountain every week in an open tap tap. He works 2 nights and one day in the office while there. The other day is spent at the Cap Haitian office, working the grounds and office, as needed.
Mme Joceline came to us via our friend Sister Rosemary, who was operating a nutrition program for malnourished infants. Joceline was a widow with 7 children. She had never been to school, never worked. She began doing laundry for us in 2004. Our cook, Mme Carmene taught her a great deal and when she left after the death of her second son (Frandzy) Joceline took over.
|Jan 2006 Joceline with our first cook Carmene|
|Jan 2015 Joceline now cooks and cleans |
and keeps everyone in line, even the dogs.
Saint-Luc and Adelaine round out the full time staff in Sen Rafayel. Saint-Luc works security with Dieugrand and Adelaine does everything in the office with Edeline.
|Saint-Luc also helps students over their fear of dogs.|
He sat with our beloved Tigger when he was dying.