It has probably been the worst summer I can remember in the 18 years I have been here - deaths, the mutilation of one of our pups with a machete, having to let a staff member go over the incident resulting in death threats against my staff, soaring temperatures, insufficient items for purchase, being targeted for an extortion attempt by the family selling the house to us and on and on.
So I could use a good laugh. We could all probably use a good laugh from time to time. Here's the joke. We have been without electricity for 9 weeks, with temperatures somewhere between 36 and 43 c. TODAY thanks to the generosity of Jasmine Foundation 4 new solar panels (giving us 8), 4 new batteries (giving us 16), space age regulator and a super charging inverter were installed. What a treat - the possibilities - COLD WATER, ICE CUBES, FOOD NOT SPOILING, being able to leave the fridge plugged in. The joke - not a minute of sunshine all day due to the offshore presence of Hurricane Joaquin, so batteries not charging. And according to the weather channel, there will be no sun until next Tuesday. Now where did I put my sense of humor? It must be with my glasses. I can't find them either.
Sunday we traveled up Granjil mountain to Sen Rafayel. We owed 22 home visits to new admissions between Cap and Sen Rafayel . We managed to pack in 13. The first 5 visits were posted on Facebook. This is a continuation. The rest will be first on the agenda when I return. The staff problem we had to deal with was very distressing and took more time than expected but the kids are always patient. Monday morning (after a thrilling view of the eclipse from my second floor gallery) we waited while the next group of 'visitees' ate breakfast.
|Breakfast - egg, kasav with peanut butter or|
cream cheese, a banana and potable water
I can't say enough about the passion these young people put into their school work. While others ate, Estepha worked in the library, saying he would eat later. We left him in peace and headed out for the next group of visits.
|The library is always in use - the morning sunlight is great|
and there is no competition for space.
We thought we were off but the truck apparently did not have a good night and needed coaxing.
Privacy is non existent if one is poor. Personal space means nothing. Onward we go, to our last visit of the morning. Then we can try and find potable bottled water for the center.
Evenel has also been sitting out due to death of his parents.The house he shares with relatives is new, built by his uncle. What a positive note. Built for multiple families, it is functional and clean.
|We talk construction|
|The only table in the house covered with textbooks|
a kerosene lamp and a battery operated boom
box that lacks batteries.
There is a latrine and shower stall but no kitchen. If one has a latrine, no one has the luxury toilet paper.
Morning visits over, we drove around to every place in the village where potable water could be purchased but no luck. So back to the center, Lakay Jasmine and a little time to catch up with some kids I haven't seen for a few months. They had dropped in for lunch and were heading back to school.
|Ralph, Sterlin and Dieuner model the new Lycee uniforms for|
Secondaire 4 (Philo) the final year of high school.
It was 40 degrees and they were wearing undershirts, long sleeved shirts and ties which they are not allowed to take off, nor can sleeves be rolled up. There is no electricity therefore no air conditioning in the school and no drinking fountains. So 8 hours of classes in the sweltering heat with no re-hydration.
Marc-Arios, Isaac and John-Steevenson had dropped in. Each was at least a foot taller.
Wilnise, Tamara and Ema also arrived for lunch as did the new admissions who had afternoon visits coming up. It was gratifying to see the way in which new admissions fit in, being welcomed by 'seniors' who have been around a few years.
In addition to the new admissions, there are still 260 young people who wrote letters and did not receive an interview. I knew funds were limited and false hope is worse than no hope. So we do what we can for those we can accommodate.
A very heartfelt thank-you to sponsors and Jasmine foundation for coming to the rescue during the uniform crisis. Now we work on getting text books and back packs.
Patience as one of my first students here told me many years ago when I became impatient over something not worth high blood pressure. Patience.
Thank you for your patience. This blog is long overdue but no electricity and no internet have conspired to keep me offline. It has been amazing to sit here for 5 or 6 hours and have the electricity to persist. The internet connection has been lost 5 times but our solar batteries are doing the job.
I can't wait to get a solar panel/inverter system in Sen Rafayel. Yes I can so wait. I have patience.