April 24, 2005 Cap-Haitien
Hello! This is the first internet service in about two weeks, and yesterday was the first day in two weeks without rain. And because of the rain, the cardman was unable to work, as nothing dries, and the artists' market was closed as each stall leaks like a sieve.
The U.N. troops are still much in sight, heavily armed and patrolling the whole city. The Hospital Justinian is now entering the second week of a greve general (strike). They have the same problem with the national schools -- the teachers have not been paid by the government for months and so no one is teaching. We have about 10 students in the Lycee.
We have six kids showing up each day to eat. Keep in mind many of our kids have to travel on two tap taps to get to our place then on two to get back home. That is four dollars they do not have. Also there have been several large blokis (roadblocks) each day due to the mud washing out what remains of the road surfaces. This means a lot of time is spent sitting in a tap tap. It takes them about three hours to travel, eat, then get back home to change for school.
Our response to the feeding crisis in Sen Rafayel is going well. Mme Joseph is cooking each day and Gastel is working and therefore receiving a salary so that he can feed HIS family. In Canada, Pat Materiuk is busy preparing Amy and Marisa for their trip to Haiti when they come back with me on July 1. The kids here are very excited about meeting (Canadian) kids their own age and about taking them places like the market, the book sellers, up to Sen Rafayel, and maybe to Labadie.
The painting on the house continues, and we are building shelves, rearranging beds, washing curtains and hanging moustikes (mosquito nets). It's crucial we have the nets right now as this is 'M&M time' -- Mud and Mosquitos.