Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cap-Haitien, Haiti

Hello Everyone,

Several things have been happening over the past few weeks that have made it difficult to contact you all. If anyone is waiting for me to reply to an email, it will be a while longer.

The situation in Cap-Haitien has been tense, with bandits stopping tap taps and robbing the passengers. Also there have been 3 kidnappings in Cap-Haitien this past week or so, with the kidnappers now using taxis to abduct their victims. And when a Haitian warns me against using tap taps and taxis, I take it very seriously. I am fine, though, and have enough food at the house to last for about a week.

Today I came to town by taxi with Jacques (his wife nearly died this week). I had just loaded my emails at the internet cafe, then the system crashed, and all the phone lines went down, so I could not read any of them. I managed to buy a new phone card, though, so I've passed on this update via my cell phone. We've still got no hydro.

The rain has stopped, and it's very hot now. Six of our kids have eye infections. There's a particularly nasty bacteria going around right now. One girl has shingles, an infected urinary tract, worms and anemia. These multiple infections are what many of these kids deal with every day. Four have serious dental conditions (I'm sure one needs a root canal, and our dentist has disappeared so no idea how he is going to get help).

Two groups of visitors stopped by to say hello -- Jan, Anne, Jane and Ben from Colorado, and Jen and Elizabeth from Ontario. The Colorado group were driving a 4WD vehicle I had never seen before. If anyone has any information about it, let us know. I believe it is a Pinzgauer, and they said it was really great for getting up the mountains. They raised funds in the U.S. to buy it, then ship it to Haiti. These vehicles cost about $15,000, and from what I saw, they would be ideal for this terrain. However, as a lone woman in a high profile vehicle, I think I would be a target. Better to save for a less flashy used truck to haul supplies.

[Editor's note: I found two sites: SwissArmyVehicles and PinzgauerCanada, which says: The Pinzgauer, affectionately referred to by a few as the "Hummer Hunter," has been produced by the Austrian firm of Steyr-Daimler-Puch since 1968 and is available in four-wheel and six-wheel drive configurations. The vehicles imported into North America by Pinzgauer were built to specifications required to meet the needs of the Swiss armed forces.]

The cost for a one-year Imagine Canada database access has been donated by a board member (Thanks, Cindy!) so we can now begin searching Canadian corporations for grant opportunities.

Christmas break is just starting, and the kids will be off school until about January 8. I hope the break will be 'uneventful'.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard all year to help us help these kids and their families, and to all who are working on fundraisers to continue the work. A Merry Christmas to all, and the best for the New Year.



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