Monday, January 22, 2007

Starthrower Foundation Launches Blog

Justice :: Something to Think About

If you subscribe to the classical definition of justice, vis. the act of delivering what is owed to another, you must decide what each person is owed.

Are we owed a daily meal? There is enough food (3,500 calories/4.3 pounds) for each person each day.Yet more than half of us go hungry, and many of the rest buy diet books.

Are we owed safe drinking water? Some 12% of the planet uses 86% of the natural resources. While we wash our cars, fill our swimming pools and water our lawns, more than 3/4 of the planet is thirsty. Dehydration kills as painfully and as surely as malnutrition.

If we stop at food and water without supporting the tools needed for permanent change -- education, medical, dental, housing -- we are in a 'charity' mindset. Justice demands that you don`t just teach a man to fish, you test the water he uses for sustainability.

To stand in solidarity with, and to create a preferential option for the poor, we need clarity of intent and vision. For the poor to want a job and an apron to protect their clothes when working is part of doing justice. For the poor to keep cats to kill the rats, mice and cockroaches is doing justice. For the poor to have cat food to sustain the cats so that the cats are able to do their job, and feeding the people so that they do not have to eat the cats is part of doing justice in all its many aspects: distributive, redistributive, retributive, social etc.

Starthrower Foundation exists apart from the charity status quo mindset, and is constantly discerning and striving to stay true to our mission statement. Justice is more difficult than charity but infinitely more necessary to the planet. Martin Luther King`s vision that every person have 3 meals a day for their body, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirit is a vision of a just world. This Starthrower Foundation's vision. Is it yours?

Dom Helder Camera wrote, "When I give bread to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why people are poor, they call me a communist." There are no saints in Starthrower Foundation. Justice isn`t easy and it's certainly uncomfortable. I challenge each of you to push your personal comfort level in relation to those who live in absolute poverty. Everyone can do something. You can change the world.

Wishing you SHALOM, the fullness of peace that comes when there is justice for all.

“What we do for ourselves dies with us.
"What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
Albert Pine (English author, d.1851)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Hello Everyone!

We seem to be retuning to normal (whatever that is) after the Christmas break. Most of the kids have returned from 'en deyo' (the countryside) and report cards are starting to come in. Now we begin to set up tutoring sessions for those with problems.

Good news! We are now connected to a communal 'transformateur privé' (private transformer) which gives us a little more electricity. Not much on a regular basis, but we did have hydro Sunday, Monday and Wednesday night from about 7 p.m. til morning. First time in 9 years to have hydro all night! This is a strong current also, because we are now able to use it to pump water from our well. This will save on gas for the generator. We had a small flood Monday as the pump was left running all night. With the generator, it is impossible to forget the pump due to the noise. Lesson learned.

Wisky D. and Denis E. (apprentice mechanics) have been working with Jack this week as their Bos has temporarily closed the garage because his child is sick.

Tentatively, we have visitors coming in March (no dates yet) so we are painting the bedrooms.

I sometimes forget the 'mize' (misery) with which our staff and students live. Joceline's brother died Friday and the funeral was yesterday. She came in to work this morning with a hoarse voice and tears in her eyes. The throat problem is from crying, she told me, so I made a pot of tea with three different herbs, added a little honey and suggested she sip it throughout the day.

Jack's niece Sindel (6 months old) died December 22, and Will S.(12) died the same day. Will was the brother of Evaldine, one of our Sen Rafayel group. We had paid for him to go to the hospital in Pignon last summer as he was bleeding from eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Mme. S. asked, but we are unable to pay for the funeral. Will watch that situation as she could end up in prison if the bill is unpaid.

Edwina had an appointment at the hospital yesterday. They had to dilate her eyes for the exam (first time she'd ever had them dilated) and then they sent her out in that bright sun without cover. Edwina was in agony when she arrived here. We brought her inside, put cold cloths over her eyes, and fed her. Abel biked to the market and bought sunglasses for her and I donated my sunhat.

The hospital is on grev (strike) most days as nursing staff have not been paid for 9 months. Edwina was lucky.

Must go --5 minute warning [email shut-off] has been sent



Monday, January 8, 2007

Cap-Haitien, Haiti

Hello, Everyone!

The Haitians have an expression which carries many levels of meaning:

"Woch nan dlo pa konnen doulé woch nan soléy"

(The rock in the water doesn't know the pain of the rock in the sun)

I hear from so many people who are 'rocks in the water (those who have water for every need) who believe charity is the only solution for the 'rocks in the sun' (the poor of the world). Starthrower Foundation believes in social justice, not charity. My message on the home page and our Mission Statement explain this philosophy in more detail.

We have now taken on 6 more students from Sen Rafayel who had been on our wait list and who have been directly affected by recent flood damage. There was enough money to back pay entrance fees (frais) and fees for their 1st trimest. Hopefully, more funds will come in by February, so we can pay tuition, etc. for the balance of the year.

1) Illiomene J'F (b.18.05.85; photo) :: Both her parents died when she was young, and an uncle who had taken her in died 6 yrs ago. She's been staying with a family in Sen Rafayel who have now lost everything in the flood that occurred the week before Christmas.

2) Philomise D. (b.30.05.85) :: Her mother is dead and the flood took away her father's garden (jaden) and pig (cochon).

3)Shounoune J. (b.15.02.90) :: Father is dead, and since the flood when mother's small wooden house (bwa kay) was destroyed, they have been sleeping in a ditch beside the ruins.

4) Raphael M. (b.24.10.89) :: Both his mother and father are dead, and he's been staying with an aunt who has now lost all her chickens goats in the flood.

5) Berline P. (b.27.03.90) :: Both her mother and father are dead. Her brother has been trying to send her to school, but now has lost all his garden.

6) Ganel D. (b.26.10.89) :: Both parents are alive but ill, and their garden and chickens are now all lost.

So many more people suffered serious losses in this recent flood, which apparently didn't rate a mention in the national press, or due to holiday schedules, went unreported. Please help us help them.

Modeline J. needs a tumor removed. I had returned earlier than planned to try to arrange the surgery. She will have the surgery in Milot but is not yet strong enough, so we are prepping her with protein powder donated by Mme Lucie, and Vitamin C donated by Mme Cindy, and multivitamins donated by Mme Jan. That these donations that are vital for the life of one young Haitian came from donors in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Colorado shows what we can accomplish when we work together. Thank you, all! We are setting up infirmary rooms for Modeline's post-op in our 2 attached outbuildings. Anyone who has seen our video has seen where Modeline lives. She would die of post-op infection if she had to do her post-op there.

Dieugrand came in this morning (Sunday ) after church. He is absolutely devastated because someone stole his bike while he was at church. He worked so hard to save the money to buy it.

On a lighter note, Abel, Jacques and I travelled to Labadee on January 2, where we met with Mme. Cindy and her family. They had brought us 7 backpacks loaded with donations including the much needed Vitamin C. Cindy also brought pictures of her and Paula and their families and friends, showing them all packing Christmas boxes for our students. Those pictures are now displayed on the door to our office, so now everyone here can 'put faces to some of the names' of those who have been working so hard to help them.

We need to make preparations for our 2 young men who will finish Philo this year and want to study medicine in Cuba. If anyone can research the teaching hospital in Havana, Cuba, and send the contact name and email address, I would appreciate it.

I am told a lap top with wireless capability will allow me to send photos from a digital camera and will not require an account with internet supplier. I can use 2 locations here that have wireless coverage for patrons, so we just need the lap top. I will price them when I go to Ft. Lauderdale in February. We have so many wonderful photos saved on our new camera that I would love to send you all.

I leave you with another Haitian expression ::

Ti Poule pa mande plim li mande lavi.

(The little chick doesn't ask for fancy feathers; He just asks for life)

New Years blessings!



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