Friday, July 20, 2007

Hydro, Housing, Workforce and Outrage

Hello Everyone,

We have 18 students working for the summer with another 5 on the (work) waiting list. We just do not have the resources for everyone to work. Nine are working in direksyon (the education program), which involves cleaning, repairing and covering last year's text books to hand out to this year's students. They work 3 days a week and have chosen to start at 7 a.m. when it is cooler. They finish at 1 p.m. Our students are a little slow returning books this year.

The other nine students are working with Jack, taking care of the house and grounds. They work 4 days a week and have also voted to work from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. We are preparing to open the staircase in the kitchen out on to the roof. This should drop the temperature inside considerably as we will replace the current tol (corrugated metal) roof with cement blocks. Here in Haiti, we purchase cement and sand, rent a form and make the cement blocks ourselves. When they are dry enough, we pass them up to the roof using our gwo nechel la (long ladder) with one student every 3 rungs.

Claudy brought textbooks and news from Sen Rafayel. While we here in Cap-Haitien are parched and hoping for rain on a daily basis, Sen Rafayel (up the mountain) again has too much rain, and the gardens, which were coming back after the December flood, have again been destroyed. That little village just cannot catch a break.

As of yesterday, our staff have responded to 102 young people seeking entrance and help. (That is just since I returned on July 1st) We have 14 on our new wait list for September. We have not made any home visits yet, as we are hoping to find a vehicle (or perhaps 2 used vehicles -- we have everyone in Cap on the lookout).

Four of those who came did not have report cards, as they had not paid final trimest (term) fees. Auguste travelled to Semi Lycee Anacaona and paid for 3 of them. Claudy will come down with more books and go back with money to pay fee for Monese. There will be others in the interim who have not been able find out if they passed due to shortage of funds to get report cards released.

Their housing, too, is a growing problem. The little shacks (ti kay yo) which used to cost between $200 and 500 Haitian ($30-$70 USD) are now $1500-$5000 Haitian ($200-$700 USD). That is with no improvements. We are on the constant look for housing. I think it is time to start buying a few and fixing them up for student housing.

Jhennie and Dieugrand both have eye infections. Although we try to provide sunglasses and hats for everyone, by the time these young people reach their teens, a lifetime of sun glare, blowing dust and constant dehydration has already taken its toll.
Electricity has been very intermittent so far.

Last week, everyone went without power as EDH was saving hydro for Sunday night's COPA America soccer match between Brazil and Argentina. This city erupted in a frenzy of dance and music -- and the best part -- no violence. Last night, we still had no electricity, so those waiting for emails, please have patience. Our wonderful system is only as good as the electricity which drives it.

Wednesday morning, I turned on the computer, and saw the headline '195 feared dead in Brazilian plane crash'. What a tragedy, and we are all sorry to hear of the lives lost.

But let's put it in the perspective of the larger picture. Stats tell us that, worldwide, between 24,000 and 30,000 children (anyone 18 yrs of age and younger, according to the UN) die daily as a result of the debt crisis (absolute poverty).

To put the large numbers in perspective, the number of children who die each day, worldwide, is at least 120 of those planes. All those planes -- filled with infants, toddlers, youth, teens -- crashing every day. No survivors. And a significant number of those deaths occur in Haiti, and our grief is real and as profound. This is not old news; this is Current Events. This is happening NOW.

No experts make their way here to examine the tragedy. No teams arrive to comfort family and friends, who grieve and ask 'WHY?"

Why are we not outraged?

Please examine what you are doing to change these statistics. Each number represents a real person. Indifference kills as surely as malnutrition.


No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails