Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to School, New Starfish, New Starthrowers

Hello Everyone,

I received a phone call last night to tell me that the supplies from Pennsylvania came last week, but that they had just found our phone number to let us know. Jack will call on Monday morning and make arrangements to travel and go secure them. As usual, Mme Cindy has perfect timing. With school opening, whatever she sends will be used quickly. Thank you, Mme Cindy and State College Pennsylvania.

Carmene will be making our "Proba" (protein/peanut butter mix) just before I return from Canada at the end of November, and we need the protein powder. We will package and distribute it the first week of December. I hope to distribute Vitamin C at the same time, if we have enough. We distributed extra Vitamin C with the multi vitamins last winter and on the whole everyone seemed to stay healthier.

We are NOT working today, our first and only Saturday of repose since I got back. The week has been insane trying to prepare 100 plus young people for school. Some uniforms are not ready and some schools are not ready meaning those involved will get a later start. Many of the text books have been changed this year, so this week Julia, Jhennie and Micheline will continue working with Rosenie to search the marketplace. This is a hot, frustrating process. They usually buy a sandwich and a drink to keep up their energy.

They come home by taxi, and then the new books are processed. Each page is checked for printing errors and missed pages, then photocopies of the missing pages are made. This means making another trip into la ville by tap tap or taxi, then searching for a place which has either electricity or a generator operating to run the photocopier, then returning home, and inserting the missing pages, where necessary. All books are covered with plastic, which we also buy in the market. After covering all the texts, we stamp with our special 'dam', check the list then print the name of the recipient in the upper right hand corner. Then the books are either inserted in waiting backpacks, or if backpacks have been delivered already, texts are wrapped in plastic bags and scotch tape, and labelled, ready for delivery. We also have to change 4 complete booklists as the state was late with some results. Four of our Grade 9ers need to be upgraded to 3eme.

Claudy and Louisena came down the mountain from Sen Rafayel yesterday to pick up the back packs for College Bon Berger. They also took first trimest fees for College Bon Berger and College VIncent Oge. We took on 3 new Starfish from Sen Rafayel. All have been sitting out for at least a year due to the death of one or both parents. All are in class Rheto. Uniform money was sent and books will be purchased, then back packs prepared and will be sent along with school funds on Thursday when Claudy comes back. He will bring a different partner as Louisena starts school Monday, Sept 17. Claudy starts Monday, Sept. 24.

Soeur Ginette also visited us on Friday. She brought the receipts and bill for consultations and meds dispensed at her little clinic in Sen Rafayel. The total for these 6 months was 34,000 gourdes ($6800 Haitian or $1000 USD). There were only 30 on her list last year. This year, there are more than 60. I will go through each fiche and record illnesses and recurrences.

We have a visitor arriving this week. Jeff will be with us for 5 days and Mme. Carmene has already prepared a menu for each day. It should be a nice quiet time for him as most of the craziness is behind us. This week, we will visit all Cap-Haitien schools and pay frais and first trimest fees. Next Saturday, we will visit the University in Limbe with Jeff to see how Deles and Vincent are settling in to their new lives. Thanks to all who have worked so hard to give these amazing young people 'possibilite'.

I would like to officially welcome Starthrower America and thank their board of directors for taking on such a huge challenge. Thank you, Mark, Lucie, Steve, Peggy, Jeff and Peter.

There are times in the midst of the chaos and seeming confusion when I stop and really look at what is happening here, like the jobs everyone does with such efficiency and joy. I listen to the conversations and the laughter, and remember the deep grief many carried with them when they first came. I think of the newly arrived Starfish, still overwhelmed with grief and fear and I am also overwhelmed at how blessed I am to be part of this amazing journey.
Kenbe red


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