Sunday, October 21, 2007

Updates Food, Medical, Students in Haiti

Hello Everyone,

A rather lengthy update. I am sorry it's been so long.

Food Program:
I will leave Toronto on November 18, and stop in Fort Lauderdale to purchase and ship supplies for the house, then go to Cap-Haitien on November 20. I am going back a few weeks earlier than in previous years as the number of students arriving each weekend for food and medical referrals are increasing each week, and the staff is running out of supplies and money.

When we stopped food distribution on July 1 (due to lack of funds), we had 25 students coming weekly for food sacks. At that time, we only had 80 students being sponsored, and half of those were up the mountain in Sen Rafayel.

Currently, we have 138 students registered. The first week 31 came for food, the following week, 40 came, and last week, 50. We will evaluate our financial situation at Christmas as to whether we are able to continue. The folks at Starthrower America have a shipment due to arrive via CASCO this month (October), so there will be rice and oil. When it arrives, we will have a bit of a breather, since then we will only be needing funds for beans and the sacks.

As you know, I prefer to purchase everything in Haiti in order to support the local growers and merchants, but when it is a matter of continuing the program or not, we will go with Charity for a while to keep the program going.

Student Updates:
Micheline passed entrance exam) for Medical Technology. She began this 4 year program on October 5th. She needs a sponsor: The cost will be about $3,500 US a year as she must travel back and forth to Vertieres daily by tap tap, as well as need money to eat. There is no cafeteria, nor dormitory, at the school.

Deles and Vincent are enjoying the agronomy program at the University of Limbe. Deles has a sponsor for this 4 year program, Vincent is need of support. The cost here is about $2,400 US/ per year (If I remember correctly)

Marlene and Elorge each have a sponsor. They are applying to University in the Dominican Republic, where they hope to travel to in March to study intensive Spanish for 3 months, then write entrance exams. I have spoken with the 2 sponsors for Marlene and Elorge and they are agreeable to them attending medical school out of the country. (Marlene's sonogram for the pelvic growth resulted in no specific diagnosis and we have not been able to get a mammogram yet)

Elorge and Frantzy are again preparing "pyes-yo" (the papers necessary for application to medical school). They were not accepted at Notre Dame in Port-au-Prince, and, as 'poor' students, they were not treated nicely by the university there, For their new applications, they need to have medicals again, and to get new copies of all certificates. They must obtain originals again, as the copies of those sent to Notre Dame are not acceptable and Notre Dame does not return application material. This is both expensive and time consuming to start again. They also need passport and visa this time, which means they have to go to Port-au-Prince again.

Frantzy is in need of a sponsor, though. (Why Frantzy wants to be a doctor: His younger brother, Ernst, was one of our students. We sent him to the school for the deaf (Lekol des enfants sourdes). He contracted an ear infection almost 3 years ago. His parents, Carmene (our cook-housekeeper; she is his mother) and Frank borrowed money, and took him to the hospital for a consult, but found they could not afford the antibiotics or surgery recommended. Ernst died 3 days after that. He was 13 years old. Frantzy hopes that, by becoming a doctor, he can prevent more unnecessary deaths like his brother's.) We are going to try to register Frantzy in Cuba as well. So far, I have not received a reply to my query on his behalf.

Jhennie is also applying to study Medical Technology in the DR as she has friends there who can provide a safe space.

Medical Update:
Auguste tells me that Osner (who is about 18 inches taller that Auguste) came to the house very ill with fever. He had passed out outside our gate (portail). Auguste put him on our bicycle and took him to the clinic. Osner has malaria. We use everything to transport our ailing students -- the wheelbarrow, taxis, the bicycle. The vehicle I so often talk about is not a luxury but a necessity for so many reasons. Every time we use the wheelbarrow or bicycle to take someone to the hosp or clinic, we are putting everyone at risk. Perhaps we'll find one under the tree for Christmas.

One of our new girls, Guilene, in Cap-Haitien, came for medical consult. She is anemic with kidney stones (ti roch nan pipi) and genital/urinary tract infection. Remember most of these consults are with nurse practitioners as doctors are few in number.

Auguste has been so busy with medical referrals coming to the house that he has not yet registered for the English and computer courses he is going to take.

Thank you!
The reality of Haiti, according to UNICEF, is this : 50% OF THOSE ELIGIBLE BEGIN PRIMARY SCHOOL; OF THOSE WHO BEGIN, less than 2% complete high school. Starthrower is striving to break the seemingly endless cycle of absolute poverty by supporting those who can and will change their country. Thank you to those of you who have so faithfully support these young people. If you are looking at site for the first time, please join us. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Together we can change the world.

Blessings and thanks to all who support these amazing young people. If everyone who supports them tells one more person, we will be able to do even more. Special thanks to all the visitors who came to see us this past summer, We learn from every one of them, and hopefully, they learn from us. When people can see what we are doing in Haiti, and how their donations are spent, I am sure they come away with a new appreciation of the work we are doing, and the work still to be done.

Special thanks to the Grade 5 and 6 Girls Club at Golf Road Junior Public School in Scarborough, Ontario. Their fundraising efforts have made it possible to send a Haitian student, Sankara, to school in Sen Rafayel for the full year.

On a personal note:
Some have asked about my wrist. I am not having it re-broken. Current pain is mostly from the compression resulting from misalignment. Apparently that would remain the same. I now have a uniquely crooked wrist.

Before I close, Deles and Vincent both asked if it was possible for us to ask for a laptop for each of them. So on their behalf, I put out the request.

Kenbe red



Anonymous said...

You are doing an amazing work.

A majority of canadians don't fully grasp just how poor some people are in other countries.

Anonymous said...

You're right. But overwhelming poverty is something that we have no experience with, nothing to relate to. Even when you travel to these places, you may not see the true picture. It takes someone on the ground, so to speak, to give the full picture. Thanks, Sharon!


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