Friday, March 21, 2008

Haiti School News Sen Rafayel successes, post secondary sponsors needed

Hello Everyone,

This week, staff from Sen Rafayel hand-delivered 5 typed letters from our students there who are finishing Philo (high school) this year. That Sen Rafayel, a poor little village in the mountains, will have high school grads is unheard of!! We should be proud of our part to make this happen, and I thank you all for your support!

Each of these graduating students went to see Guilene (our blind student) and asked her to type on their behalf a request for assistance so that they may attend post secondary schools.

To Don and Cindy and everyone in Pennsylvania who secured the Brailler and typewriter for her, thanks! Guilene has become the village secretary! Bon dye va beni-w. (see website for pictures of Guilene)

The requests for financial assistance are from these students:
  • Danius and Jhonley want to become master mechanics, and so will have to go to Port-au-Prince to study study Genie Mecanique.
  • Brunie wants to become a nurse, so will have to leave Sen Rafayel, as the village has NO post secondary offerings.
  • Casimir and Osman want to study agronomy, so they will need to move to either Limbe or Port-au-Prince to study La Science de l'agronomie.
As well, other students need help with post secondary education:
  • Deles and Vincent, our first 2 university students, are completing their first year at the University in Limbe, and will need financial help to continue. Although we can spread our limited resources further for secondary support if we pool the funds, these post grad requests really require one-on-one sponsorship.
  • Jhennie is still waiting for a sponsor to send her to study Tourism Administration.
  • Frantzy needs a sponsor so he can study Medicine.
Sponsored students Elorge and Marlene will go the Dominican Republic to study intensive Spanish, and then Medicine. Both of their sponsors have approved their out-of-country study.

If we expand our mandate to see these young people through post secondary institutions, they will truly be in a position to affect change their country. The elite 1% still has a stranglehold on the country. That must change for Haiti to flourish.

For example, Marlene finally had breast surgery yesterday. We have been waiting for this surgery for almost a year. I received a phone call at 8 pm last night saying she had arrived home (by taxi; we had sent Daniel and Jackson to bring her from Milot back home to Cap-Haitien). The hospital in Milot was unable to keep her, as it is on short staff due to the Easter Holiday.

We recently purchased beds and mosquito nets for 3 of our young people -- Dieunet, Jean Ricot, Nandecie -- as each of them had suffered multiple bouts of Malaria this year. We do what we can one person at a time.

We will try to meet the demand, if possible, but housing, of course, is another, great challenge. Often in their ti kay-yo (rented rooms), there is insufficient space for a single bed. Dieumane moved into a new room this week, so she is next on the list for a bed. Auguste and I visited it last week with some of our Canadian visitors.

Her new room is just a cement box without windows, but at least it is out of the swamp she was in before this. Houses are available for purchase in Haiti, but (again) red tape and lack of funds make this virtually impossible.

These are the stats courtesy Paul Farmer, writing in his book The Uses of Haiti
There are 1.2 doctors, 1.3 nurses, 0.04 dentists for every 10,000 (Haitians), in the U.S., there are 27.9 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants; in Cuba, there are 58.2 doctors for every 10,000 inhabitants.
If you haven't yet read Paul Farmer, I highly recommend getting a copy of the Uses of Haiti. Another good book about Haiti and Paul Farmer is Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. If you buy more than one (get one for a friend) you may get special shipping rates in the U.S.


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