Thanks for the response to the column Auguste is writing on Haiti life for the website. He was "byen kontan" to receive emails especially as they were in English and afforded him practice opportunities. Hope you have had the opportunity to read it, and exclaim over the creative genius of our webmaster. What Auguste neglected to mention was that last year when he studied and successfully passed state exams for Philo, he worked full time for us, choosing to attend school each day from 3-8 p.m.
Long time listener, First time Caller . . .
Sometimes you have to laugh. Friday morning Joceline was getting ready to go to the laundromat, so Auguste continued her How to use a Cell Phone instruction. He has the patience of Job! To give Joceline some practice in using the cell phone, he asked her to call Jack, who was working out in the corner of the yard getting the patio ready for use as a work station for the text book recycling program. When Jack's phone rang, he answered. Joceline seemed to get a case of stage fright, as she spoke in a whisper so he had no idea who was calling him.
Joceline seemed slightly fearful of the whole cell phone operation, so she passed the phone to Auguste, who explained to Jack that they were practicing. Everyone laughed, then hung up. Then Joceline called Dieugrand', who was working in the garden, and the same activity ensued. Then Joceline rang the Digicel phone in the house, and Auguste answered. Then she called the other house phone. As Joceline was gaining confidence in this cell phone business, Auguste and I asked her to phone Jackson, the taxi driver.
But when Jackson answered his phone, Joceline reverted back to whispering. By this time, everyone was laughing, including Joceline. When she returned from the laundromat, having successfully laundered everything and then phoned Jackson for pick up, she was feeling very proud of herself. What a difference from 5 or 6 years ago when there were no cell phones and I was walking downtown to Teleco central to phone Canada!
If you have been following our blogs, you may recall that Joceline is a widow with 7 children. Auguste taught her how to read and print her name last year. Imagine the challenges she has faced and overcome in performing what we consider routine tasks, such as setting dials on washers and driers, and scrolling through a cell phone address book!
These are all foreign activities to her and she is only just beginning to use her new reading skills. What a trooper! I think the way the staff here support each other is one of the reasons our young people like to visit. This warm welcome and support is extended to everyone who enters.
Animal Kingdom, Haiti Style
This morning I received my usual 4 a.m. wake up calls from the roosters and cats. As I wrote to a friend earlier this week, I have been trying to train the roosters to provide a 5 a.m. wake up call, but they are stubborn old birds. So, after half an hour of yoga and meditation under the mosquito net, I got up, and fed the cats, then began to fill the pots with water to boil. Then the screech of the pentads (guinea fowl) began -- more stubborn old birds!
For some reason, pentads like our cat food and I spent the next ten minutes chasing them out of the food and trying to send them back to their yard, clapping my hands (pretty tricky with my wonky left wrist) and calling out in Kreyol (guinea fowl don't speak English, nor do the roosters or the cats). Every time I stopped clapping and calling out, they came up to me honking in their unique way. The thought crossed my mind that this was a very undignified start to my 63rd birthday. No respect from any of them.
Sen Rafayel clinic, text book program
On a more serious note, Soeur Ginette came to visit yesterday from Sen Rafayel. She has operated a small clinic there for over 30 years. We provide an updated student list every September and she provides consult, diagnosis and meds for our youth. Once a year we do an accounting. Her concerns were 3 fold:
- number and extent of dental needs
- the worsening malnutrition ( as if it could get worse)
- the debilitating anemia everyone suffers.
Lack of vehicle affects book program Sen Rafayel
The hunt continues for our own vehicle (see vehicle safety post), but good used vehicles are very scarce. Also because the public vehicles which travel the mountain are so unsafe and frequently anpan, not to mention targets for robbery, at our weekly meeting on Friday, staff decided to delay implementing the book project in Sen Rafayel until next year when we hopefully will have a vehicle. Rosenie and Edwina travelled yesterday to pick up the books which Claudy and Louisena packed. They will return today.
Auguste just phoned to say that Brunie Gilles in Sen Rafayel has managed to find a place to stay in Cap-Haitien, and will come down Monday morning in order to take the summer Premed course with Alland and Wisly. She wants to enter nursing.
And on that note, have a great July 13th! (sandwiched in between Bastille day and Orangemans Day)
A thought about poverty and the poor . . .
I overheard a conversation last week in which "the problem of the poor" and "the poverty problem" were being discussed.
The poor of Haiti (and by extension, of the world) are the most innovative and creative people on the planet when it comes to solving seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all adjusted our consciousness to see 'the poor' as the resource needed to solve 'the poverty problem' rather than the problem itself?