Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cap-Haitien Feast, Tropical Storm Fay, Charity, Social Justice, Medical Bills, School Sponsors

Hello Everyone,

Where to start?
Last week passed in a blur of noise and celebration. It was Cap-Haitien's patronal feast celebration (Notre Dame Cap Ayisien). The actual date is August 15th but celebrations begin a full week in advance. Many expats return for this feast. Hotels were full and music was everywhere, 24 hours a day. Sleeping was interesting. Gave new meaning to 'lullabye'.

Still no electricity and it's becoming more difficult to find ice. Our visitors arrive today (Tuesday), so I will have to take a taxi out to the Culligan factory in Morn Rouj to purchase ice. I'm using solar power for a few minutes just to send this update, then I'll get offline and reroute solar to the fridge.

On Friday, Tropical storm Fay blew in to town, ripping roofs off ti kay yo during the night, sending garbage flying in all directions and flooding many houses. On Saturday during the rain, Soeur Ginette dropped in from Sen Rafayel to deliver our students' medical bills and bills for pharmaceutical services. Last year we owed her 35,000 gourdes ($1,000 USD). This year we owe 103,350 gourdes ($2,953.00 USD) and this is money we don't have as yet to pay her. She is, however, extremely patient. The information she provides is so valuable in getting a clear picture of life in the village.

If we can find the funds to begin a pilot program of food and potable water distribution in Sen Rafayel (not to mention enough to restart our program here in Cap-Haitien), I am certain we would see a dramatic decline in the number of clinic visits. Sherline is working on the receipts, grouping them by month and checking the number of visits by each student. Afterwards I will prepare a list of illness, the number of times they occurred and the months when the most illness occurred.

School Sponsorship News
Marlene and Elorge set off Monday morning for Santiago, DR, to begin university life. Their courage is amazing. They also have intelligence and common sense so should be fine. Only Deles, Elorge and Marlene currently have sponsors.

Here at home we have a large number of students waiting to go on, and time is quickly running out for registration deadlines. Half of our kids from last year will sit out the year, as will our high school grads who want to go on.

Due to lack of funds, the graduating and current students NOT continuing this year are:
  1. Micheline 2nd year of Medical technology program
  2. Vincent 2nd year of Agriculture (his sponsor is unable to continue)
  3. Rosenie first year kindergarten teacher
  4. Alland - first year medicine
  5. Brunie - first year nursing
  6. Wisly - first year medicine
  7. Osner- first year agriculture
  8. Gabriel- first year agriculture
  9. Lebrun - first year agriculture
  10. Johnley- first year Genie Mechanique
  11. Danius- first year Genie Mechanique
  12. Frantzy- first year Medical Technology (he has a half scholarship for the 3 year program)
  13. Plenitude (Jean Baptiste) currently in Port-au-Prince studying for entrance exams to study agriculture.

We won't even get to our waiting list of 140+.students this year.
So basically, the bottom line is:
  • No money for food
  • No money for school
  • No money to pay the medical bills
The sad truth . . .
Starthrower received a sizeable donation prior to Christmas 2007 that has yet to be transferred to us here in Haiti. We can't feed these kids here in Haiti, nor can we send them to school or house them while this donation is still sitting in a U.S. bank.

This is another very real example of the 'Arrogance of Charity (see article on the web site). Many well intentioned folks have visited Haiti then left for home without really SEEING, smelling or feeling the misery of the lives of these young people. The lives of the most visitors are comfortable, so they can't see the urgency, the very real need, so why move with any speed?

I shake my head and sigh. Power and control over the poor is such a 'charity' mindset. 'Justice' wouldn't hesitate; a justice minded group would have had those funds here for last Christmas.

Please help if you can. Those who already have, thank you so much on behalf of these amazing young people. They more than deserve a chance, they are owed a chance..

Like Martin Luther King, I too have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have 3 meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.

Please be audacious and justice minded. Help us save this year for them.


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