Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Exam Rewrites, Waiting Lists Sen Rafayel and Cap-Haitien

Hello Everyone,

Sorry it's been a while since last I wrote, but I've been fighting multiple infections, and simply had no energy to handle email, etc. on top of everything else.

As I write this, it's 6 a.m. on Monday: The house choir across the street (enfas nou) is practising; we had much needed rain last night; and at this current minute, there is electricity. In Haiti, it just doesn't get much better than this! And if we had television, I would be glued to the Olympics coverage.

Yesterday I was cleaning cupboards and drawers in preparation for the visit of Alex and Laura (who are coming from Canada next week), when I came across a newspaper clipping from August 2004, of a letter to the editor of a Toronto newspaper, written by our intrepid web wizard Karen. It is entitled Haiti: Things so much worse. The cut line reads:
"Food supplies are low, electricity limited, garbage is piled up, people are sick and riots, murders continue."
Seems old news is still news four years later.

Last week, Claudy and Fabiola came down the mountain from Sen Rafayel. They left the village at 6 a.m. and arrived here at 2:30 p.m. -- 8 and a half hours to make the 28 km (17.3 miles) trip. The vehicle broke down (enpan) and the bridge is still out. Fabiola came in Louisena's place, as Louisena was preparing to rewrite Rheto exams.

After they had used the facilities, and had something to eat, and stretched a bit, we met in the office. They brought report cards, and reinskripyon dates as well as new book lists. We prepared envelopes and lists for each school. We also made a cursory pass at the waiting list they brought. There are 72 in Sen Rafayel and 70 in Cap-Haitien on the waiting lists alone.

Please keep our kids in your thoughts this week as they retake their exams. We have 3 from Sen Rafayel (who have to go to Grand Riviere Du Nord to rewrite), and 3 in Cap-Haitien.

Claudy and Fabiola told us that during exams, nobody in Sen Rafayel slept, they just studied. If someone had a candle or a wind-up flashlight, several students gathered around the light to study together.

Around 5:30 p.m., Claudy and Fabiola left to return to Sen Rafayel. As we were concerned about their safety and wanted to make sure they got home, Auguste phoned several times throughout the evening. Finally Claudy called him at 2 a.m. to say that they had just arrived in Sen Rafayel. I will be so very glad when we find a vehicle. Putting staff at risk like this is a nightmare.

Although there are no funds, I have again juggled the rent money in order to send Alland, Brunie and Wisky to Port-Au-Prince (Potoprens) to write entrance exams to study medicine. If I am going to be awake anyhow, worrying about kids travelling in unsafe conditions, I might as well be awake for several reasons.

We have outgrown our space as many of you who visit us well know. We were offered a lovely house in Audecap which the owner was willing to repair for us; However, lack of funds and no vehicle make this an unviable option. We found a smaller apartment here in Cap-Haitien where we could move our Text Book Program, and free up space here at the house. It was beyond filthy but had potential and good location.

So we made a deal with the owner that we would first go in and clean from top to bottom, then he would paint. But when we arrived, in Jackson's 'old' taxi, ready to clean the place, everything -- filth and all -- had already been painted over. Today we meet with the owner to (hopefully) get our deposit back.

The choir is finished, and the hydro gone (now on solar). Will plug in fridge. More later.


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