Sunday, March 6, 2011

More new faces, a laptop arrives, Judy's Group

Drums, dogs, roosters, rain, bullets and babies - each component of Haiti's nocturnal rhapsody is a reminder that others are also sleep deprived. Thursday night rain, dogs and babies took turns trying to outdo each other.

Mme Cindy delivers laptop donated by Lynn D.

In the  morning, despite mud in the street, our students started arriving with the staff at 8a.m. 'Kanaval' (madigra) had begun. This celebration gives students a week-long holiday, so we will be busy until next Wednesday.  Auguste and I had a 'randevu'  in Labadee with Mme Cindy, who had a day stop on a cruise. The usual 90 min. trip to the beach  took almost 5 hours as carnival antics clogged the streets and will continue without rest.

Mme Cindy delivered a backpack of supplies for Talien, whom she had seen in an earlier blog, and a  notebook computer donated by Lynn D., also response to a blog request.  Daniel put them in touch with each other. Thank you, Lynn and everyone involved in the transfer of this gift. Jhennie will be very happy when she receives this at spring break. Let us know if you're passing through on a cruise or vacationing in the Turks and Caicos. There is potential here!


Anpan ! Jack and Auguste start to unpack.

Our weekly trek to Sen Rafayel took an unexpected turn. Only a few kilometers to go and a clamp on the rear axel gave way and the tire just drifted away from the truck. A vehicle 'anpan' on the side of a Haitian mountain is the very definition of 'stranded'. Our mechanical knowledge is limited. As Auguste had phone service, we called Boss mechanic Max and staffer Djohn in Sen Rafayel. After a lengthy wait in the midday heat, help and alternate transportation arrived. Jack stayed with the vehicle and Auguste and I headed for the office for prearranged interviews.

In order to accommodate everyone, we doubled up by grade and school to make up for our late arrival.  As students had been through initial interviews in September, had papers checked, family histories taken, it was time to find out what had happened in their lives since September.

We are still making our way through letters received last summer.  Everyone in this group was  sitting in on classes, unable to write exams as fees unpaid.  Staff members were on the go all day. Kesner and Djohn split the registrations, travelling with the students to pay fees, secure book lists and receipts. Fabiola had the day off so  organized the interviews and saw to distribution of  food sacks, funds for uniforms, and basic supplies.

 New Faces

Philo students Wisline, Adelaine, Guerlande with staff
Djohn, Fabiola and Auguste
(first year of high school)

2eme (5th year of high school) students Wislet and Tchawens
Ginette - 3eme
(4th year of high school)

Edeline ices a severely swollen ankle. Ice is not available in Sen
 Rafayel.It travelled in our cooler. She will  travel to Pignon for xrays.

Jesumene - 9eme
(3rd year of high school)

Angelene - 8eme
(second year of high school)
Before leaving there are always emergencies to be dealt with - this week hospital fees to pay for Evaldine, Illiomene and Fabiola. Last visit, Edeline arrived for her interview injured. This time she was in more pain. The most expedient response was a trip up the mountain to the hospital in Pignon. They have x-ray facilities so we arranged the consult. The round trip will take her 6 hours in an open vehicle over non-existent tracks.

Our office is coming under increasing vandalism, so both Kesner and Djohn are sleeping there. Holes riddle the new roof from rocks being catapaulted. For safety of staff and students, we need to move or close in Sen Rafayel.

Back in Cap-Haitien we search our office stock for text books, prepare a master list of those we need to purchase then Saturday, student staffers Rosema, Sherlyne and Myriame searched the market place. It is a time consuming process as most booksellers carry only a couple of titles and copies. No book store lined with choices. Today they are  processing for delivery.

More new faces

The first summer we were in the Cap-Haitien center, we turned away more than 2000 students asking for support. We continue to turn away on average about 2500 per year. There are always those who persist, like Fredelyn. We accept letters of request in December and July, but Fredelyn was persistent. So after half a dozen visits I finally asked him to write a letter detailing  his situation. He and younger sister Sarafina are orphans. Since their parent's deaths, they have been staying with a cousin, Paulette, Gran and an aunt, who is a seamstress. Gran died.  Matant was not able to make enough money to support everyone so saved  for a passport and travelled to the Dominican Republic in August to look for work. There has been no word since. They fear the worst.  She had paid for first term for the kids.

Fredelyn - 9eme
(3rd year of high school)

Sarafina- 7eme
(First year of high school)
Tuesday we made a home visit, met cousin Paulette, then travelled  to town to-gether and paid school fees for the rest of the year. While our working model is effective and efficient, finances limit our ability to say yes to everyone who knocks looking for soutyen. Those lucky ones you meet  here are in the minority.

And in closing

Friday afternoon was blog post time. But a phone call from a friend of Micheline's changed that. Micheline (3rd year Medical Technology) was very ill and the hospital could not keep her. Auguste picked her up by taxi and brought her here.  She has Typhoid, H-pylori, Filariasis and anemia. More sleepless nights. Add private duty nursing to our list.

In response to the last blog, Judy in NB, Canada wrote: "I am ...moved by the letter from Nicoly G...I am a senior with very limited funds... wondering if I ...can be part of this young man's future by sending $10. a month - part of another group that steps forward, perhaps?" (used with permission) We have added Nicoly to our group sponsoring program "Starthrower in Action". It takes one to make a start. It takes another to keep the momentum going. Perhaps that is you. Thank-you Judy.

A special hello to the members and staff support of the Girl's Club of Golf Road Junior Public School in Scarborough, Ontario. Starfish themselves, already seasoned Starthrowers. Remarkable.

So to all you remarkable readers, kenbe pa lage.


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