Friday, June 10, 2011

Catching Up -- home, hacked, mud, measles, exams

It's good to be home. Yes, the student computer I was carrying was hacked at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, sending an email exchange between myself and our webmaster to places and persons known and unknown. Yes, the Sunday flight from Providenciales to Cap-Haitien was delayed for 3 hours, resulting in staff wondering where I was. Yes, my luggage didn't make it until Monday. What's life without surprises?
It's good to be home!

Carmene - mud wear for the market
To complicate life, we've had 4 consecutive days of rain, humidity hovering around the extremely uncomfortable mark.  Because of the mud (mixing with the garbage and sewage) in the streets, Carmene found the ideal footwear -- castoff boots from other feet in another country, from another time. They don't fit  properly, but I don't know a Haitian who has ever had proper-fitting footwear let alone new.

In spite of the rain, Jack traveled to Sen Rafayel, to order supplies and hire for the next stage of construction, digging the septic beds and foundations. He just returned, after spending the entire day in an open camionet,  and reports mud-slides, rock-fall,  frequent road closures necessitating everyone digging by hand,  accidents and a full size bus and tap-tap sliding off the mountain track. Rain is not a friend when travelling the mountainside. He will head back up again on Monday to oversee the project.

Student News

When safe enough, we will all travel up, as state exams for 9eme, Reto and Philo will take place between June 28-July 14. Our State exam students (48) in Sen Rafayel must travel to Grand Riviere du Nord to write, so we're in the process of purchasing and packaging food to distribute. We'll also distribute funds for the commute.

In Cap, our State exam  students (27) write in a location mandated by the Ministry of Education, but stay in town.  Those writing non-state years have already begun. Our young people attending Lycees in Cap have an uphill battle. For most of the year those attending Boukman and Philippe Guerriere have had no teachers. The state has not been paying them, so they don't show up. It's a much different story in Sen Rafayel where the Lycee, Charlemagne Perault, has the best academic record in the Northern Department.

Thank godness for the natural supplement Allimax -- we're dealing with several new cases of H Pylori, Malaria and Typoid. Cholera is rearing its head again but so far no cases. Micheline , in her final year at the Polytechnique studying Medical Technology, came in with a case of the measles. Apparently the streets and schools are full of them. Although she is near the end of her outbreak, she wouldn't come in. She had treated the spots with an accepted Haitian remedy, Kleren (raw rum) followed by lanmidon (manioc flour). This burned her skin, but is acknowledged  treatment. We provided lotion, vitamins and Allimax plus food sack and potable water. It will be touch and go for her to complete the program this year as she was gravely ill prior to Christmas.

Micheline with measles (lawoujol) after home remedy.
Thanks to our web guy, Daniel, the student computer which was hacked has been scanned and is virus-free. It is on loan to Danius, entering third year business administration in Cap. Nicoly dropped in with registration papers for the Agriculture program at the university in Limbe, so stayed for orientation.  It afforded him the opportunity to familiarize with computer basics, as they are not available in the high schools but necessary for university.

Danius tries out his 'odinate' while Nicoly looks on
We always need new and used laptops in good working condition. Please contact me if you have one to donate.

Othanes (Reto, Cap-Haitian) sent word that his father died in Sen Rafayel and was travelling up for the funeral.

Plenito (first year Electrical Engineering) phoned from Port-au-Prince to update us on his situation. Because of the heavy rains, the student apartment in which he was staying is completely under water, leaving him scrambling for alternate arrangements. Where does one go in a city which already has more than a million people  living under makeshift tents?

And in closing

Four weeks go by in the blink of an eye. While in Canada, in addition to the blur of appointments, speaking engagements, and good times with friends old and new, there is always time to read.  The works of Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) have always spoken to me, and one quote in particular resonated. I leave it with you.

          "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
                                                               the most massive characters are seared with scars."

Kenbe pa lage

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