Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 12th - 2 years after, Signs of the Times

The best laid plans - a blog post  for  January 12 looking at where we are 2 years after the quake is a few days late. One needs a steady source of electricity,  strong enough to fire up modem, router, and laptop. It has been a very quiet, dark week. No electricity - perhaps hoping to quell protests - it worked.  Schools were closed but no programs planned. Some closed the day before as well as the day after. Throughout the country, banks and many businesses shut down.  

Perhaps the continued absence of electricity  is an appropriate indicator of how far we've come in 2 years. Not far.  There are other more tangible 'signs'. The question to be raised -- is this progress?

Life without Cholera - always treat the water you use
with bleach tablets
Billboards are springing up everywhere, this one at our corner  sponsored by the Ministry of Public Health and a very high profile international NGO. The smiling actor is telling  those who can read and afford to purchase, to use  aquatabs to purify water for drinking purposes. It has been my experience that those who can read and can afford  aquatabs can in fact afford to purchase potable water. While not certain who the target audience is, I am certain that the funds for the soaring ad  would be more effectively used implementing a  door-to-door distribution program of free aquatabs. Just the view from the sidelines.

Aside from Cholera, has the quality of life improved? Are there jobs, you ask?  Well, not yet, but according to this billboard, in the first 20,000 jobs that are coming, there is one for you! Again  women, one discernable, the second a blurred image , head bowed in concentration over a piece of material - perhaps sewing t-shirts in a sweat shop  10 hours a day for minimum wage? Here that is   $3.  a day - not enough to feed a family of 2. 

Just because we could, Auguste and I stood under 2 different signs and asked those passing by what they thought the message was. No one had even looked at the signs until we pointed them out. Most looked, shook their heads and walked away without comment.

We're going to get a lot of business - get ready for your share

Opportunities are coming, get ready to grab them.

How is the housing market? I'm glad you asked. The January 12 edition of Le Nouvelliste was just delivered - a few days late,  like this blog. It arrives by plane from Port-au-Prince.  On the front page a picture of Canaan, earthquake tent city. ( Inside, articles on gifts for relocating 5000 families. Twenty million dollars to relocate 5000 families? I don't like the math. One can bet those being relocated are not from the ranks of the poor.  So in reply to your question, the housing market is stalled. Here in Cap-Haitien, Carmene and her family and Inea and her sister and hundreds of others wait for their homes to be destroyed for an airport/ hotel. Unknown numbers  have already lost their homes. We have had no luck finding housing for 17 yr. old Inea, and her surgery (Thyroidectomy) is scheduled for Feb. 4th. That doesn't mean it will happen that day, however, we live in hope. We're looking for housing for ourselves as well, but that's another story.

Sen Rafayel

In Sen Rafayel, work continues on our education support centre, Jasmine House (Lakay Jasmine) We finally have a home base from which to work. Last week we visited  2 of our senior students. Here is a short video which takes us from the newly paved main street (another sign of the times) into the neighborhood where Wislet and his family live. Dad died 14 years ago. Mom holds the family to-gether. We were delivering a sponsor's Christmas gift package as well as catching up on family comings and goings. Within our community, there are only 2 families which are intact. Due to space constraints, siblings and parents (if they are living) are  often separated for years without any news of each other.

Mme. M sits in the corner of the one room
tikay she shares with 3 of her teenage children.
The oldest boy is in Port-au-Prince.

Kitchen window

Kitchen corner - family of five

"Your living is determined not so much by what
life brings to you as by the attitude
you bring to life"
                                                                       Kahlil Gibran

The good news is, two years later we're still here,  stronger than ever. From our home to yours, beni-w. More later from the down side of Sen Rafayel.

Kenbe pa lage
Lakay Fondasyon
Cap-Haitien, Haiti

PS During the writing of this blog we lost and regained hydro 9 times.

PPS 10 times

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