Saturday, February 11, 2012

Building a Library, A sponsor visits, Hospital Crisis in Milot

The internet is a treasure trove. While looking for quotes on reading and libraries, I discovered that one could spend hours moving from site to site, and scroll through thousands of quotes. How to choose and when to say enough!!  I kept returning to this:

     " To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries."
                                                            (A C Grayling, Financial Times reviewing A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel)

Rosema, Edwige and Jean-Ricot  - Friday after school, reading
the newly arrived journal Le Matin

As a life-long insatiable reader, it came to my attention early on that sadly, our young people here have no experience reading for pleasure. There is just nothing available. When I take a few minutes out of a busy day to escape into a book, Carmene will invariably come up and ask what I am studying. I wanted to offer more to our young people and over the years carried with me a few books (in French not Kreyol).
Our library has been modest for many reasons - primarily lack of availability. The five Harry Potter (Fr.) books I had purchased several years ago have been up and down the mountain many times. Two have gone MIA.  Then last week, two propitious events. A donation to Starthrower specifically to purchase library books (thank-you Eugene in Ottawa). Two days later while standing in a pharmacy waiting for meds for a student, I noticed Jose, a self-labelled  'independent' book seller, displaying his wares for the owner. It happened to be a soft-cover set of Agatha Christie mysteries. Knowing there was a donation already in hand, I purchased the books he did not sell and gave him our address, should he have others to sell.

Edwina and Inea - fresh from a hospital visit in Milot , diving
into the books before they were processed
Of course he had others to sell. Two days later he was at our door with another 35 books and copies of the journal Le Matin, which we had been trying to find to balance what is printed in Le Nouvelliste. This book selection was delightfully eclectic: Toni Morrison, Daniel Defoe, Aldous Huxley, Edgar Allen Poe to name a few. Very quickly I went overbudget. All are in French although if we could find some in Spanish we would also add them. As French is one of the two official languages here, it is studied but not immersion style. The desire to read is so strong, they will  read with  dictionary in hand.

Camiose after school

Lusnot takes a break from work

With two education centers on the go, we hope to build a large collection, shelving half in each center, making one independent book seller very happy. We'll rotate the books to keep the supply fresh. This weekend we'll be covering and processing the rest. Fifty books doesn't seem like a library but it is a giant step in the right direction.

But adding to our library was only one of many activities since we last spoke.  Friday the 3rd we picked up our visitor at the bus station. Mme Yvonne had come from Port Alberni, BC to met her sponsored student Sherlyne. Saturday morning we made a home visit .

Sherlyne, sponsor Mme Yvonne, Sherlyne's aunt (her guardian)

After the home visit, to town to pick up the remaining tile and grout for our center Lakay Jasmine in Sen Rafayel, home for lunch, then a trip down the road to look at a piece of land in Vertieres then home to make sandwiches for our Sunday trip up Granjil. In between, we 'sandwiched' in several student appointments including Brunie, who came in to report on the mugging which cost her all of her identification and laptop.

Brunie recounts the mugging - several bystanders
did nothing - all feared for their lives.

After loading the truck Sunday, we headed up Granjil. True to form the mountain track tossed us to and fro. Like a veteran, Mme Yvonne hung in and hung on, praising Auguste for his driving skills. He is becoming very confident. 

After dropping off supplies, and eating with staff, we made 3 home visits - one to Mariline F. whose feet were burned when a pot of boiling water tipped over. We delivered ointment and pain meds

Then on to Marline J. and Herline J.

Marline's parents are dead and she has no siblings. She sat out the last 2 years as staying alive was more important than school. A woman in the village (who has a family of 10) gives her a small piece of cement on which to sleep.

Marline is very malnourished as the benefactor providing floor space does not have enough food to go around. We arranged for a sleeping sponge but will meet with Marline again at the office to get a better idea of what we can provide that she will be allowed to keep - bedding, stipend, food. Over the years we have met similar situations. Unfortunately, in our experience, whatever we provided was taken from the student and used for the family providing shelter.

Back in Cap, our visitor's stay came to an end Monday. We took her to the hotel where she continued her travels and arrived back here to find Inea waiting with her chest xrays and surgery date . She was to check into hospital the next day at 5 pm with surgery scheduled for 8am Wed.  We spent Tuesday arranging for the hospital stay - a senior student to stay with Inea's younger sister Dina, a staff member from Sen Rafayel to go the hospital and stay with Inea, then  purchasing, laundering and packing - sheets, pillows, nightgowns.

Nothing is provided in hospital here so all patients must have someone who can sleep on the floor and be on call when meds, syringes, IV poles etc. are needed. As we drove into Milot at 4:30 the road was blocked by large boulders and smoldering tires. Not a good sign. We waited in vain for an hour to check -in, finally headed for home, leaving Edeline from the Sen Rafayel office in charge, with our reserve cell phone.

Inea was given a cot in a room with 3 others at 10:30 pm. The next morning the pharmacy was closed when Edeline went to purchase the saline drip for IV. Apparently the pharmacy had been without supplies and Tuesday had been a day of protests, barricades and projectiles. An IV pole and bag of 'sewom' were borrowed - from where I have no idea -  inserted in Inea's arm and she waitied. Several phone calls later it became apparent the operation was not going ahead as scheduled. Police had been called as protests erupted again. Rocks went through the glass on the operating room door and the visiting surgical team halted all surgeries. We picked the girls up at 5 pm and brought them here, arriving about 7pm.  After a meal and a good night's sleep, Auguste dropped them off in Milot next morning (on his way to Sen Rafayel) to rebook the operation. She has an appointment March 3rd to receive a new date. Perhaps it will happen.

This morning we have a video morning - Harry Potter #1 and Sunday back to Sen Rafayel.

How was your week?

Kenbe pa lage

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