Monday, April 16, 2012

Lakay Fondasyon, Cap-Haitien

Met. Bazile died last week.  As often happens, cause of death is unknown to us. He had a headache and crashed his car, we are told. Met. Bazile was founder, principal, teacher and discipline of Centre de Formation Classique in Cap-Haitien, one of the best secondary schools.  He also taught at other institutions in lavil la (town).  We have eight young people in that school as well as some of our grads. They struggle with the death of someone who was not old, not poor, and had excellent medical care. We have been informed that there will be no report cards distributed by the school for the second trimeste.

Auguste counsels Jean-Ricot . Suzeline listens.

The funeral, which took place Saturday at the Cathedral, was a constant topic of conversation this week. They came in groups or one at a time to voice their concerns about the future of the school and to ask for money for the kouwon (artificial wreaths).  A banner has been strung across Rue A thanking the departed for service and promising to remember. Funeral street banners are common practice for those who can afford. They remain in place as long as the elements allow. Rosema just arrived for work with reports of the funeral. The downtown core was apparently completed blocked off and the cathedral had as many outside as in. Every school in Cap was represented. Nearly all travelled to Ouanaminthe for the interment and everyone sang all day. A first for Cap - a united education community.

Rosema, Jean-Ricot, Edwige and Jolie-  asking questions no one
can answer about the future and seeking  donations
for artificial floral tributes

Centre de Formation Classique (known to everyone as Tcho-Tcho) had a reputation, thanks to its founder, as one of the best disciplined schools in the city, with high academic standards. With the sudden departure of Met Tcho-Tcho, the tone of the school has already changed. Hopefully a new director will be found in time to maintain the status quo.

Kinston came in to study out of uniform. He sings in the choir and wanted to attend the funeral but his dress shoes fell apart, so he was not allowed in. His shoes were not only chire (finished, washed up) they were mouye (soaking wet). Sen Rafayel is not alone in the misery of the rainy season. Like so many,  the tikay of Kinston's  grandmother is flooded so he and his cousin cannot sleep on the floor. After eating and a brief rest, we put him to work then sent him off to purchase new shoes.
Kinston came to rest -- Grandmother'shouse is flooded --
 they cannot sleep on the floor.

Kinston and Lusnot  fill bottles with potable water
for freezing and distribution.
In Cap, third trimeste is just getting underway - but not for everyone. For the few who attend state Lycees, there are as yet no classes. Teachers have not been paid so students fend for themselves. Paudeline left Sen Rafayel to get away from an abusive father. Although her home situation is better Okap with her aunt (matant), she spends a great deal of time here reading as her school is a frequent site for teacher's strikes. Before the Easter break they were closed for a week due to strike. The state had not paid the teachers for 6 months. Everyone loses.

Paudeline - no teachers yet

For those who have resumed classes, study is the mode of operation, whether it's one-on-one with a staff member or in a group looking for chemistry equations. Cap-Haitien has the added advantage of internet access (upon occasion).

Reto state exams are just around the corner

Auguste, Lusnot, Myriame,Camiose,Jehnsen - Chemistry on line

We have several who have been felled by major illnesses recently.  Brunel, Marik and Venise are all recovering from Typhoid, Malaria and Anemia. Camiose and Jehnsen each Malaria and H Pylori. Mexene continues to have dental problems although we have sent him to the clinic at Justinien. The good news is we are in recovery mode. John-Steevenson came down from Sen Rafayel with us to consult in the Dept. of Opthalmology at Jusinien Hospital  for an eye infection and vision problems. Yesterday we picked up his glasses and the infection is clearing. It was his first trip to Cap-Haitien so we delivered him to all appointments. Public transit is unreliable at its best.

John-Steevenson -- first trip to the big city and
new glasses to start the term
Thanks to those who have inquired about Inea. Finally a surgery date on which an operation actually took place. After lying on a gurney for a day,  in the midst of demonstrations which became quite violent then being sent home for a month,  on March 15th, she underwent a left lobectomy, not a complete Thyroidectomy. 
We're hoping this means no hormone replacement although she is suffering fatigue and bouts of dizziness which are incapacitating. I say we're hoping  as the doctor with whom I  spoke immediately after the surgery spoke only Spanish.

Inea : post-surgery before the infection

Our  spare room was again a recovery room. It has been used by many of our students over the years with a senior student in the other bed to help. It's a job as well as practice for our future medics. Brunie dropped in for a visit, ever the nurse. Inea has returned to her tikay and Mme Carmene has been cooking and cleaning for her half days. Inea has returned to the hospital 3 times with Auguste only to be told at each appointment that there is no doctor on duty and the hospital has lost her file (dosye). The next appointment is scheduled for mid-month. The infection in the incision has cleared up and she is pain free. We just have to get a handle on the dizziness and fatigue. She has travelled far since presenting herself at our gate last July. I'll keep you posted.

Inea in our post-surgery recovery room

Student nurse Brunie makes a call
A new  trimeste means we purchase, package and distribute hygiene products, rice and beans. Everything is prepared here for both centers.  Sen Rafayel has a distribution advantage in that students all are within walking distance and the lakay can accommodate about 30 students comfortably at one time. In Cap, any more than 10 or 12 and we are full, using the roof  and  the covered parking space. But here we have the luxury of  grass, trees and flowers. Both locations work, because of the care we take in setting up programs and selecting staff.  Each student is known and our first rule is: Listen!!
Fresnel exercises Tigger or vice versa?
Each student comes for a different reason. Some, like Fresnel, come to exercise- kick the soccer ball, dribble a basketball, play with the dogs, some come for medical/dental help. Some like Kalandy don't know what the  problem is - he's  malnourished. In cases like that, and there are many, we increase food sacks and put them on a regimen of multi-vitamins, vitamin c, Allimax.

Lusnot distributes vitamins and information to Kalandy

Weather will continue to add to the misery. Rosema just reported that his house flooded last night and they bailed water all night. There will be others in the days and weeks to come. Our citron tree was a victim of high winds last week.

Our 'sitwon' tree - a victim of high winds
And so life goes on. My return to Canada comes at a good time - we're out of just about everything I purchased on my trip to Fort Lauderdale in February. With 150 young people, vitamins, etc seem to be finished before they're unpacked. Although never enough, we have to start somewhere.

Last month's 4.6 earthquake just south of Port-au-Prince caused new damage here. I've been in touch with the owner's rep and he will come to inspect when he returns to Haiti the end of May. In the meantime uninvited ti bet yo march in through the cracks.I thought this pic was rather telling - foumi (ants) with a selective palate - they completely ignored the cat food.

Discriminating foumi - they don't like cat food.

And sometimes our visitors are a little larger than foumi. I opened my laptop last week to find this  zandolit (chameleon)- sitting on the keyboard. He was obviously looking for the POWER button. I left him to his business and he eventually scuttled off, leaving me to mine.

The power button is to the left!!

Talk to you from Canada


PS Now that both blogs are finished I have to :

1) Return calls to Marjorie in Canada and Lakay Jasmine in San Rafayel

2) Prepare salaries for student staff

3) Check exchange rate for Dominican Peso/USD then

4) Prepare third term fund requests for med. student sponsors

5) Find and clean my suitcase

6)Check airline tickets and passport

7) Pack for to-morrow

8)Wash my hair

Yesterday's blog mentions my penchant for lists.

PPS Although the rain is too much or too little for the crops, our choublak  ( hibiscus ) flowers despite

Our choublak (hibiscus) in all her glory

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