Friday, June 29, 2012


My friend Cindy S.  in Inglewood has a car which, in Winter, warms the seats for passengers. Very welcome in sub-zero temperatures. We have the same available here although it cannot really be deemed an option as it cannot be turned on or off - it just happens. It also only happens in the warm weather -winter months when a little heat would be welcome, it is conspicuously absent. With temperatures consistently above 100 degrees, every seat is prewarmed -sofa cushions,  chairs (wooden, plastic, iron...), bed, toilet not to mention vehicle. Getting dressed in the morning or getting into a nightgown in the evening means that the clothes one dons exude heat as though just ironed -- with an iron set on high. Same for sheets and pillow cases.Argh!!

If the environment is beyond warm to the touch, imagine what that means for unrefrigerated food and water (not to mention mounds of garbage which fester in the streets). I woke at 1:30 this morning with a feeling that something was not right. Good instincts. The electricity had again left as I slept and within the few hours I had perspired in dreamland, our refrigerator had completely defrosted. The floor was  a small swimming pool. Fortunately the solar batteries had enough charge left in them to run the fridge and freezer until the electricity (EDH) returned. Fully awake after mopping the deluge, it seemed like a opportune time to finish the last of a series of blogs I had started over the past 3 weeks but was forced to abort when EDH and solar power left in  tandem. I just deleted 7 partial blogs.  So many stories untold.

To tell those stories, I  sometimes draw from letters we receive  from those hoping to be admitted to our  education support program. They contain a  great deal of misery because misery is present in such large quantities. Friday Micheline dropped in with a letter.

Director Auguste with Micheline June 22
Micheline was one of the first students I met when I travelled to Sen Rafayel in 1999. In 2002 she left the village  to stay with her aunt in Cap-Haitien and attend school. By that time I had taken on several of the Sen Rafayel students who had migrated to Cap.  A few months later her aunt died suddenly of unknown cause, and Micheline contacted me at the Pension Brise de Mer,  again by hand delivered letter, to ask if there was anyway I could help her with housing as well. In those early days I was always surprised when students tracked me down as I had no place to call home.

In 2008 Micheline finished Rheto and registered in the medical technology program (laboratoire medical) at  Institut Polytechnique du Cap-Haitien in Vaudreille. From the time her aunt died, she had told me she wanted to be able to help others who had undiagnosed illnesses. She graduated in January this year and this month completed her last hospital placement in Limbe, the final requisite for her diploma. She is busy putting together her CV to begin the job hunt.

School year 2006-7 Micheline in Rheto
On Sunday she travelled to Sen Rafayel with us to provide some objective thoughts on putting a small clinic and lab on site. Her training and passion for health care were evident. She was enthusiastic about the possibility and very insightful with suggestions and questions,  designing the lab, nursing  and waiting areas for maximum use and comfort. What a great resource she will be.

Although she had delivered a card and letter on Friday, I didn't get to read it until Monday night upon return from the village.
We ask for handwritten letters for program admission because they provide so much information - not always what is said but often the way it is said. Micheline's letter was not solicited so it is a treasure. It speaks to the adult she is becoming. I'm translating portions from Kreyol. Although it is addressed to me, it belongs to every person who has donated a dollar or whatever amount through the intervening years. Micheline never had the luxury of a sponsor, so 'general funds' sponsored her. I couldn't have responded to her needs without your support. This one is for you.

" Today I feel I have a full exuberant cup of joy in my heart because I am taking the occasion to write this letter to you.

The objective of this letter is to tell you thank you for everything that you have done for me in my life - for example paying school for me from 5th grade to professional seems that at each difficult moment you were always with me.

Manmi Sharon, I cannot imagine all that you have done -giving me food when I was hungry, when I was sick you gave me care. Thank you if I didn't say thank you at the time. I remember when I was discouraged and couldn't pay the rent and was put out of my house. At the moment a friend offered me a place to stay, I fell gravely ill and you quickly sent staff for me and brought me to your home for nursing care.

Thank you - you are a good mother of this family .... thank you, a thousand thanks for everything you have done for me."

Mil mesi pou tout sa-a w fe pou nou
A thousand thanks for everything you do for them

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