Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sen Rafayel: school opens, home visits

In Sen Rafayel on Tueday morning,  roosters  crowed, the sun shone,  humidity was nil as heavy rain Monday night took care of that. Tuesday was the first day of school in the village (bouk-la). Monday afternoon staff posed for a group photo just before the rain began. Saint-Luc (student) a new part-time security staff member was missing.

Staff Sen Rafayel: (rear) Kesner(security) Danius(building projects), Edeline
(branch coordinator)
(middle) Adelaine (student), Solange (hat -full time)) Tigger, Granjil,(canine security)  Angeline(student)
(front) Auguste (director)

We had requested our students be released from classes for half an hour for a first ever group photo.
 School administrators know us and the work we are doing, so they were  accommodating. Auguste taxied to the most distant school, Lycee Charlemagne Perault. Some began arriving on foot about 9 am as  had afternoon classes. Our second floor is well under way, constructed of commercially made blocks. Auguste had found the company. Although we had to wait for the blocks to be made and delivered up the mountain,  delaying start of the second floor, it was worth the wait. The blocks are so strong - the masons working with them were extremely happy.This is my long-winded way of saying we had a second floor on which to pose half of our students.

2nd floor - Lycee Charlemagne Perault
galri - College Le Phare,
in front-College Cacique Henri and College Le Genie.
It requires  dedicated staff to get this many young people ready for school - papers checked, homes visited, text books cleaned, organized, listed, backpacks, hygiene products, school supplies purchased, delivered, uniform material purchased, uniforms sewn, school badges secured, delivered for insertion on pockets, shoes, matching socks -- you name it. Although about a third of the kids arrived too late for this group photo, it still gave everyone the idea that they are not alone. They arrive for interviews one at a time, we visit one at a time. There was a great deal of joking and laughter. It was a memorable moment.

Lakay Jasmine Taxi - service to Lycee Charlemagne Perault

Returning to class placed a great strain on our vehicle. Only in the village is this the norm for transportation.

With the exception of a holiday in Milot, we have been making our way through home visits. The 'holiday' turned out to be a virulent strain of pneumonia which began with a night of fever,pain and vomiting (in Sen Rafayel) followed by a tortuously slow descent down Granjil mountain, me trying not to roll off the bench seat. After finding a new doctor, blood work etc.. I was instructed to get to Milot hospital asap. And there I stayed for the better part of a week while staff unraveled  my symptoms. Thanks to Allimax again I am close to 100%. So back to home visits..

Cap-Haitien has a few left.   Sen Rafayel will take most of the year, given the number of new admissions. 
Rose Magda-Alina

Rose Magda-Alina sleeps on a small square of cement in this tikay owned by an uncle. Her mother has had a stroke and is partially paralyzed -- she lives elsewhere. Her father is dead. In July Rose had an infection in her feet which caused them to swell and blister. She could not walk nor wear shoes. She crawled to our centre. We drove her home and gave her money for the clinic as well as money for a taxi moto. She was writing exams at the time and refused to go to the clinic until exams were finished. She just missed her year with 49%. Because of this she also has to change schools. The Lycee maintains strict academic standards. Her feet have recovered.

Furmancia's tikay was a mixture of paper walls and cement
blocks with no mortar.

Walls are made of cardboard. Her new backpack hangs
away from the bugs and damp.

Her legs were covered with sores
During the visit to Furmancia, I noticed that her legs were covered with open sores. She said they were painful and itchy. I asked her to come into the centre and we would clean them up and apply some cream. Next morning she arrived.

One of many reasons for opening a clinic on site-the room is ready.We have 3 nursing students entering 4th year, one third year and 2 first year.
Two others wait, their passing grades arrived to late to apply.

She returned at 6:30 and we reapplied cream and covered with a light gauze. The inflammation was already receding and the itch had stopped. I couldn't help but think of her and her brothers and sisters in a cardboard house as the rain pounded and the wind howled.

At 6:30 next morning she arrived again, first day of school, for me to remove the bandages, bathe and reapply  cream. They were so much better. As it was the first day of school and she had to get home to put on her uniform I asked Auguste to drive her. She said ( in her very small voice) no thank you - I've left a keen (5 gallon bucket) at the well. I have to fetch water for my family. I can manage.

Our next visit was to sisters Angeline and Siseline. Their tikay was almost as fragile as Furmancia's. One wall was a sheet of Silotex, used as a chalkboard and covered with equations. I am always in awe.

A wall of silotex -a homework station
Auguste (Director) sisters Siseline and Angeline

There are 12 more visits from last week but they have to be put on hold. I am scheduled to depart Saturday morning for Providenciales with a connecting flight to Toronto. A call to an airline employee this morning was not reassuring. He recommended changing my flight to to-morrow if there is a flight and if there is a seat available, as the connection could be in jeopardy. 

So I'm going to pack my meager belongings and try to get the house ready for visitors who will be returning with me in November. Auguste is entering the new year student lists again. The computer he used yesterday will not open to-day. 

Be well

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