Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Home Visits

Haiti has night sounds unique to her culture. Voodoo drums and death wails are frequent but last night they were joined by the sweet sound of RAIN.  It didn't last as long as the death rituals but was a welcome addition for the duration. The April rainy season never did appear, leaving us here in Cap-Haitien still without water personally, (dry well we are told) and the village of Sen Rafayel without water as the community tiyo (pipe) is not only still closed but has been vandalized. It takes about 2 hours of driving around each week to find a spring, or springs (sous) to fill enough buckets to maintain our drop in center.

On last weeks home visits, the water crisis was visible everywhere. We saw many children of all ages bathing in as little as a cup of water. This little one (who didn't know how old she was) allowed us to take her picture.
Bathing is  a ritual when you have very little. Self sufficient
at very young ages as often no parents.
Of the 9 home visits we made that day, 8 students had both parents dead. The statistics on orphans and average age in the country are still staggering after 16 years here. No one had water, even in a bucket.

Lakay Jasmine coordinator Edeline follows Adeline
into her tikay. This is row housing.

Edeline, Auguste and student Adeline talk about the difficulty finding water.

Possessions for 5 people
Adeline's parents are both dead. She has 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Their belongings hang from the ceiling where possible. Rats, mice, cockroaches, foumi are constant problems, even when one does have proper storage space. The next visit was within walking distance, so we left others waiting in the truck while we walked to Ema's. 

It was a short walk to the house of Ema's maternal Gran, responsible for Ema's younger brother and 3 sisters also. Ema's parents are both dead. Gran talked of the sadness of losing her daughter and son-in-law. The house has a tol roof which is full of holes. When rain does come, everything is soaked.

Ema and her Gran at the kitchen door

Gran proudly showed  the rice and beans (diri ak pwa)
she was cooking for the only meal of the day. They don't have the luxury
of eating every day.
The family pet - a one-footed duck.

Back to the truck for a bit of a longer drive to Lilia's, although still in the village (bouk la). Like the others, Lilia's parents are dead. She stays with an aunt and uncle who are not related by blood. The ti kay was neat and tidy. 10 people live here, all sleeping on the floor. Lilia had been sitting out of school for 2 years when we admitted her with General Funds. Every one of these young people would benefit greatly from a sponsor.
Auguste and Lilia talk about her family
Although no beds, there is a prayer table,
complete with Bible and Hymn book
Although no water, there is a shower - no door.

Although we have no electricity today, I am hoping the laptop battery will hold out to finish . I have stopped 3 times because of very close, rapid gunfire not too far from our center. Center coordinator Lusnot has stopped work each time as well and we stand in the courtyard waiting for the next volley. Student Rosema just arrived to eat and tells us the protest (manifestasyon) is at the end of our street and is in response to the lack of electricity. He saw several guns so just ducked his head and scurried up to the center.

Our coordinator in Sen Rafayel has taken it upon herself to find out where our students live. With no streets or street names/numbers it is a daunting task. It helps a great deal as in the case of Myrlande who had just had a second cyst removed from her leg and was post-op at home. An uncle paid for her to travel to the hospital at Milot but had no money for meds. We keep a small dispensary so were able to take enough to make her comfortable. Will have to find a supplier for basic meds in bulk once our clinic has an opening date, probably September.
Like most, Myrlande's bed is the floor so I sat on the side
of her bed and we talked medication and hygiene.

Kitchen supplies for 5 people
Myrlande's mom and dad are both dead. She has 3 brothers and 2 sisters, 4 of whom live here with her aunt. There is no latrine, no kitchen - this one bedroom/livingroom/storage room is it for 5 people.

As we are heading to a different zone in the village, it's back to center to pick up the rest of the visitees. Imagine my surprise to find that we had visitors waiting. Ti manman, the dog we have been feeding and watering for many months, brought her brood out of hiding and presented them at our front door. Feeding her paid off, as the pups are healthy. 

Ti Manman trusted us enough to bring her pups

Front end
Back end -- Too cute for words

The gunfire has arrived too close to the house for comfort, so I'm going to split this blog in half and finish tomorrow - with luck.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

May all of you stay safe!


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