Monday, February 2, 2015

A Rainy Week Tale

The hum of electricity is in the air - a welcome sound if only for a brief time. Roosters and voodoo drums compete for airspace. For the first time in 9 days and nights - no patter of raindrops singing harmony. Hopefully we can begin to dry out, clean up the mold and mildew growing everywhere and gather garbage tossed around by high winds. Nature gave us a swimming pool, but it's too cold to enjoy it.
Our swimming pool- note the mold on the 'miray' (privacy wall)

We are just a microcosm of the macrocosm. Outside our gates, misery magnified. We had just recovered from the November floods - replaced textbooks, eyeglasses, uniforms, shoes, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs - you name it - lost because there was no place to put them. Yesterday Lusnot had revizyon and all but one cancelled due to flooding. Budget? An exercise in futility.
Petitans and Fosenmichel are both flooded again - we have more
than a dozen students in each area.

Watching the water level rise - waiting for the inevitable

Everyone who is able still has to make a living. Most take off
their shoes and keep on going.

People have to go places - even in the rain. Some tap-taps
cover up with a 'prela' (tarp).

Our young people in Cap-Haitien have the luxury of a tap-tap for 5 gourdes. When they drop in to the center or come for a study session, we give them travel money. Change very difficult to find and we are constantly looking for 'mone' (change).
Melane and Celine arrived in shower caps. School was cancelled .

3rd yr. nursing student Edwina huddles
over her computer . Small comfort from the damp.
Classes cancelled due to flooding for Brunel-
he huddled in the library
Classes cancelled for Paudeline. She checks out
her new solar lamp - which requires sunlight.
Most Lycees in the country remain closed and on strike. While my sympathy lies with the teachers who need to be paid for their services, I regret seeing our young people lose valuable class instruction. Here in Cap the hospital remains on strike as well and many private schools have closed due to flooding. Paudeline took advantage of the free time and again went to the hospital for test results after her beating and rape the first of December. They did release them this time, probably because of her persistence. Everything was negative but retesting suggested in 3 months. So those 3 months are almost up if they mean 3 months from the original test date. 

If you have a heavy sweater or hat, you cover up.
If you are eating, there will probably be a dog nearby.
The mountainside was awash with misery as well. There are no tap-taps to move people so everyone is on foot unless they can score a 'wulib' (free ride) with someone. The 2 boys helped us out covering the holes in the DonDon/SenRafayel bridge so we took theme home. They had been out gathering firewood for cooking.

Unfortunately the cab was full of perishables but
our passengers didn't mind. They weren't walking barefoot.

This barefoot gentleman and his 3 dogs had also been out
scouting firewood (machete under arm). We thanked him for his advice with a
large tin of dry dog food.
Everytime we caught a glimpse of the river it was swollen past its banks and there were waterfalls where no waterfall had been just a week before.
The river had crested at every turn, flooding gardens. Too much, too fast.

I counted at least 3 new fairly large waterfalls
No taps-taps on the mountainside

Sen Rafayel was facing the same challenges, but no schools were functioning. Auguste and Dieugrand went to the market and bought as many long sleeve jackets as they could find. Very few have cold weather clothes so we distribute. Nothing is new but nobody minds - its warm and dry. Orina made her way to the center after hours but I opened for her as she presented symptoms of mosquito borne Chikungunya. She is the first case since Christmas. This new rain will bring another round of mosquito borne ailments, all debilitating.
In addition to strikes, other forms of violence disrupt life. The convent in Sen Rafayel was broken into early Friday morning (2 am) and 3 elderly nuns were beaten as they had no cash on hand. These women are friends of mine, in their 70's and 80's. Incomprehensible. We paid a visit when we heard and all were coping. Village police refused to help -- fear is everywhere.

Students/dogwalkers Junior and Isaac try on jackets.
TiKe waits but its too muddy for a walk.
John-Steevenson, Dieuner, Sterlin and Gasnel share a meal.
We eat, read, study, converse, laugh, sometimes cry.

New stove delivered and set up, staff oriented to its workings, we head down the mountain late Sunday. We have several stops along the way to deliver dog food.  

On the mountainside: The dogs have to be faster than the chickens as
all are hungry.
Mountain families - hard working, resilient, courageous.
It is now 8:49 on Monday morning and a weak sun is mounting the horizon. I began to write at 5 am. Staff arrived at 8 and Fatia has arrived for breakfast because her school is flooded. But that's another blog.
Stay safe
PS If anyone has connections with a pet food company, please let me know. Animal welfare is becoming a priority with us.

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