Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Good bye 2015 Hello 2016....

I don't feel any older -- except when I  reflect on the year of my birth and what was going on in the world  -- 1945 -- and this new year and what's going on in the world. Wow. That's a lot of time and changes --  too many to itemize. So what has changed here in Haiti?

Up the mountain --  in Sen Rafayel -- the great hunt for water continues on a weekly basis -- we are killing our truck but it doesn't complain. It just refuses to start in the mornings. Well I'm not a morning person either. Perhaps I need a mechanic as well!

On first glance not a lot has changed except that our young people get to attend school and have a meal and safe drinking water. But that's a  big change -- both for those on the receiving end and those delivering. Relationships. Support. Possibilities. Hope. Community. So we hunt for water.
Up with the sun for the weekly water hunt.

Our day and night staff overlap for an hour on 'hunt' days. Adolph helps Auguste with the buckets (keengs or kings) and  Angeline keeps the dogs close while the truck exits.
Shoset, Djosie and Granjil keep watch with
Angeline. Timanman is unconcerned.
Even a minimum wage job is a job. Our young people
appreciate work and are used to slugging water.
You take what you find
( w sevi ak sa a w jwen)
Everyone including coordinator Dieugrand has
a miserable Winter cold.
He does the work of 3 people but it catches up
with him -- in the quiet times. 

We are heading up the mountain again today for 3 days to do some painting and have a staff meeting to get input on needs, programs and changes for the new term. School openings are staggered. Institute Toussaint Louverture opened yesterday. The others next week. We have 18 students at Louverture  so fees need to be paid asap.  During our stay, Auguste and Isaac (student and night security) will make a trip down and back -- we have 2 dogs in need of veterinary care. Poor truck, poor dogs, poor staff.  Hard on everyone and everything.

In Cap-Haitien, we are blessed with a well and a solar panel system which can draw the water up to the roof chateau. There isn't a lot of pressure -- we still need a plumber to look into that-- but no hunt. So spoiled.

Two of our 3 university students from the Dominican Republic were in for a brief visit before heading back for second term.  Third yr. dental student Rose and 7th yr medical student Elorge are both growing into their professions. Gone are the awkward teens. They are becoming polished and confident young adults. We don't get to see Jacques our third student from the DR as his home base is Port-au-Prince.
The open plan we have chosen to use brings Mme
Joceline into contact with the students.

Although it's holidays, uniforms
must be worn to pick up reports.

Holidays are  busy on days when reports are distributed. Because so many of our Cap-Haitien students are originally from Sen Rafayel and the surrounding area, as many as can find the means travel back to visit. That gives us time to do housekeeping chores and for Cap-Haitien coordinator Lusnot to bring new staff member Carline up to speed. Carline graduated 2 years ago and is waiting for university. She was one of 3 who registered and wrote entrance exams at the State University. None were accepted. Auguste heard afterward that there were 2000 applicants for 200 places. So we are looking into private universities. They are smaller but have good reputations.
Always work to be done - organizing
textbooks for the upcoming term.
One of the biggest challenges is getting the staff to take breaks - go for a walk, read the paper, have something to eat, drink water. The dogs seem to understand this better than their human counterparts. Yes that is my yoga mat under Senkyeme and Tidjo. I am not certain what poses they are working on but it must be good if it's on a yoga mat. Perhaps a yoga instructor (Kim?) can identify.

The students we have admitted and the animals who live with us are the lucky ones -- they have people who care about their welfare. In addition to the 260 students on our waiting list are the numerous stray dogs who have neither home nor caregiver. In addition to the animals we feed outside our gate in San Rafayel, we still feed dogs and cats in our old neighborhood. Donley, a 4th year high school student who was our neighbor, makes certain those we left behind have food and water daily and he calls if a trip to the vet is necessary. Our new center has it's strays as well. We have been feeding 4 here since my return and decided to put student Rosema's construction skills to work making concrete feeding troughs (as the dogs kept running away with the bowls)

 Two of our neighbours - much healthier since we began a feeding program.

The feeding stations are now in use and very popular -- with various 4 legged neighbours. The cattle watching Rosema work seemed very unconcerned but did stop by for a drink of water. Yesterday I opened the gate to find 3 goats doing the same thing. I am determined to get a picture.

Hello 2016 -- there are many blessings for which I am grateful -- the opportunity to work with these young people, to watch them grow, mature, blossom (while I amazingly do not age a day!!).

In 2007 my friends Sister Rosemary and Gay visited from Toronto. Gay wanted to give us a gift so asked Dieugrand, even then our gardener, to purchase a plant for our lawn. He bought a  small 'choublak'  (hibiscus) which grew to about 10 feet in height and perhaps 6 in diameter. We could not bring it with us but brought a shoot which this week gave its first blooms. So I leave you with the beauty and possibility that grows in Haiti.

Bon ane 2016. M'ap swete w zanmi -yo, viv ansante, lape  et possibilite yo.

Happy New Year 2016. I wish you friendships, good health, peace and possibilities.


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