Sunday, January 24, 2016

Up and down the mountain

Jan. 12 marked the 6th anniversary of the earthquake (tranbleman dete) which killed a quarter of a million  -- Haitians and non Haitians. We lost one our own, Frandzy will forever be a bright, energetic, committed young man in the first year of what could have been a promising medical career. Many other of our young people lived through the catastrophe, coming through with physical scars which are fading and emotional scars which are still all too fresh--Myriame, Norceline, Brunie, Gaby, Wesly, Aland to name just a few.

Each  January I go inward, reflecting on the advancements the world has made. Governments change, some of those we looked to for wisdom and guidance have left their bodies. Those we thought were stronger than any illness succumbed. Things  go 'viral' on the internet and everything is instantaneous. There is talk of love and commitment. Canada and other countries have opened doors and hearts to immigrants fleeing intolerable situations. Yet I read of a solitary, courageous Muslim woman who wanted to show that Muslims are not 'scary' -- ejected from a political rally. 

Perhaps we should look to tolerance as a first step instead of jumping right into love. Tolerance takes courage. If the quake of 2010 did nothing else for me, it shocked me into the reality of this life -- fleeting.

I began this blog on the 9th. It's now Sunday the 24th. Rain and wind are lashing our drop in center. Staff (even the dogs) have the day off, a welcome break after the dangers of traveling the distance to work since flawed elections (or 'selections' so dubbed by one of the candidates) once more turned Haiti 'tet anba' (upside down/on it's head). Violent protests have taken over the country and the response by authorities has been returned escalated violence. Staff and students have had great difficulty getting to and from our center in Cap. Lakay Jasmine in Sen Rafayel still remain temporarily closed for another 2 weeks. Just getting up and down the mountain (28 km) took a day each way. Staff had to sit at a distance and wait until protests and protesters were finished. This is not a new phenomenon. Check our blog archives. The only bridge into our village (bouk la) is again damaged and weak. We hold our breath when passing.

Auguste on the Sen Rafayel bridge this week.
Clearing away the protest remnants, checking stability.
Home visit first - Brunel's papa had
surgery. Allimax and Serrapeptase.
As the truck is getting on in years (any vehicle that goes up and down Granjil mountain weekly ages like a dog -- approx 7 years in one, I'm thinking) we head straight for a home visit, knowing that in the morning it will take some coaxing to get moving for the great water hunt. Brunel is in his last year of high school in Cap-Haitien and has asked if we can help him attend University in the fall to become a teacher. YAY!!!  But this week his dad ended up in hospital because of a 'boul' (ball/boil/growth) on his back and needed him home. We began with a home visit and delivered some supplements to aid his recovery.

As predicted the truck needed a mechanic to coax it the next morning. Then on to the water hunt.

We are the  entertainment and a source of
curiosity. This little one knows one English phrase
"Good bye" She uses it for everything.

We take advantage of the temporary closure to scrape off flaking paint and give a facelift. The colour we had chosen and had mixed was not right so we had to take it back down the mountain,  into town to the store and have it remixed. Everything is labour intensive. It is still not what we wanted but we'll live with it. This week we will return to Sen Rafayel and add -- colour!!

Mountainside stop to deliver food. 

Police check mountainside -- another time consuming

Cap-Haitien and Sen Rafayel are microcosms of the macrocosm that is Haiti, in turn a microcosm of our planet. But microcosms are only part of the story. Our staff and young people continue to sit for hours waiting for protests to move on, dangers to decrease, then continue to make their way to us. Courage, tenacity, commitment.

We eat ... the only food that day for our
young people. Staff eat as well.

85 degrees ans Orina was cold (fwet)

Medical consult -- Rose-Nadia (bl. and white top) has pain.

Eating is not the only activity that takes place at the table. Lusnot (hand on his back) is trying to pinpoint the source of pain Rose-Nadia is experiencing. 3rd year nursing student Camiose (black hat) asks targeted questions to help identify the problem. We do this to give our kids confidence and language when they go to the clinic or hospital for a consultation. They think 'ko fe mal' (my body is sick) or 'vant fe mal' (my abdomen is sick) is information.

Lusnot and Carline make a list of text books and
supplies needed for the new school term.

Although we spend a fair amount of time around the communal table and study is second to eating, we are spreading the word that activity/movement is as necessary as breathing. The manual treadmill we have added to the center is very  popular and the source of many laughs -- also necessary for wellness.

Stefan in Philo uniform does his dishes.
He is one of many with a severe peanut

Homework -- not only a quiet workplace but
knowledgeable staff to help as well.

8 hours of classes on an empty stomach
Dehydrated as well

Working off extra calories?

Catching up on the latest news

More homework

Saturday -- the office becomes the dog groomers.
Thanks to all who sent support during a recent crisis. Your prayers, energies, mantras, thoughts, chants and comments on Facebook meant a great deal and helped us find what we needed -- courage.

So til next time, please continue to hold us in your thoughts. It is true that in Haiti:

Deye mon gen mon

Behind every mountain is another mountain -- or when one crisis passes it will be followed by another.

Om shanti, shanti, shanti


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