[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Thursday, March 11th, 2010|
|A quick BGF trip to Haiti
Well, I finally came and went to Haiti with a BGF trip instead of having them leave me behind. Oddly enough, I still had the same post-BGF trip blues. I am wondering how much longer I can live in McConnellsburg. I do love it here but my friends, my friends, they live so far away. Making new ones here is such a bother. Sigh. Anyway, back to Haiti.
It was really good to see people again. I did not get to see Enese but saw some members of that family and I got to see all my neighbors including the ones who stay mostly in P-au-P for school. I was so happy to see them alive and well. They were happy to see me and even though it was quick, we had time to reassure each other that we are not forgotten.
Speaking Creole was easy but this time was something of a weight as I listened to so many stories of people making it through the earthquake. I translated some for BGF people but some I kept to myself because I know they were telling me not the world. Still, it seems appropriate to pass the general idea along now... most of my people were fine even if buildings are down. The two neighbor kids, Chantal and Nathanael, almost died. They were in Leogane at a meeting (maybe a wedding?) and the building they were in fell down. They got some scrapes and others died but they are ok. Boss Fransien (mason, friend) hurt his leg escaping from Edvy's house. Another friend with a lovely family died after the bakery he was working in collapsed, he hurt himself, and got an infection. Infection kills in Haiti. Of course, many others lost family. Many are still afraid to enter into their houses because aftershocks are ongoing (we had 2 while there).
The BGF group worked hard as always. We poured columns for the wall at the compound and showed the Haitians how to do it when we left. We poured a slab for a house for Clement who is doing well. We walked into Bwa Goche and fixed some damage to houses there. We ran into two other house owners on the way out of there and they said their houses made it just fine. That's a relief.
I guess life goes on. Aid makes its way for better or worse (prices are high but people seem to be eating). Transportation is up and running to our areas. There's huge cracks in the ground and road so it's one lane in some places but that's better than none.
As for the BGF group itself... they are wonderful. Two who I already knew and loved and 4 more new guys who were great. One was a reporter so you can check us out on www.nbc29.com out of Charlottesville.
I told them I was trying to figure out where Haiti fit into my life and I'm not totally sure I got any answers. Clement is convinced I'll be back. He thinks I'm needed and terribly useful what with knowing the language and culture already. I'm feeling stuck, wanting to go and not. I'll wait, it'll become clear eventually. I hope.
|Monday, October 5th, 2009|
|Back at home
I'm done in Haiti (as far as I know).
It's been an awesome 2 years. I finally got my sister to come and visit me too which was nice. Always good to have another eye-witness to back you up.
CODEP gave us a great party complete with LOTS of people coming from all over the project. They talked about the history of the project. They talked about us. They gave us presents and food. It was really very nice.
We built one more house in the mountains.
The last day I drank 3 cups of coffee (everyone wanted to give me some) and ate bunches of food (same deal). I came home with coffee from 3 different people as well as some corn product to make tchaka which is kind of like hominy but not.
Now, I'm resting. I'm reading. I'm cooking. I'm eating. It's nice.
|Wednesday, July 1st, 2009|
|Sorry I'm so far behind...
I'm back in the States and I must say, I'm glad to be here. I'm also glad that the last month has been good in Haiti. I've been busy but also just enjoying things.
I've had two people stay with me in the mountains - Katie and Beth. I knew Beth from seminary and it was fun to show her around for a couple of days before shipping her off to her next country. Katie had been here a year and a half ago with a team. This time she came and visited for a couple of weeks in the mountains. It was good to have her. I knew that it probably would be. She helped me get along better with the kids of the family. We taught them Uno. We hiked, we pulled beans, we filled baggies. Basically, we did normal, everyday stuff - nothing too crazy. Everyone was impressed that there was another single, American female who was nice and quiet and could work. I was glad people could get to see that I wasn't the only person like me.
We also had the CODEP party which is always fun. I love watching these groups, who I know are extremely hard working, party, dance, laugh, and see the ocean up close.
I've been working with the animators to qualify people for houses which is always fun. We go to their houses to see if they have gardens, fruit trees, and ask lots of questions. Then we go and count trees. The people who we're doing it for usually manage to hide their excitement about the possibility of a house until we're done and have confirmed that they will get it. Then I usually get some excitement.
Well, that's about it. It's funny that I can never remember what I want to tell you when I'm in front of my computer but since I'm also out of Haiti right now, it's even worse. My sister asked me my plans for the month... Next week is workcamp in Petersburg. The rest of the time I plan on reading, eating from the garden, and drinking milk. Yeah!
|Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009|
Well, now, the internet only works for me at 5am, so I haven't been updating you much. Sorry.
We're into the end of bean picking season now. Everyone is harvesting (not a fabulous harvest but ok) and drying beans.
My friend Beth is here right now talking to people and whatnot so that's cool. We are moving up into the mountains today with Katie. Katie will be staying with me for a while. Beth will be headed back out to go to Korea the end of the week.
Sorry, it's too early in the morning to be thinking and writing right now. I'll try to do better when I come down next time.
|Saturday, May 9th, 2009|
More pictures http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=121295&id=635241284&l=e802b762b3
Videos from May Day http://www.youtube.com/user/aprilleese
Let's see, since last time... I've turned 31. I've eaten the first new black beans of the season. I've seen a beautiful sunset. I've read some. I've done a resansman for Rene proving that he has earned a house.
The last two days we had a bunch of Haitian missionaries in to visit, relax, grump, and celebrate. It was a great thing. Most of them were from Christianville but some from New Missions as well and we discussed what we do, the good things, the bad things, we ate lots of yummy food, we talked. All that. It was really good to sit with people who understand Haiti and what it's like to live here. Good time had by all.
Hmm, well, that's about it. I've mostly just been living. Oh, I finally finished reading the Wendell Berry book that I raved about ages ago to you all. I'm glad I'm done. Someday I'll have to read it all again. Good stuff.
I hope you are all being challenged enough to grow. Finances, the environment, culture, life, etc. Maybe it's time to make changes. It'll be good to live in my house again with mom, dad, npr, the garden, the compost heap, the dog, the library, the greenhouse, the bucket for saving the water that comes before the hot water, and no tv. I sure do like my kerosene lamp though. Ah well.
|Saturday, April 25th, 2009|
|They've left me and now I'm bummed
Well, just had a fabulous week with another Building Goodness Foundation group. So, of course, there's another house in the mountains. This one was really far into the mountains. To make it easier we drove down the mountain into Fondwa and walked down the mountain, crossed the stream, and walked back up the other side. It was that part that was difficult of course. They made it though. They're good.
We got rain a couple of times and actually during the day which hadn't happened yet. I guess rainy season really is trying to take over. It's still not quite there but it's enough to make the gardens grow. I spent a bit of time rearranging how the water flowed on the work site as a result but my shoes were dry enough when it was time to walk out.
We bathed down a mountain and were therefore sweaty when we got back home but oh well, at least the sawdust and sunscreen were gone for the night.
The group slept in tents. Rene and I slept in Fritzner's house. It had lots of rats and just enough mosquitoes to make things interesting. The last night, Bob and I slept in the finished house which was exciting. I got to sleep on a bed they made which was even more exciting. Of course, since there wasn't a mattress yet it was also hard but there were no rats and only one mosquito so I slept well.
The team was fabulous and fun. I wish you could meet them all. They're fun people. Besides being fun they're also wonderful individuals. Makes me want to see them in their home territories.
I failed to take pictures so I can't even show you the house right now. I'll borrow some eventually and tell you all about it.
I got to spend time on different projects throughout the week which was fun. There were doors and decorations and there was rasping and jigsawing and designing. It all makes me want to do more carpentry. I do love doing it. Maybe I'll do that for a while when I come home.
The group was especially impressed by the amount of work that went into making their food this time. The combination of knowing where the water came from (near where we bathed) and knowing where the food came from (the road which was so terribly far away) and knowing what immense quantities of both were needed impressed them. It is impressive the amount of energy that goes into living here. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
And now, they've gone. We don't have a group for a while and after having been frustrated by having too many, I find myself bummed that a group has left. Part of it is that I've gotten to know these people better because I spend an entire week with them and because some are returners. Part could be because I enjoy working with them so much. Part is just that they gave me a taste of home and I think I'm a bit homesick as a result. Of course, they also helped me to remember that I love working here in Haiti and in this project. That will help with the next two months. Nevertheless, today I am sad. Perhaps it will be good to get back to my normal work schedule.
Love to all. Miss you.
|Monday, April 13th, 2009|
Easter is always pretty exciting around here. First of all, we eat fish for Good Friday so there was lots of draining of pond to catch tilapia. We got some pretty good harvests so people are generally happy.
People come back home for vacation. Everyone has off school so the high school students all come back but there's also a lot of family coming back to the mountains for a visit. That can be pretty fun. Sometimes it's irritating when it seems like I have to start all over again (and I feel like this area is my home so where are all these people coming from anyway). However, most of the time it's kind of fun to meet new family members I never knew I had and understand everybody a bit more. Plus, it's just fun to have big get togethers.
Easter is also fun because we get to eat beets and fish and whatnot. The idea is to eat red and white food. So, one meal was yams and plantains with beets, tomato sauce and fish. Red and White.
And of course there's church which is an even bigger deal than normal. I went down to St. Ettien for the Espicopal service. I figured I was tired of the Catholic one and since I felt like communion would be nice for a change and all I went down there. Well, there was lots of people and some singing and the priest blessed the whole church which took some time but you'll have that. Still, fun.
The rain has finally restarted. After giving us enough rain to start planting trees and plant beans, it stopped and we were getting pretty worried that everything was going to die. We've started up again though so we're happy. This is good because my garden is a bit pathetic and needs some help. I will be a bit more encouraged to work on it now that I know it's not going to die. Plus, I have water in my cistern which is great.
It has been nice to get some alone time lately (read, no groups and time to read) and I think I've recovered because I'm finding myself more eager for human contact again. Phew.
|Saturday, March 28th, 2009|
More pictures http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=111766&id=635241284&l=e2e2837e9b
There's another house in the mountains. Actually, in addition to the new house there, there is also a new baby and a new latrine. Very exciting. The baby arrived the Friday before the team arrived (the day we carried in the wood). The latrine arrived the same day as the team (they were pretty excited about it). The house took a couple days to build at that was that.
Now, brace yourselves, we don't have any groups for a while. What I mean to say is we actually have some days "off" where we can start going back to our other jobs. Very exciting. I like groups but we've had too many and it will be nice to have a bit of a break.
The pictures - there aren't very many of them, but the thing is, we were walking down to the "new" project that Jean Claude did with his 3 groups in October 2007. I hadn't been down in a while and the place is completely changed. The trees are tall, the grass is plentiful and you can't even find a clear place to take a good picture to give you an idea of what it's like. Oh well, check it out anyway. I included some before shots too.
|Tuesday, March 17th, 2009|
|Rain, Rain, don't go away; come again today
First of all, I've finally put up more pictures which can be found at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=109468&id=635241284&l=181a4a66f2
Let's see, the rain has finally started. So, everyone's getting excited and planting beans and trees.
Yesterday, we dug holes for another house. I got my brother to help dig holes which was good. However, he was on his way to go plant beans so I said do this first and I'll help you plant. So, no one believed me but I got my trusty machet and we planted beans until after dark and he was impressed and assured his mother that I do know what I'm doing. She didn't believe me. Of course today, when someone doubted she could carry something, I said, see, that's what it feels like. She laughed. Of course, she bragged to lots of people today about me planting beans so I suppose all is forgiven.
Today I went to Gwo Mon again. When we were starting down the hill from Anba Tonel, we saw a man sitting on a mule off the path in a garden. Turns out his mule is cranky and doesn't like to be sat upon. He got someone to put him on the path and he eventually passed us after being helped back to the path one other time. However, we caught up to him pretty quickly in the middle of the path going nowhere. So, I drug him and the mule to Gwo Mon. It was kinda fun. The mule was fine with being led so we just went. He got there much quicker than otherwise. It was fun. Something new to add to my list of things I've done.
There's a little oldish lady who lives near the path just after we left the mule who sells patty (fried dough with stuff in it). She was so glad to see me she made the patties extra big and gave me so much piklis (spicy cabbage) I almost didn't know what to do with it. I was pretty full when we finished eating. This is one of the things I love about Haitians; most of them are giving, hospitable, and loving people. As you would expect, there are those who aren't so much, but you'll find that everywhere.
I went to visit Evelyn (my friend who had the stroke and is half sorta paralyzed) the other day and took along a book to read. The kids from the next house down came over and told me to read to them. I told them it was English, but they didn't care. They thought it was the neatest trick ever. The next day I thought, well, I have one book in Creole, the Bible. So, I took it down and asked Evelyn if she wanted me to read that. I haven't seen her that excited in a while. So, we've read the first 3 chapters of Genesis and Psalm 1. From time to time she gets excited and says "yes" or "good" or something else appropriate. I've discovered that I can read but not nearly as well as I can talk. There's lots of new words. People passing by on the street stop to listen. Evelyn doesn't know how to read and she probably hasn't been to church since the stroke but I think she used to go. Anyway, she's loving it so far so I suppose we'll do that from time to time as long as I can remember.
Everything is pretty calm in the mountains. Not a lot of news. Bastien has a child of some sort but I don't know if it's a boy or girl yet. I'll have to stop by when I get back up. The trees are starting to be planted. The rain is starting to fall. Everyone is in bean and corn mode. I'll be starting my garden again soon. Life's exciting and normal.
|Saturday, February 21st, 2009|
|I'm bad at updates.
Sorry, I haven't written in a while.
We're in the dry season still. We're hoping that will end soon though because it's really hard to get water. I'm having a real headache with the kids in my family over that and the sooner it rains, the sooner that will be over.
We've qualified another person for a house. It's really fun to do this because it involves going out and counting trees therefore seeing at least a bit of the forests that are all over the place. Very cool.
We've got a building team here now. They just got here so we'll be up the mountains tomorrow to start building. The seminary team is coming the next week so I'll be seeing them soon which is also exciting. The team after that will be worming me. Nice to have a yearly worming. Nice too even if I don't have worms. Actually, I think it might be nicer that way.
Malaria is particularly bad now which is not cool. Just had some visitors go back with some which is scary. So, we're all keeping an eye on each other. We seem to be ok.
|Thursday, January 29th, 2009|
|There and back again: A month in the States
Well, my trip to the States included Christmas which is great because I missed family get-togethers and Christmas hymns last year. It included New Year's Day, we stayed up doing something and went to bed after the Harmon's shot off their traditional round of shotguns or whatever. I made traditional, Haitian New Year's Pumpkin Soup which is yummy.
Home time included some time with my sister, on break from DC's Habitat for Humanity (after she went back to work, Joe Biden came to work there for MLK Day). Lot's of family time, puzzle time, reading, wondering about snow, and eating great food (scrapple, soup, Thai, Chinese, pasta, sausage gravy, brisket, vegetables, banana pudding, milk, cake, pancakes, homemade jam, Chocolate Chipolte Hazelnuts, etc.).
I had a brief trip to Pittsburgh to hang out with SYIers and other friends. I got to meet Ellie, Josh and Kate's adorable new baby. I met the group coming from the Seminary in February. I generally got to see a whole bunch of people. Oh, and I got to experience Mike and Jen's Wii which is fabulous.
I talked about Haiti a lot. The Presbyterian Women came to see me on a very cold day.
I went trail clearing with Dad twice; once with Rachel. First on waterbars, second throwing ice covered tree branches around on a very cold day. Nice though.
I went to DC twice, had a good time with the Smithsonians.
Cut my finger the day before I came back cutting roof shingles. Got 4 stiches. They'll be coming out Saturday which I can only hope will be a less painful process than getting them put in.
So, I'm back, hiding in my room for fear of banging or infecting my finger. We've got a group coming in tomorrow and after the stiches are out I will be back to my more normal self. That's good because I think at least half of the US is coming to see us in the next 3 months. Still, there will be a break in July, and then we'll be back and then in September I'll be coming home for a somewhat indeterminent amount of time. I'll be living with mom and dad. I'll be working on figuring out what to do with myself. It'll be fun.
|Sunday, December 21st, 2008|
|Monday, December 15th, 2008|
|Field trip to Port-au-Prince!
Well, this time the field trip was so big we rented a bus and filled it. Pretty exciting. The group included Kathy's oldest kids who worked in different ways to earn their place on the bus, our current American group, Rick, Kathy, me and mama Enese. We had a lovely time. Our first stop was going to be at a sugar mill turned museum but they were having a special event which made entry way too expensive. However, it was right across the road from the new American embassy so now I've seen that. Plus, it was right at a little shopping mall which made me not miss that at all at home.
After that we went down to the Palace. We ate lunch in a little park there. The kids are all so giving. There were a couple of young boys hanging out begging and they gave them food. I don't think they'd been asked to, they're just like that. After that we walked down to the Haitian History Museum where 4 of the heroes of Haiti are buried. I believe Dessalines, Petion, and 2 others who I have now forgotten (not good). Anyway, it's a little bit of a thing but still, nice to see and the kids and adults enjoyed looking at different things that they don't get to see often (swords, crowns, flags, skulls, etc). Before the concert a couple of them agreed that was really neat to see.
After that we went to the St Trinity Episcopal Church which has murals inside a rather old church and a school of music that would be performing a concert. After checking out the murals and gift shop we went to sit in the auditorium. The thing was packed by the time the concert started. The first group reminded me of high school band, the second was a young group of violists who (as I think all beginning violinsts are wont to do) were not remotely in tune with each other. What was most interesting was that they did much better on the technically difficult piece than on the simple pieces. Anyway, after that each group got better and better until the end when they were downright good. There was a fairly broad range of music but I think I recognized all of it. Most of it was Christmas music. The players ranged in age considerably, I suspect some of them were the teachers. However, even when we got to the final group, there was one little boy in the second or third violin section who couldn't have stood higher than my shoulder. Cute. Enese thought the concert was great and so did I. I do like music and while I rarely play classical when I'm at home when it's not there at all, I do miss it.
When we got home it was too late for Enese to find a ride up the mountain so she stayed with me which was funny. Of course, she left early this morning so she could get up there to hike to Gwo Mon. My cover had fallen off the bed and she picked it up and tucked me in, giggling the whole time. I think she gets as big a kick out of having me for a kid as I do in having her for a mama. I think that's part of why I enjoy having her for my mama. Fun lady.
|Friday, December 12th, 2008|
|Bastien got married and other good things
You know, this blogging thing has gotten to be a big responsibility. I feel like I must tell you bad stuff (ie last week) but then I feel guilty that I'm going to bring you down and make you think it's horrible here and it's not... sigh. Fortunately, we have good things to report.
Bastien, one of our animators, got married last week. Marriage is a funny thing here because the relationship between men and women is not the same as we're quite used to. Still, the ceremony itself is fairly recognizable as such. Big white dress, lots of young girls in other dresses, flowers, music. There are differences. There's a godfather and godmother of the wedding. There's not a whole lot of guys with the gals going down the aisle. There's no electricity so it's hard to take pictures. However, now that a whole bunch of people have camera phones they're all up there taking pictures. After the ceremony (in which the preacher told us the importance of only having one wife), we went to Bastien and Gerline's new house which had been painted and had music and food. Everyone agreed this went very well, there was no fighting for food. If you have it later in the day you have a greater risk of this. Those of us who found food got soda, rice and beans, fried chicken, salad, and fried plantains. They cut the cake the next day. I didn't get any. Sad. Now Bastien gets picked on for being married which I think is good for him.
This past month I have rediscovered my roof. It was there all along. Really, as sun is setting, my roof is the place to be. First of all, sunset is great from there. Right now one of the trees near my roof is flowering and is visited by lots of hummingbirds and after sunset, moths and possibly other hummingbirds. Plus, then the stars come out. This month we also had Venus and Jupiter. I saw some falling stars and some satellites. It was pretty great.
One other thing that's been on my mind a lot lately is that I'm going home in a week! See you soon mom, dad, and Rachel! And the rest of you will have to wait a bit longer, but we will get there.
|Thursday, December 4th, 2008|
|Maybe too much is going on or maybe I'm ready for home
First pictures... http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=86679&l=be49f&id=635241284
Happy pictures of progress that we've made with Paul's house and with the high school as well as a bunch of other stuff.
Well, life is always interesting. You have to give it that. Last Sunday I decided to go with the family's church to Legliz St Andre. Now, I know this is Roman Catholic but I've been doing that for a while now so I was relatively prepared for everything. I thought. I hadn't taken into account that it was a festival day (ie fet St Andre) and therefore it was oh so much more than a regular Catholic mass. In fact, it was a RC mass with lots of voodoo attendees and much craziness (stealing, killing) outside. Hmm.
The priest who serves our church in the mountains is also the priest for this church so he invited the choir to go down to do the second mass with him. Of course it started way late. On the way there, there were tons of vendors selling everything, hats, flowers, candles, little bowls so you could beg, bandanas commemorating St Andre, just everything. There's tons of people all over the place and from all over the country. There's big buses waiting to take people back to Jacmel, Port-au-Prince and even beyond. There's lots of ladies in blue dresses. On the way, a lady almost managed to steal stuff from a purse I was holding. The owner of the purse beat her in the head with the keyboard she was carrying.
When we finally entered the church, it was packed (although not nearly as bad as first service) and this is a huge church. It's bigger than my church back home and it's not that small of a church. Lots of people were holding candles (some black candles). Many were standing there, looking up at the huge statue of St Andre (hey, I didn't know he was white) talking very animately with him. One guy almost was yelling at him. Later he gave an offering of money, candles and a bottle of vodka. Anyway, we did our mass and there were lots of people who looked like they were even there for the mass which was encouraging. Most just kept chatting with St Andre.
When we left, we passed a puddle of blood and a lady screaming they had killed her father. Apparently they killed the three people responsible for that and burnt their bodies.
Honestly, I know that in church at home, we tend to mix things up a lot. After all, a Christmas tree is not (let's just face this honestly) a Christian symbol. This was way beyond that and there wasn't much the priest could do about it other than not have mass at all. Maybe if voodoo wasn't oppressive and fear-inspiring as opposed to the Easter bunny and Santa, I'd care less, but it is. I don't like it. What was impressive to me though was that the people in the mountains who went with me mostly didn't like it either. They didn't know it was going to be like that and said they wouldn't be going back again next year. Mama Jean Claude said that it was stuff like that that gave Roman Catholics a bad name in Haiti and she's right. It does give them a bad name. Apparently St Pierre's festival day isn't like that (St Pierre is the church in the mountains). Either way, I think I'm glad that we don't have festivals every day.
|Saturday, November 15th, 2008|
Haiti is in the news again, this time for a school collapse. A four story building collapsed killing lots of kids and teachers. Definitely a case of poor building. However, what's hard to imagine is that this really does affect the whole country. On one hand, a lot of people where I am can't even imagine a 4 story building. On the other hand, I was in Ti Apon the other day and apparently someone there had a child in that school. The mother of the child is in the hospital and hasn't found out for sure that her child is dead but can tell that the kid hasn't come to visit her yet. There's lots of talk about making laws for construction. It may happen. Some parents lost all their children in one day.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/09/haiti-school-collapse-disaster
is just one article.
The day I went to Ti Apon, I had to go get Venus. He lives almost on the top of the mountain and part of the problem is I walk fast and get there in a half an hour, completely worn out and sweat dripping off me. I'm used to that. This time I was also steaming. He gave me a hot cup of coffee and I was steaming more than it. I've steamed before but never to this extent. It was crazy.
The other day I found a worm in my shower. Well, I looked at it, took a picture, decided it looked like an earthworm but... I mean, I live on the second story. There's no good way for a worm to get up there. Either something large brought it up (without damaging it) or I did. I wrote to Rick, he asked me if I was passing worms. I figured if I was, I'd notice that but I went to look in the toilet and there was a cockroach. I really need to watch what I eat. Rick agreed. His explanation for the worm was that God put it there so I figured God could take it out. God sent ants. Rick has since then helped me with this. We figure the worm could have come up with my clothes and then crawled to the shower. I must say, I'm glad not to have to think about that one any more.
The election of Obama has been interesting here. A Haitian friend texted me around 11:30pm to say Obama had it. My sister texted me the next day with the results. Haitians are excited partly because Obama is black but partly because he's a democrat and they figure it'll be a little easier to visit the States now. It's actually pretty ridiculous what you have to do to be able to come to the States and people who actually deserve to come, can pay, and want to return to Haiti are refused. Doesn't make any sense to me.
|Sunday, November 2nd, 2008|
|Have I told you lately how much I love Building Goodness?
No, really, I love these people. A bunch of characters, yes. Some roughness around the edges, sometimes. Hardworking, well, they do build the house in 4 days. Attentive to detail, apparently Frank more than Jack (according to their mother according to Jack) but Jack is too so we'll say yes. In general, an assorted bunch of people who want to come to Haiti, sleep out in tents, bathe in a river, and manage to build not just any old house but a very nice one. This week we built one for Paul who is the man who works for us at Lacul. He loved this week. Kept getting all excited when people would come by and he could show them the work these people were doing for him. "Travay pwop" or clean work he'd say. So, all that, some tables, some benches, some shelves, and Paul a happy man. They love to play Uno, especially with Rene. They love to have introspective moments which is just lovely in a bunch of carpenters. I'm sure they have faults but I like to forget them. Lovely.http://www.buildinggoodness.org/
The week before we had another group in and the fish boys were here again. This time we went on two long trips to see some dug ponds that people had made of their own free will with no particular encouragement to see how they were going. They were doing suprising well which was interesting. We will see what the harvest is like come Easter but that will be interesting!! They're still using compost to grow algae but are supplementing that with papaya leaves, moringa, and whatever else they see works.
I saw both Jamie and Meredith this past week. They were both here when I was here 3 years ago. Jamie was on the building team so we got to chat some and I think he made me feel better about having down days. That is the nature of the beast. Indeed, it is. Still, it's nice to have someone else confirm that.
A couple more pics... http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=79879&l=560af&id=635241284
|Saturday, October 11th, 2008|
|Field trip to Port-au-Prince
Today was a day away. We (Rick, Kathy and I) went with Clement and Mimi and Janet's two kids and Rubenson and Chilen to Port-au-Prince. The Baptist Mission is a famous mission above PauP. We checked out their little museum which included stuff from all over Haiti and the world. Think natural history museum and ancient history museum and world museum in 3 rooms. Really, it was pretty neat to wander through and show the kids all kinds of stuff.
After that we went down the hill to the "zoo" which I believe is smaller. Still, it had a monkey, crocodile, iguana and boa constrictor which the kids thought were fabulous. So did Mimi and Clement. I liked the iguana but felt a little bad for the monkey. Still, it was great to see the kids see a monkey. They had watched a film that had Aborigines in it and thought they were monkeys. Oh dear. Well, now at least they've seen a monkey of some variety.
We checked out the gift shop with all the arts stuff and I bought a Creole Bible and a map of Haiti. The Bible I bought is the new creole so I can actually read it. We have lots of the frenchier creole which I can read but takes more time. The map of Haiti is the best one I've seen yet so I showed the kids where we were from and where we went and other stuff and they thought it was cool.
We ate at the restaurant. Basically it was fast food but still tasty. I had chicken fingers, french fries, and a Courronne which is a banana soda which I think is great.
Then we went upstairs to the bakery and plant shop.
When we left the mission we went further up the hill marvelling at the gardens and flowers and pine trees and things that we don't get to see much because it's cooler up there. We also went up to a place where there's a lookout and checked out the view of the city. It was hazy but it's still pretty impressive.
Our last stop before leaving the city was a grocery store so Kathy could buy hot dogs for a birthday party. The grocery store made me hungry. Other than the half gallon of Breyers vanilla ice cream that I wanted to buy and eat in the parking lot, the only other thing I really wanted was the little packs of yogurt that don't come in the refrigerator so you can eat them when you don't have a fridge. Sigh. Again we can see I remain milk deprived. Ah well.
Anyway, a good time was had by all and Kathy made papaya milk shakes when we got home so that's almost ice cream. Yum. Mom and Dad, get ready, we're eating ice cream for Christmas or New Year's or something. There's nothing you can do about it. I must have some.
And once again we have a multimedia presentation.
For video... http://www.youtube.com/user/aprilleese
For pics... http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=75836&l=d6c29&id=635241284