Image

April 30, 2018 – May 21, 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018
Another beginning of a new adventure … This trip was planned in order to gather information and take pictures to prepare an electronic directory ‘Nip Boten’ based on the stories and realities of what we see, observe or are shared with us. In the first few days I would be on my own, but I will eventually be joined by two friends who agreed to form a team with me to tackle this ambitious task of travelling throughout the Nippes to collect people’s interviews and take pictures.
Prior to my departure I had called to have a cab to be at the house at 5 am. At 3 am, the telephone rang and the taxi driver said he was at the front of the house. I felt I had just fallen asleep. I told the dispatcher I had said I would confirm at 4:30 am. This was a mistake. I hope this is not a prediction of things to come. I could not fall back to sleep, I made coffee and prepared a sandwich and some fruits for breakfast as the airline only provides chips and a drink on the plane. By 4:45 am, I was ready with my suitcases outside by the driveway. I was careful not to exceed the weight requirements of 50 pounds. My husband woke up to give me a hand and be with me while waiting for the cab. I had to call the taxi service at 5:15 and within 15 minutes a car was at the house. The driver was from Nigeria. I made conversation with him on the way to the airport and told him that last year how two Nigerians, a nurse and a pharmacist, came to do a medical fair in the town of Ansse-a-Veau.
Although I had pre-checked online and paid for the second bag, I had to go to the kiosk to get the tags then look for the area to check in the bags. Again, I met another Nigerian. He was courteous and helpful to direct me where I had to weigh the bags. Then I proceeded to the TSA line. I had to go through two scanners. I asked why, they said it was a random security check. By 6 am, I was seated at the gate waiting for departure. JetBlue started boarding promptly at 8:08 am and the flight left on time. There were many open seats. The movie on the flight was Ferdinand. That used to be one of my favorite stories to read aloud to my students. My head phones from home were not working, so I was glad it was subtitled. The attendants served drinks and snacks 45 minutes into the fight.
We arrived in Port-au-Prince around 12:30 pm as scheduled after some minor turbulence in the air. The aides at the entrance and the immigration clerks were welcoming. I rented a cart for $2 before going to the carousel to get the bags. It took quite some time. Then I stopped at Digicel to get a new sim card and minutes. I purchased one for $10, hoping it would last me for a month. Then I also had NATCOM put the internet and minutes on my BLU phone for $17. The sellers and representatives of both telephone companies were very helpful. I called the driver before going to the parking lot and could not reach him. At first the connection was bad. Then a porter helped me to the arrival parking lot. When I called Batraville, the driver, again he said it would be a while before he could pick me up. The porter suggested I go wait by the entrance of the parking lot by the departure area. I tipped him and he left me there. I became very thirsty waiting in the sun. I saw a gentleman passing by, Mr. Simon Dificil, I asked where I could get a bottle of water. He said I could give him the money and he would buy it for me. I gave him a $1 US and he went across the street and brought it back for me with the change. I had barely thanked him before he left. After an hour standing there, another man called Joseph approached me. He told me that his nickname was Kapo as he is a mechanic at the airport. If I needed anything, he would help me. I thanked him and said I was fine. After about two hours, at around 2:30 pm Mr. B. showed up. While waiting I had called Sr. Martha and Alix, my childhood friend, to tell them I was in the country. As I was loading the car, Kapo showed up to give a hand. I gave him $2 and thanked him. We talked to Mr. Labissiere, president of CORA, who said we should come to the house in Santo to pick up something from him before heading to Anse-a-Veau. Then we went to Mr. B.’s house to pick up someone who was to travel with us. I met Mr. B’s wife and his younger four year old daughter, Sergine. I shared some Welch fruits snacks with her. As she showed me she knew the colors, I was impressed. At 3:30 pm before taking the long road ahead, I used the rest room at their house.
There was a lot of traffic before taking the Croix des Mission bridge. We went through the old Bisantenaire, Grand Rue and many other known roads, all disgustingly overcrowded and filled with garbage. It had rained a few days before so the ravine had overflowed piles of garbage. I was so upset that the government seems absent and the disrespect given to the human dignity of the people.
At 4:30 we were still at Carefour. We stopped to buy a battery on the road. I shared my hazelnuts and cashews with Mr. B and Dieulanise, our passenger. We reached Gressier at 5:30 pm. I always enjoyed the view of the Baie of Miragoane. In Vialet, we bought some mango and ‘zabriko’ (a larger size apricot). After Bezin, the car started to heat up. A cultivateur, Mr. Olvert Jolicoeur, gave us some water. We bought the plastic bottle from him. This rental started well.
We had stopped another time again on the deserted road of Miraogane to let the car cool down. Finally, the driver opened the radiator and we filled it with water. I don’t believe I am paying for this car daily – I was picked up very late and now we are having trouble to reach our destination. I offered it up to God. We got to the house at 8:45-9:00 pm.
I met the new sister assigned to the Salesienne house: Sr. Mirlande. Sr. Mirlene and Sr. Linda were there for the festivities. The house was filled with volunteers doing different activities in preparation for tomorrow’s event. I ate some fries and fish for dinner. I talked to Sr. Flora, she suggested we give the teachers the presents on Teacher Appreciation Day, May 17, or some other time rather than tomorrow. She did quite some renovations in the house. I really appreciate her efforts and ideals to upgrade and make improvements. This is rather rare here, maintenance is not prized. I went to the outside accommodation which was set up to welcome visitors. One of the two rooms was occupied by the male personnel. The bathroom, which is built between the two rooms, was left exclusively for my use accessible both from the outside and from the rooms. I settled in for the night as I was tired from waking up so early and the full day of travel. I prayed some of the inconveniences of today would not be repeated throughout this trip, but ultimately thankful I was alive and well.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
I slept late after trying to put some order in my suitcases. Then during the night, I thought I heard someone using the bathroom although they had reassured me the other room had no access. I used my flashlight and saw no activity but I placed one of a bucket filled with water right behind the communicating door, placed another one at the external bathroom door, and my heavy suitcase in front of my exit door. To ventilate the room, I always keep the door between my room and the bathroom open. I was not about to have it closed although I felt a little scared. I stayed in bed until 6 am, showered and went to the main house to get some coffee. This set up is so different from my home routine where I brew the coffee while I look at the backyard, then seat at the table and do general prayers – I call this moment coffee with Jesus, then I go on the elliptical while I do the readings for the mass before I get dress, walk to church and participate at mass.
I stayed in the gallery and prayed as it is quiet and there are no activities in the area. Then I went to the room to set up the gift bags for the teachers. I heard and saw the children getting ready in the yard before going to the church with their classmates and teachers. The ceremony was beautiful with the children singing and participating in the liturgy. The priest in his homily complimented the Salesiennes Sisters for their ten years of dedicated service to the students of the town as well as the spirituality of St. Joseph the Worker which they communicate in the education process.
After mass we crossed over to the Sisters house and school where the students performed different dances, skits, and songs. Lunch was served for all the guests after the children’s presentation. The Salesians hierarchy was present to support their coworkers in the town.
In the afternoon, I met with the Renesansavo participants with whom I had worked in 2014 and 2015. About nine of them showed up. I wanted to know what they had accomplished personally and for the community since last year. They communicated some of the challenges they were facing: graduation and no money to pay the fee, wanting to do some projects and having no financial support or sickness in the family. I congratulated Milio and Filienne for being the winners of solar panels because they were among the five finalists who had accomplished the greater score on their exit project during their training in Port-au-Prince. I felt really proud and happy we had sponsored them to participate in these workshops. Because of the low turnout, I had gifts for each person in attendance at the meeting.
Later in the day, I took advantage of the rented car, I visited l’Ecole Nationale Primaire Mixed and Ecole St. Ange of Anse-a-Veau: Frantzy Benoit, Albert St. Cyr, are the directors. I talked to one director to questions why both schools next to each other are primary schools with the same grades. He explained that one was the brothers’ old school and the other the old public school transferred to this area. Milio came with us as our guide. We passed by L’Etang. We saw the ground were Vorbes keeps his equipment to build roads. I almost went into conflict with one of the guards because he did not want me to come near him with a camera. I told him that I do not take pictures of individuals without permission. He did not believe me and said this is what usually happens with people from the ‘Diaspora’. I became very upset by this remark and actually lectured the gentlemen. I said I did not understand this adversary attitude between a people born in the same country. At times those who live abroad are sought to bring money and resources but when we are in the country we are treated as enemy combatants. I described my project and before leaving I gave him my business card. We returned to the house where I had some supper before I turned in. Reflecting on the day, I realize I have to be more flexible with people to achieve my purpose.



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

All night from 11:45 pm to 2 am the dogs or “loogaroos” as I called them were running around by the rooms. It was scary at first. I prayed and relaxed after ensuring that no one could enter the room from the bathroom doors or my outside door. I woke up early enough to complete the bag of goodies for the teachers. After getting dress and going to the main house, I saw sister Flora organizing the classes to listen to the agronomist from J/P HRO (Haitian Relief Organization) who came to do a planting demonstration and distribute fruit trees to the children. Sister had the children repeat: “N ap rebati Ayiti pandan nap plante anpil pyebwa “ (we are rebuilding Haiti as we plant many trees). I really felt encouraged by this action of distributing trees, teaching the children how to care for them and the environment. There is hope for the future if all schools throughout the nation would teach sustainable practices and how we should take care of ourselves, our community, and the earth we live on.
After a light breakfast, I met with Milio and Mr. B. to start the visits to the adjoining chapels of Anse-a-Veau. We went to Joly and talked to the director of Chapel of St. Andre: Franky. We also spoke briefly with the teachers–Guerrier Lovely & Saintil Calorgina–working with the children in the chapel. The preschoolers were so attentive to the lessons. I did my usual song and gestures with the kids of “head, shoulders, knees and feet” in Kreyòl. Then Franky brought us to the Gwot Jean Jacque Acao. With recent rains, the cave is filled with soil and access to the different chambers are limited. We saw a small house on the way, and we talked to her owner and the possible cost to build such a home in prevision of a proposal I would like to write—it would provide training in construction to a number of young people for future employment while repairing vulnerable houses to weather for low income families.
We visited the National School of Joly. We had an interview with both the associate director at the school and the director, Duvald Denis, we encountered on the road.
We also visited two other chapels of St. Anne. In Rocher Lavalle, St. Michel was closed. It had started to rain we left disappointed we could not take pictures of the inside. In Perrien, we talked to Darius Sylvain, director of La Saint Famille Chapel founded by David Fontaine in 2010 which was demolished by Hurricane Matthew and is now under reconstruction.
In O’Rouck we had a conversation with Fr. Iradin Louis, pastor of St. Louis Montfort de Guignon church. He is very knowledgeable of history and is also an agronomist concerned with the environment. He wished he could develop more small business for this coastal town. He hoped for more help with the school which is still housed in the church. We also talked to his director of school, Dabrezil Lejuste-Adams.
On the interior road toward the beach, we stopped at the Ecole Nationale d’Orouck directed by Edouard Lucner. The teachers and the community are working to make it into a Lycee as well. Further along, we talked to Tony Francois who operates the school Kindest Heart Academie founded in 2011by Dr. Patricia Nicholas. The building is still well maintained (we had visited this school in 2014) and improvements are being made. The Doctor’s foundation supports the school and also the adjoining clinic.
In Baconois, we met with Fr. Jude Jean Louis an OBLA pastor of a chapel recently elevated to church, L’Eglise St. Francois de Sale. He currently lives in a borrowed house while the rectory is being built. The area is so poor, he is at 95% supported by his order OSFS. He studied and ministered in Brazil for eight years before returning to Haiti. I pray for all priests in my daily prayers and for the ones who have affected my spiritual life. Hearing this priest and all the other ones I have met during this trip doubled my appreciation for these men who give up personal relationship and take a vow of obedience and poverty to bring and live the Gospel.
On our way back, we stopped at Ecole Nationale de Baconois founded by Olga Devilier Franck. She was trying to let some organization into the building to check how to install electricity from some solar panels. It seems that there is a contract to have all the Nationale schools in that region powered. That would be good news if the students are able to use technology.
After those visits, we came back around 5:30 pm. I ate lunch and supper in one seating (legume, white rice and bean sauce, a mango corn followed by a warm melisse tea. Back in my room, I tried to fix my Natcom internet with the What’s App. Could not make it work. At 10:30 I talked with my husband. He had just come from Manhattan with our daughter. I felt reassured about everything at home. Tired, I just went to bed.

 

 

 


Thursday, May 3, 2018

By 5:30 am, I got out of bed. Since 4 am I was tossing, turning, and falling in and out of sleep. I was restless. Got dressed and went out for coffee at 6:30 am. The nuns were in prayer. I stayed outside on the gallery to pray and read the lectionary’s reading for the mass. I had a special thought of my son, as today is the feast of St. James and Philip. After a light breakfast of slices of zabriko and some omelet. I went in the yard to give out the patriotic booklet to the teachers. I sang ‘Fière Haiti’ and at the refrain of Jean Claude Martineau’s ‘Yon Verite” on Kreyòl for the students.
I went to the rectory next door to see if the pastor was available. He was not there but I met a street vendor on a bike selling his bread and we had a chat. Then I went back to my room and completed the packages then distributed them to all 12 teachers during recess. Gave the rest of the materials to Sister Flora for the office. I still have to find some items for the personnel for both the school and the house.
At 9:35 I had received a call from Msgr. A. who said he would be at the house soon. It was 12 and he had not yet arrived. I needed to do several activities, however, the scout representative, Paul Justin of Jean Jacques Acao, came to thank my friend who had sent the material to make the uniforms. At this time, he does not have the funds to sew them but he also needs the scarves and the emblems. He is hopeful to have the youngsters participate in the feast of St. Anne in July.
When Kim, the director of Music of the Art, came to visit the students she sponsors in the school. We had a nice chat about the prison ministry and her stay at a hotel in the area. On her way out, I went to the hotel with her on the road to TiBarcadere. Her room seems to be right on top of the water with a view of the ocean and right next to the stairs that lead to the ocean side (not beach as it is not yet fixed for that). This B&B is getting ready to be opened by the Feast of St. Anne in July. It is really a lovely space. Remy dropped me back at the house. He showed me his newly built house at the entrance of town.
I had lunch with Sr. Flora. I complimented her on doing upgrade and maintenance of the house. Afterward, I walked downtown to the fishermen’s area. I saw Jean Vanel on my way downtown. I went to his house where his wife was cooking some rice and beans with coconut milk. Jean Vanel and I went to the fish depot that used to function as a refrigeration facility and store front for the town. I met Moumoune who is managing the place since her mother’s death. She agreed in doing the interview. The place is in need of eight 12 volt batteries at a cost of $350 per unit. She would be willing to get a loan to repair the facility and get it open for the fishermen to return to the area and make this business a viable venture for both the fishermen and the people of the town. Then I went to Jules Fleury’s hospital to meet the new doctor. Jean Vanel and I tried to find out if Mr. Monde was home. No one was there. We stopped by the Salle Paroisiale to get some water for me and a soda for Jean Vanel. He told me that Dessalines had a house in Anse-a-Veau. He used to come on vacation. They had accused him of sexual assault and that is one of the reasons of Guerin and many others disliked him in the area. The people here thought he was an autocrat. I told him I had never heard of such information. Is it a story being told here to exonerate one of their leaders? When I got to the house, I gave Jean Vanel the refrigeration materials I had shipped for him as well as the insulating bags for his wife and his sister.
Msgr. came at 5:30 pm to discuss his book to be published on July 13th as a tenth-year anniversary of the diocese. He went over how he would like to see the book set up. I shared some of my compiled documents with him. As it started to rain, Danielle and Carlo arrived from Port-au-Prince. I helped them get settle in their room. We had supper. Msgr. left with a pancho I had brought so that he would not be soaked during the travel. We were worried about him riding the motor cycle to go back to Miragoane. Then it started to rain harder. I cross over to my room before they let the dogs out.


Friday, May 4, 2018

The dogs started to fight with something around midnight. I settled my mind to ignore everything and tried to sleep. It continued to rain all night. I finally got out of bed at 6 am. I guess not being at home unconsciously is affecting me. Routines here are different. Went for coffee so that I could have “some time with Jesus”. For some reason, I cried while being quiet looking at nature on the quiet gallery. I did not feel sad but water flowed from my eyes. I did my prayers and read the mass from Magnificat for Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter and first Friday of the month. Milio stopped by to find out about the Tools Bank (Bankzouti) job. We discussed the possible job description. He talked about what this could mean for him as it is so difficult to find jobs. Carlo, Danielle and I had breakfast before being picked up by Mr. B.at 8:50 am.
Our first stop on the way to Petite Rivière and Miragoane was Plaj Lakay in Madian. We spoke with the manager at the door. This beach is owned by the diocese. Here they have a clean area for the beach goers. There are stalls to change clothes. There are also vendors’ stall for when they host a festival. It is a good initiative of the diocese not only does it welcome the beach goer but provide jobs—the door keeper, the beach cleaners, etc.
We proceeded to Life Teens formerly Jean Paul II Center directed by Paul Alain Albert, a lay man, who was born in Boston, US and returned to Haiti with his American wife and fathered four children. He is committed to his ministry of evangelization in the area and his work with the youth under the Supervision of Fr. Louis Merosne.
We skipped the clinic and went directly to the Diocesan Office of Caritas where we met with Fr. Jean Franky Rosemberg who explained the mission of this office and his new ongoing project. We visited the ground with him where he is building an ‘auberge’ (inn) of 20 rooms for the people who come in mission or service to the diocese. We also saw the radio station. I mentioned the construction training project/fixing of weather vulnerable houses for low income families for which we are writing a proposal. He was very much interested and would like to be involved in it.
At College St. Antoine de Padoue we met the director of CESA: Jack Davidson. He is a member of American Haitian Foudation which sponsors the school. We also Interviewed a staff member, Micha Deslerherme, a graduate from the school in 2006 who is now coordinating a program.
Further up the road we visited St. Antoine de Padoue Church whose pastor is Rev. Emmanuel Volcy. Beside this church he is responsible for 5 Chapels. He was on his way to visit one of them, Notre Dame de l’Assompsion, on his motor cycle. Fr. Volcy is responsible for 3 ‘presbyterials’ schools Coeur de Marie with 400 students; Immaculate Conception with 450 students; St. Marie Madeleine with 100 students. This parish was founded in 1873. The first Haitian priest was installed on August 2013. The parish which welcomes about 300 faithfuls, have three choirs, a Kiro group (Catholic youth group), pastoral agents, a group to visit the sick, and many more activities. The parish was affected by Matthew and it is a slow process to recuperate.
Our third visit was at Visitation Hospital Foundation, a Catholic institution, sponsored by Parish Twining Program of America (PTPA). Dr. Marie Claude Francois agreed to talk to us at the condition she would not take her picture nor show her face on the camera. We accepted her terms. The hospital was founded in 2000 by Theresa Patterson of Nashville, Tennessee though the PTPA foundation. About 100 patients are seen daily. The greatest medical problems encountered here is sedentariness, diabetes, nutrition. The small fee of 160 gourdes covers consultation and lab exams. They receive free medicine and are taken in until stabilized. They provide 24 hours and 7 days services. We also visited the staffs’ house on the ground which is really an agreeable space.
We were looking for a chapel on the road and missed it although we had received several directions. Not an effective way to find locations where is my GPS? We continued on and came upon the Eglise Episcopale de Bondeau (formerly known as Marie Madeleine) is Le Bon Samaritan. We talked to Rev. Jean Berthold Fanor whose Bishop is Msgr. Zache Durachem. The school has 300 students with 9 teachers. We had been welcomed by a lay person, Wilker Casimir. The school includes first level to philo. They also run a clinic. The Episcopal Church has three parishes in the Nippes.
In Miragoane, we met Soeur de la Charite of Cardinal Sancha: Sr. Sonia Pollino, Sr. Marcia, & Sr. Ecaldda Felor. They manage Ecole Nationale Congreganiste & Vocational de Miragoane which has 952 students and 24 teachers. For three nuns and this staff it is a lot of work and it seems they receive intermittent funding from the government as it is a public school. Although the ground and school were clean, I was struck by the terrible conditions of the building missing window panes and bricks. I think they were unable to repair after Hurricane Matthew.
We stopped at the Co-Cathedrale de Miragoane: St. Jean Baptiste whose pastor is Msgr. Herve Grandjean. He refused to give us an interview because all information we need for the diocese will be published this week-end. After a prayer to send us on our way, he told us this sentence: “The enemy of the church is the church itself”. Which I did not understand and found puzzling. When we had arrived, he was in a meeting with I guess a parishioner. Maybe he had been stressed out by the amount of work to be done and little resources to accomplish them.
Our last stop was at the Hospital de St. Therese, Miragoane. As it was late, we only found Philisten Olsen in the emergency office, who is an internist who was willing to talk to us. The hospital was inaugurated on Aril 3, 1980. There are about 100 beds available for inpatients. They do not have an ambulance. I wondered how the emergency traumas reach them? There is a maternity and radiology section. Dr. Olsten is there temporarily fulfilling his mandated year of service in order to be licensed, then he will be going back to obtain a specialization hopefully in pediatric care.
We were exhausted when we returned to the house. We ate supper and we each went to our rooms after briefly discussing how the day had gone. We felt we had accomplished a lot but we would need to organize better to get a break and food on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Saturday, May 5, 2018

At 5:30 am I woke up with the nagging feeling that I had lost my camera’s sims card. I emptied my bag, looked everywhere. I let go of this search, finally, I showered and stayed in my room to pray. At 7 am, I went to the main house to drink coffee and write a little. At 7:30 am I woke Danielle and Carlo to warn them that I had unhooked the shower pipes by accident in my bathroom, if Carlo were to use it. I found out that I had given the sim card to Carlo last night and had not remembered. What a waste of time and needless anxiety this morning.
While we had breakfast Mr. L. joined us to go to Petite Riviere at Manolo’s, we journeyed on to Charlier. The priest, Fr. Evens Grand Fils, was not there. I talked to someone on the phone. It was very windy I could hardly hear him with the tin roof flapping overhead in the church. We identified this parish as St. Charles Borromée with Rev. Faustin Louis, as pastor of the church and a presbyterial school. We continued on toward Miragoane. We saw a group of people in front of the emergency shelter facility and we stopped. We made conversation with some participants and one of them, Cadet T, agreed to give us an interview.
At the Evêché de Miragoane (bishopric), we talked to Fr. Yves Voltaire; Directeur du Bureau Diocesien de l’Education et Vicaire Episcopale pour l’Education et le Développent; membre du conseil épiscopal. There were two other buildings on the ground: Commission of Justice and Peace, and the Bishop’s residence and office. I called Fhrerre and asked if he wanted to be our guide for the rest of the day. He accepted and escorted us to Fort Reflechi on Rue Coloniale. Then we went to the University Publique of Berquin directed by Yves Voltaire. The director present did not want to be interviewed. I understand that he was probably afraid to step above his superior’s approval,
The next stop was Eglise St. Therese de l’Enfant Jesus where we met pastor Mac Cley Antoine Elie installed in the past 7 to 8 months. He believes in the youth and evangelization process. He wants to awaken faith, hope, and charity in the community. While we were waiting for Fr. Elie to talk to us, we saw a group of boys and girls singing in a shed like room behind the church. We took pictures and talked to them. In the sacristy overlooking the inside of the church we witnessed one young lady thrashing on the floor screaming in front of the sanctuary. I thought she was possessed by a “loa” (spirit) but the director of chapel told us that she was a member of the family of the deceased whose corpse and coffin were in the back of the church. After a few minutes she stopped. I wondered if she was a daughter or a young wife. Suddenly another younger lady came in screaming, and another one supported by two males started groaning like a wounded animal. This was really eerie. I felt like a voyeur peeking at this mourning ritual.
Every time we travelled pass L’Etang de Miragoane, we admired the golden flowers (Nenuphar Nymphaea). We stopped to take pictures. They are called ‘chayèt here we give no importance to them although members of the Minustah come to collect some. I remembered a member of the Myriam Group in Canada pointing out how these flowers were admired in Egypt. I would like to know more.
At Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours we saw Père Jean Denis Joseph Hubert who was preparing to receive a ‘Caravane Mariale’ from Port-au-Prince of about 4 busses and more mini vans going to Caye after an hour of prayer here. He quickly talked to us about his parish and presbyterials schools. There were several other priests who had come to concelebrate with him in the shrine. Fr. Elusmas Bazile, director of EFACAP de Chalon, reminded me that we had met last year when he had brought a number of KIRO groups in Anse-a-Veau. He said he will be sending me a proposal for computers (maybe 5) for his 300 students. This is not the first request made to see if members of the team or myself could make a difference for them. I truly wish we had the ability to respond to all those needs but unfortunately, I am not a foundation. I have no money but my own retirement funds after forty years of working in NY City and my friends and colleagues here also contributed time and their own expenses because of their conviction in the project.
At St. Michel Archange, Pastor Père Casimir of St. Michel du Sud was absent. We continued to Ecole FOMAPI (Formation Moderne Appliquée et Integré) – is a private congreganist school under the direction of Sr. Jeanne, Sr. Bernadette Bastien of the Congregation Compagnie de Jesus. They supervise the three cycles proposed by the ministry of education for 835 students.
St. Joseph of Pemerle was founded in 1949 by a group of religious according to Pastor, Noemi Ambroise, who seemed very versed about the history of the parish. He not only pushes the evangelization process but also works for social understanding and responsibility of the faithful. The pastor is very aware of the need for strong education to make a difference in this community.
At Fonds des Nègres, we came upon Notre Dame de Mont Carmel whose pastor is Jude Pierre Junior Jacques. The community seems transient. The youth is here one day and gone the next, seeking the next opportunities elsewhere.
At the last parish visited for the day, Notre Dame de Lamercie in Virgile whose pastor is Prosner Altidor, also has a presbyterial school. He is new to the area having replace Fr. Enel to mission abroad. Fr. Altidor seems very diplomatique and reserved, we could feel his educational and experience having studied Canonical law and living in Rome for the past six years in his demeanor.
Today we had brought food with us for the road so we were not as famished during supper. The team talked for a while about the people we had met during the day. We conversed with the sisters before we went to our respective rooms.

 

 

 

Sunday, May 6, 2018
I had gone to bed early the previous night but by 11:30 I woke up and could not fall back asleep. I finally got out of bed and prepared to go to mass after my morning prayer and light breakfast. The mass was celebrated by Fr. Johnson Charlotin and the students of St. Joseph the Worker, the Salesians sang, read the scripture passages and petitions.
As usual I felt that the homily although lengthy communicated a good message on the Gospel that we are no longer slaves by friends of Jesus. If we remain in Him and He in us, we will no longer be slaves but His friends.
After mass, which ended after 10 AM, Danielle and I went for a conversation with Fr. Louis. We explained the project for which I had come to the Nippes for in this trip, the Boten. I also shared the idea of looking into the construction training with a component of home improvements for weather vulnerable houses for impoverished families. He suggested we work with EPSSA on such a project and he announced that the university had received its recognition from the Ministry of Education as he knew that CORA had participated in paying for the application process. As he is the liaison for CORA and the Bishop’s office, I made sure I told him of all we wished to accomplish and all our complaints. I told him how I noticed that last year many constructions and activities that were being done seemed to have stopped frozen in time. I know he has a lot on his plate being pastor at the Cathedral, director of evangelization center and assistant to the bishop. He is very conciliatory, he always tries to find a positive side to things.
When we returned to the house, we talked to Sr. Flora and had a sumptuous lunch before going to Paillant.
The pastor of Notre Dame de la Guadeloupe, Valery Rebecca, is on vacation for a month. We took pictures of the outside and inside of the church and also of his residence. I had met Msgr Rebecca in 2014 when he used to be pastor at St. Anne in Anse-a-Veau.
We noticed the Ecole Nationale Congreganiste de Paillant – College Notre Dame de Guadelupe (CNDGP) also the Centre de Formation Professionnelle FHAHM (Fondation Haiti Help Med- Père Farnese Louis Charles) in the same area as the church but no authorized personnel were present to give us more details.
We tried to go to L’Etang Rey unsuccessfully we could not find the right entrance leading to that road. The inhabitants of the area told us it was far and that our car was too low for such a path. As it was getting late, we decided to return to the house. Sr. Mirlande was with us for the ride and wanted to go to evening prayer as every night, the statue of Marie went to spent the night with a family in the area where rosary and mass was celebrated.
Late evening Msgr. Louis and a small group of young parishioners came to the sisters’ house to congratulate them for their 10 years of service to the town. As he was absent on May 1st he brought the nuns gifts – baskets with chocolate and wine.
Danielle, Carlo and I decided to do some documentation on the computer. However, the one I borrowed had a different keyboard and I could not type properly without looking at each key. So, I gave up. Carlo did a fantastic job of backing up all the pictures on my external storage.
I felt really blessed that we had such a great team doing this mission of a living boten.

 

 

 

Monday, May 7, 2018
I woke early to give Sr. F., before her 4 am departure to Port-au-Prince, a package for Lucien A. to be picked up on her way.
At 6:50 am I went for coffee as we planned to go to Petit Trou de Nippes. Sr. Mirlaine had to be in charge of the children. I was going to have breakfast when she came in frustrated with two boys who hid in the back of the school after she rang the bell. She also had two classes who did not come to mass the previous day as instructed. I went to the yard and I had them line up in two rows of boys and girls. We discussed why Sr. M. was upset. We walked around the yard three times then we stopped and they apologized before going back to their respective classes. The teacher in me had taken over. Some of them were very young and soon the sun would make it hot. I felt sorry for them, but they just needed to understand why Sr. was upset. She is the same age as my daughter so I know they can become easily impatient with the younger ones not following the rules to the letter.
Today we made sure we brought some refreshments for the road before heading to Petit Trou de Nippes. The first visit was to the Lycee Nationale. We met Mr. Jean Roc Saintil, rector of the school which was founded in 1992. We stopped at the Bibliothèque de Nippes – Dany Laferrière, whose director is Clement Benoit, however, we interviewed Dona Cassandre Atellus, Assistant Secretary and Mimose Montalment, housekeeper. It was posted that Jean Claude Aurelus was bibliothecaire. This facility is opened from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. Sundays 2 pm to 5 pm. There were four rooms each dedicated to a different literary person (1) Baudelaire Pierre, (2) Pierre Clitandre; (3) Claude St Pierre; (4) Bonel Auguste. In the one room, there were pictures of several authors, poets, and political figures. The library is well organized and well kept. They seem to welcome about 30 students per day mostly after school. The students receive ID card. Although, we were only gathering information about the library, we had to sign the visitors’ book and give a donation.
What I like about the town of Petit Trou, everything is so close and within the square. We met Mr. Pierre Saurel, directeur de la Mairie (Town hall) des Nippes. The mayor: Winord Pierre was absent but Jose Leonel, the secretary talked to us.
Fr. Luckson Simeon, the Pastor of l’Eglise de Notre Dame de la Nativite, a colonial church built in 1631, was absent. We talked to L’Abbe Jean Pierre Henri Claude and Daniel Olson, lay person and member of the church council. They gave us a brief history of the main painting in the sanctuary and the stations of the cross (the vestiges) in the facility.
We walked to the dock where we saw the fishermen. I called to one in his boat coming to shore. He allowed me to get on his boat, his name is Joseph, for a talk about the fishermen’s lives on the sea. He was agreeable and we did the interview.
Then we dropped by the Culturel Centre which I had visited in 2013 with my friend Therese and a women’s group LIPOUFANM presenting a workshop. It was affected by the hurricane Matthew and is in need of repairs.
On the way out of the center of town, we stopped by the Centre Medical des Nippes, and talked to Dr. Solene Rodrigue, general medicine. She was reluctant at first to give the interview but did talk to us. She did something no one else had done before, she listened to the whole interview before letting us leave. What were her reasons, I don’t know.
The Abbe had suggested the director of chapel, Alponse Raymond, travel with us to bring us to several places around the area such as St. Joseph Chapel (quasi Parish), Zone Grand Ravine 2nd Section, located in Bwa Chapat; Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours, Zone Reymond being constructed; St. Therese de l’Enfant Jesus–Section Raymond , zone St. Therese (demolished). On the road we also met a director of chapel but also a director of Ecole Nationale in St. Cyr. After the visits to the chapels, we stopped at Mr. Raymond’s home and had some coconuts to drink and eat their meat. He also introduced us to his children. We made sure he was able to return home by using a taxi motorcycle.
In the Zone of Chevalier we stopped at the second Episcopal church that we visited in the Nippes. Rev. Luc Desiré is the pastor of the Paroissse de St. Paul and School as well as the professional center. We noticed that their buildings are always well maintained and they are responsible not only for the pastoral care of the community but also the social needs of the people.
At Ecole Nationale Communautaire de Carrefour Lundi, built by Digicel, we talked to both the director Nore Destin, and his assistant directeur, Charles Getho. The buildings were recently constructed and I thought inwardly I hope they maintain them in good conditions.
At Ecole Nationale de Baconnois, Mr. Simon Renal, Surveillant, gave us the interview the director Jean Baptiste Jean Claude was absent.
The Boulangerie of Baconois belongs to Milon. What we call bakery is a big mud and brick oven and a table with the equipment to roll the dough. Very primitive set up but it gets the job done.
We felt very productive taking pictures and talking to people. At the last place for the day, the ebeniste (carpenter), pastor of l’Eglise de Dieu de Baconois wanted us to interview him because he feels that would help his struggling business. Although the house is called funeral home it has no morgue; he refers his friends to other places in Miragoane or elsewhere but he likes to build the coffins.
During supper, we always try to evaluate our day before we separate for the night.

 

 

 


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Woke up, had coffee and some breakfast with the sisters. Instead of doing the daily readings, I tried to type the outline of past days. Mr. B. came at 8:30 am. Sr. Mirlande had lunch prepared for us. We went to Brossard to see the PFST. We saw the ‘guildive’ in action. They had bagasse all over and the ‘vidange’ not being controlled yet. The place is very busy with the people bringing them sugar cane to be transformed. Everything seems unkept as they are overwhelmed with the work to be done and lack of equipment. We bought some of their cassava from them (2 bags of salted ones and 2 bags of sweetened ones), plus 2 gallons of honey—one for me and one for Danielle). Br. Camille pointed out that the peanut mill is not working. He needs about 50,000 goud (10,000 $HT) to have it repaired. He needs this right away to continue production for himself and the peasants of the area.
The road is in construction, they opened it very wide and were working to break down the rock side and using the big roller tractors to flatten the path. A participant in our program whose parents live in the area told us that, her parents lost five coconut trees and four mango trees with fruits on them. The company making the road did not compensate them for the trees nor the land they encroached on nor did they tell them in advance to pick up the fruits from the trees. They even put one of this individual’s tree on another person’s property. Thank goodness they knew that individual and witnessed the move where they were able to claim the tree to collect the fruits and use part of it to make coal. No law to protect the people and no one to appeal to.
At the Ecole Nationale de Brossard, we talked to Simone Jean Pierre the interim principal of the school until a director is officially appointed. The school was recently built, it is clean. The teachers and principal were really welcoming. Quite unusual they had a library with books in both languages—Kreyòl and French. I wished I had more time to find out how they used the books and the interaction of the kids with the material.
We went on to Arnaud the birth place of a member of CORA, Mr. Nougais, who we had just encountered at the PFST. We saw the pastor, Fr. Francois Charles of St. Catherine de Sienne. We talked to the children of the presbyterial school. He invited us to visit the ground around.
Then we continued to l’Asile under the leadership of the pastor David Fontaine who was absent.
We talked to Colbert Ceide the vicar and director of the school of St. Joseph — Ecole Père Henri Guimard and Ecole presbyterial kindergarten of the same name which is under construction.
At Hopital Communautaire de Reference de l’Asile (HCR) we interviewed Denius Eluderne, nurse and coordinator of staff; Hyppolyte Jean Sylvain, controller; and Michel Alicia Jean, secretary. We were glad to hear how proud the people were to acknowledge the work that ADA, an NGO, did to establish and maintain this facility.
We also visited Ecole Fondamental d’Application Centre d’Appui Pedagogique (EFACAP) directed by Morinoa Guersony.
Without stopping for interviews we took pictures of : La Mairie d’Arnaud ; Commisariat d’Araud; Eglise de Dieu Lumie de Marcou; Ecole de Marcou et Grand College; Ecole Nationale de Sanri; Ecole Nationale de Suzette; College Fondamentale Mixte, Alliance Chretienne et Missionaire; Police Nationale – Commisariat de l’Asile; and the Tribunal de Paix, Etats civil de paix.
We came back earlier than usual – around 6 pm. Going from place to place and talking with different people takes a toll mostly after trying to sell them the idea and purpose of what we are trying to achieve with this ‘boten’. Making these stories come alive for the listeners and readers—allow us to be cognizant of their realities– that is what energizes us to keep going.
At supper, we commented that although a few individuals were hesitant to talk to us most people opened up to us and were somewhat glad someone cared to hear about them.

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
I could not sleep. Finally, I got up put some lotion on my legs. They started to burn, I had to wash them with some alcohol to remove the sting. I still did not feel like putting the fan on. I feel it affects my breathing and I get a sore throat when it remains on. After my morning prayers, I showered and went to the main house to drink coffee, ate breakfast and typed the itinerary of the previous days. Mr. B. came and we had to wait until Carlo got some medication from Sr. F. as he was not feeling well. We had planned to go to Morisseau – 4th section of l’Asile by going through Miragoane. When we went through Aquin, I saw many advertisements of Castor Funeral homes, Castor this, Castor that. I inquired. A young man answered me. He said most of these lands are owned by members of the Castor family. In my head I said, this descendant (me) of a Castor has nothing.
When we got to Eglise Sainte Rose de Lima, we talked to Fr. Jean Philippe Raymond, pastor of the church and in charge of l’Ecole Presbisterale de Morisseau. We had a good conversation. I reminded him of the effort of my parish, Incarnation in NY, providing APREM/CORA the ability to raise funds to support this church in a type of twinning process started with the previous pastor at Morisseau, Fr. Thelemaque. Fr. Raymond directed us to the Ecole Nationale de Morisseau where we met the surveillant responsible, Rodney Maçon. After the visit, he indicated to us the road to get back to Anse-a-Veau.
We went back to Anse-a-Veau through l’Asile. Although we had travelled only to one area, we got back to the house late evening.

 

 

 

Thursday, May 10, 2018
Last night I was tired and went to sleep but at 12:55 am something flew by the room, like someone trying to escape and the dogs began to bark. After this, I was unable to go back to sleep. I would not put the light on. Finally, at 7:45 at day break I went to the main house for coffee as usual. Lucienne, the cook, had made a natural juice of ‘korosòl’. This is the only juice that I drink when it is fresh and has no sugar added. Soursops are recommended for high blood pressure sufferers for its calming effect.
At 8:40, I purposely crossed over for the 8:30 mass, I had been told people were waiting. I was getting annoyed at the delay. Mass started at 9:07 am. Many classes of the different schools had students present. I imagined they would sing less stanzas and have a shorter homily. No! This disregard for punctuality riles me up. I have to get inside of myself to ask God’s peace so that I could let go of all feelings and to be present in this celebration of mass. After the numerous announcements, blessing ended at 10:40.
Danielle and I went for breakfast before we walked to Ka George to meet with Mr. Martin Henri who owns the boulangerie. Again, I want to say that what they call boulangerie is the brick oven, with another space for the table with the machine to roll the dough. This place is a family business which the people of the area recognize as necessary to carry the tradition. Mr. Martin provides the press, baking utensils, and the brick oven for a fee. He has four workers who prepare the dough for the people who want to do bread. The ‘prentè’ as the client is called must provide all the ingredients for the dough as well as the wood for the oven.
At EPSSA, Ecole Polytechnique Supérieure de St. Anne University founded in 2011, is currently being directed by Fr. Junior Vital. The same ground and classrooms are shared with College St. Anne, a type of junior high, directed by Fr. Johnson Charlotin.
We passed by the Ecole Nationale de l’Anse-a-Veau, then stopped at Lycee Nationale Boisrond Tonnere de l’Anse-a-Veau where the director Horace was absent; we talked to Elice Valcy, administrator, Thelusme Ojely Math Teacher, and Josue Toussaint, Security guard. The lycée had a quote painted on the top front wall: “Le But de l’instruction c’est d’en être devenu meilleur et plus sage.” After reading it, I realized that maybe I have forgotten French grammar. If I am right, there is something wrong, I hope people from the town who have some influence will take action to have it corrected or erased.
At the Tribunal de Première Instance de l’Anse-a-Veau, we talked to Juge de l’Instruction Maitre Gerson l’Esperance. He usually attends events sponsored by CORA. He recognized me.
We walked past the Calvaire, which we had given a new coat of paint last year. It will need another painting for the feast day or in 2019 for the biennial.
As we were still going toward the beach area, we stopped at Haitian Sports Foundation which had invited me last year to see a karate demonstration. Diegue Blendell showed us all the improvements and additional plans being implemented within their complex such as the afterschool, karate and computer classes, housing for the instructor, medical clinic….
We visited the hotel on the road to TiBarcadere. We had to go through a pathway and a tall gate to reach Hotel Franco Ville. The owners are Dimitry & Herve Francois who live in the US. On leaving this place, we wanted to see the road to the beach to find out if it was repaired and maintained as we had done in 2015. It started to drizzle, we asked Mr. Nicolas Poullard and his wife Bernadette Lumene if we could shelter from the rain in their house. He was overjoyed. He wanted someone from the personnel to run to buy something to offer us. We told him that we were ok and did not need any drinks. He insisted on giving us water. As Carlo was thirsty, he did take a small bag of water. After a few minutes of conversation, the rain stopped. We decided to return to the house instead of continuing to the beach. We got there to have lunch around 4 pm.
Filienne, one of the energy training participants, came to see Danielle. She gave us a rundown on how the training had been in Port-au-Prince and her expectation to use this acquired knowledge to create a possible enterprise to support herself as it is so difficult to find jobs in this area.
Later on, we had supper and we turned in early for the night.

 

 

 

Friday, May 11, 2018
Woke up around 2:45 am and had difficulty going back to sleep. I finally got up. I use the time to find out if I could put my smaller suitcase in the bigger one. Yay! I could but it made it feel heavier. I went for coffee after a brief time of prayer. I talked to Sr. Mirlande about the trade school. I explained the need to write a proposal to request money and support. I agreed to help her with this project. I prefer to pay for teachers rather than sponsor a student or two. The idea of creating a small business to obtain funds to support the project really appeals to me. Buying a freezer to do ice and ice cream for sale, this also could be used to teach the older students how to establish and run a small business.
Danielle and I discussed the scheduled of the rest of the stay as she would like to attend the funeral of a good family friend in Port-au-Prince. Claudette brought a sac filled with about 22 coconuts and a ‘rejim bannann’ (plantain) to thank me for my support of her education and experience in the school. She would like me to be her ‘godmother’ for the graduating class in July. I said I would not return to the country this summer. I agreed to pay for her the graduation fee requested by the university instead.
In the afternoon, we tested the car we rented from les Cayes. The other one was returned yesterday because it was too low and was not a 4-wheeler for the roads we need to be on. We decided to go to Ti Barcadere by car to see how far we could reach to appraise the conditions of the beach and road. We met with Me Ally Anousse and Engineer Francois Junior both agents of Institut Haitien de Statistique (IHFI) cartographie department des Nippes. I was so glad to meet them. I told them I like their CD published in 2005 which provided so much data about Haiti. I used the information gathered there on the Nippes to start this directory or NipBoten.
We came back to the house, when I remembered I wanted to visit Carl Monde, an agronomist, native of Anse-a-Veau. We had seen him arriving in town while going to the beach. We found him home and he was glad to talk to us. As it was dark, we were unable to visit his yard filled with fruit trees and leading to a view of the ocean. We said we would come back another time during daylight.
We walked in town in the dark with my little flashlight at times. My husband always asked if I took the time to look at the constellation in a clear night in the darkness where no artificial light interferes. Today I did. What a magnificent blue sky with all the stars blinking bright reminding us of the immensity of creation. Another reason why I am attracted to this mountainous coastal town.

Saturday, May 12, 2018
Last night I slept a little better, then Danielle called at 3:55 am to ask if the nun was still going to Port-au-Prince as there was no light or activity in the house. I told her to go in the dining room and wait because she will surely try to grab something to eat for the road. At 6, I started gathering my clothes and other items needed for the trip to St. Yves Church and the water fall. It seems it had rained lightly during the night and I was worried that the road might be more difficult to travel. After I had brushed my teeth, I heard Carlo at the external bathroom door. I quickly went into my room so he could use the facility. Because I was not yet ready, I decided to do my morning rituals of prayer and scripture reading of the day in the room. He took a while. After he left, I was ready to shower and get dressed. When I opened the faucet, there was no water. Thank goodness one of the last bucket was a quarter filled. I went to the main house to get coffee and some breakfast. Brought some casava and peanut butter for the driver and Carlo for breakfast and we got ready to get on the road. Sr. Mirlande eagerly came along with us because she had never visited there before.
When we arrived at St. Yves and St. Joachim Church, we interviewed Abbe Saintilus Jackson because the priest was absent. We parked the car in the parish yard and started on the path to the waterfall. An old lady saw us pass behind the church in front of a patch of burnt candle and called to us, “You did not pray before going to the waterfall”. She meant the ‘people’s altar’ to their deities. We did not answer and started the climb. It’s a 20 minutes’ walk on rough terrain of rock and 3 to 4 water passes and holes. Finally, it was such a delight to be in the water. Cold (not freezing) water giving you a massage all over. I prayed a lot while the water kneaded me. It felt so divine to be in that space standing in that pool of clear water. This year the area was kept clean. I noticed a man observing us later I found that his name was Blanc Fanel who is said to be the water/environment watcher for Sault du Baril. Whoever took that initiative, I commend them and hope it remains that way. They had a bench built for people to sit and a changing tent. We left the water area around noon. We heard the church bell ring while we were approaching it. When we got there, the church was packed and the pilgrims were singing ardently under the direction of a song leader. At first, we had difficulty finding the abbe, he was located so that he could open the gate of the parking lot for us. I gave him some money to give to the ‘water watcher’ for keeping the area clean. However, he said he was not aware of such a person being appointed by the church. I reiterated that this was an improvement from the last time I was here. Such arrangement should be maintained for the sake of those coming to the waterfall.
At 1 pm we were on the way to Anse-a-Veau, I did not want to waste another day, I decided to go to Rocher Laval to talk to Mrs. Nènè Mathurin (Christine). She was not home. A young man at an adjoining house said she was at someone’s house because of a death that had occurred this morning. He guided us in the direction of where she was. We walked for a while. Then, I asked the young man to send word to her that I wanted to talk to her. We waited a while until one lady who works at the Salesian sisters as a cook convince her to talk to us. We were told she is temperamental. We knew because she is a white woman, they could say anything about her because she has a different culture. She lives in her house alone with the people in adjacent huts around, caring for her bees and particularly about the care of the environment. She was reluctant to give us an interview as she said she had another appointment to attend on another mountain. She relented after I gave my ‘spiel’. She led the way back to her place walking like the goats unbothered by the landscape with open flip flops. She is a Belgian woman who has adopted Haiti as her country for the past 40 years+. She has not even gone to Port-au-Prince, the capital, for the past three years as she has become very territorial. Christine is eloquent and she is genuine in her love for what she is doing in the country. She’s been in the area more than 20 years. She is well versed in the history of the Nippes and its people. She produces her own honey without using pesticide in her environment and the trees she ensures are planted to nourish them and produce the fruits needed for her product. In her four apiaries she has many beehives with thousands of Italian bees. All her processes are done organically and manually. She distributes her products through “La Maison Vieux” under the label Ferme d’Experimentation et de Demonstration Apicole (FEDA S.A.). She gave us a sample of her honey and a Hydromel bottle called L’Ansavelaise. On the label of the bottle there is the following story:  Mead is the oldest known alcoholic beverage; it existed long before Noah invented wine. Many people regarded mead as a tonic, a kind of magic potion that gave them strength, invincibility, and immortality. Some traditions associate it an aphrodisiac. Young couples used to drink it after the wedding ceremony to promote procreation hence the term “honeymoon”.
When we got home we had supper and turned in early.

 

 

 

Sunday, May 13, 2018
I slept more this night then the past few days. I finally got out of bed at 6:30 am. Prayed then at 7:30 am went to the main house. In the dining room I had coffee then crossed over to the church. Mass started at 8:20 an improvement for today. The homily took some time. The announcements took forever. We left church at 10:45. I called Mr. B. and asked if he could come within 15 minutes for our outing. We prepared refreshment for Carlo and the driver. I took a second cup of coffee, cassava and peanut butter. We went to L’Etang Rey to meet the Petites Servantes de Jesus-Hostie du Coeur Immaculée de Marie et de Joseph under the leadership of Fr. Lionel Dheroux who founded this contemplative congregation in 1984. They have adoration 24 hours 7 days a week. He has 4 houses: 3 in Haiti and 1 in France. Here at ‘L’Etang Rey people can come for retreats. To support themselves they sew priests’ vestments for sale and some other religious items. The nuns also run an orphanage for 55 children. Although they do work to support themselves, that does not cover feeding and caring for the number of children. They conduct charismatic prayers.
We also visited the St. Raphael church of l’Etang Rey, the pastor is Rev. Emmanuel Richie who was absent. Sheila Jean refused to give an interview as she is not a person from the area. The church is under construction as it was affected by hurricane Matthew.
When we got back to the house, I had some tea and turn in early as we had to wake up early.

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 14, 2018
I woke up at 4 am with the alarm. Prayed and got ready. I waited until 4:45 making sure that the dogs had been moved to their quarters. Sr. Mirlande was ready and coffee had been brewed. We prepared some food for the road. At 5:10 am Mr. B. was not yet there. I called him to say that we were waiting at the gate. He arrived at 5:30 am. I asked him if he knew how to get to Meyer and if it was not too far from the main road of Jacmel. He said he knew and had talked with the cook from the house who was from there. We arrived in Meyer at 8 am after many inquiries, rocky tortuous road. The more I questioned the driver, the more persistent he became to get there. I wanted to visit the Daughters of Charity at Meyer. Sr. Iliana Monroig, and Sr. Halina Kowalska both were recently assigned to this area. They are responsible to provide clinic work in the dispensary, pharmacy, and pantry as well as pastoral care to the children and parishioners of L’Assumption church formerly Notre Dame du Bon Conseil. They do home visits in the vicinity. We went to see one of their client a handicapped young adult who lives with her grandmother. While at their place, a mother came to fill out a prescription for her child. We dropped by the National school and the presbyterial school. We interviewed them Sr. Iliana has four years in Haiti and Sr. Halena a few months. The latter worked in Cite Soleil before being reassigned here. They are both nurses. One of the sisters, Angela, was absent because of a death in the family. They told us that they would be travelling to Port-au-Prince while I would be at the Daughter’s House in Tabarre. They had given us breakfast when we had arrived and now as it was noon they offered us lunch and we ate together. We had decided that we would try to get to the main road as this is very difficult to drive here and more so in the dark. We left their place at 12:55 and started walking until we reached Twouin around 4:30 pm where we met Dr. Brea who came to see us from FONDWA where she works. We spent some time with her then Carlo and I decided we would take a motto to get to Carefour Dufort then continue to the National Highway. Danielle and her brother had not yet been picked up in Port-au-Prince. To reach us at this location, it would take an additional hour and half. The motor driver was very courteous and gentle. He understood that it was my first-time riding and my fears mostly without helmet and any other protection. He allowed me to hold him tight and Carlo sat behind me. I was so glad we made it down the hills facing big trucks on this narrow tortuous road. It had started to drizzle, I prayed it would not rain to make the road slippery.
On the national road on the side of the street to go in the direction to Anse-a-Veau, we found a store with a little wall in front of it so we could seat to wait until we were picked up. A red cross driver stopped to ask if he could give us a ride but he was going to Miragoane. We thanked him. While we were standing there, daylight was fading. A man dressed with the heavy peasant clothing, a little out of sort, with a machete in his hand approached us. He tried to shake hands with Carlo who gave him a fist bump, then he banged his forehead with Carlo’s head. He came to me embraced my head on the left cheek, then the right, then the left again. He mumbled something trying to hold my hand. I said calmly to him: “Thank you, brother”. As if he knew me and was giving me a friendship accolade. He looked at me. He backed off and walked away. I had no fear. I did not show any emotions of surprise or questioned his coming close to me. Did he mean me harm? Was he giving me a blessing? In that moment, we were two creatures of God. Whatever the intent of this encounter, only our Maker knows.
It was getting dark and we had no idea when the car would pick us up. My friends, Babette and Therese, were getting worried for us. We had been there since 5:15 pm, the car finally arrived at around 9 pm. I had to control myself not to say too much. The car was filled with items on the top and in the back. Sr. Mirlande was in the front where she squeezed for me to enter. Danielle, Carlo, and her brother Philip were in the back seat. We had a grueling day. We finally arrived at the house at 11:30 pm. The dogs were loose and the front gate was locked. Thank goodness, I had Sr. Mirlene’s number on my phone. We called her to have the guardian, put away the dogs and open the gate for us. It was so late I could not call my friends to tell them I had finally made it to the house. I ate something quickly, before going to take a shower. I felt so dirty and tired after walking for so long and waiting to be picked up.
Danielle came a few minutes later to share the room with me as her brother would be staying with Carlo in her old room. She was ready to sleep. I finished reading my prayers for the night before turning off the lamp.
I gave praise to the Triune God for this eventful day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
After such a tiring day yesterday, I woke up around 4 am coughing. Danielle was concerned. She thought it was because of the fan. I turned it toward her and tried to fall back to sleep. I finally woke up a 6 am. I prepared my bag for travelling then after getting dressed, I crossed over to get coffee and pray quietly. At 8 am, the others came in the dining room. We had breakfast and by 8:30 we drove on the road to Baradere through Petit Troup. We got there at 10:30 am. We went to Philip’s house, Danielle’s brother, where we got some coffee and pineapple.
Then we went through the town beginning with Ecole Jean Paul II ran by the Little Sisters of St.Therese (PSST). Sr. Jacqueline Louissaint founded the school in October 1971, she began working in August 2015 with 350 students in the school. They also work with the parishioners of the chapel adjacent to their building, St. Michel Archange de Laurent.
At the congregationalist high school founded in Oct 1999, College St Jean Baptiste, they were playing a soccer match. The director of the school, Fr. Jean Philippe Saint-Aubin, was there to cheer the teams playing, we learned that he is also the pastor of the parish St. Pierre on the square.
We met the nurse in charge of l’Hopital des Baraderes a Laurent, Sr. Marie Judith Prochete, who belongs to the congregation of the PSST. At the vocation school, Fr. John Maxwell another PSST, Sr. Denia Terazelien, is the principal. She supervises 28 students in the process of two years to learn to sew, cook, bake, crochet, floral art, and computer literacy.
We took pictures of several places such as Ecole National des Baraderes; Temple Adventiste du 7eme jour and school; Croix Rouge Haititenne Bureau Comite Local des Barraderes;
Police National Commissariat
At Lycée St. Pierre des Barradere, we saw La Douceur Wilson training a group of young men and women to march and chant in preparation of the May 18 flag day celebration. We visited the
Jarden des Adonis next to the river and met Mr. Dupner Clement, alias Franky who manages the bungalows, gardening of fruit trees, composting and other environmental issues for the town.
We travelled after lunch to Fond Tortue to meet Fr. Osias Dominique, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungry Church with seven chapels and a school.
When we got back to the house we interviewed Philippe Belizaire, our host, about the Bon Berger guildive enterprise, he is running in memory of his father and family, Gustave Kersaint.
For supper, Philip gave us chocolate and tea, I had a few spoons of confiture chadèk with bread. I retired to the room early. After prayer, I tried to sleep. The bed was squeaking every time I turned. I was afraid to bother Danielle sleeping in the room we shared on the other bed. I suffered a cramped leg, I had to get up in the middle of the night and stand to alleviate the pain.

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
As soon as I saw daylight, I moved and woke up Danielle. We talked for a few minutes. While, I fixed my bag to return to Anse-a-Veau. I showered and went to the dining room area to pray and wait for everyone else to get up. We got ready to drive to downtown next to the dock area. Then we walked to reach the canoe alongside the water. Billy, the conductor, talked to us a little and explained the different sites around the ocean and how to navigate with the tree trunks and sand that has stilted the ocean.
At Grand Boucan, we visited the presbyterial school, the church center, the bakery, the generator contributed by a town benefactor who according to the people was arrested and in an American jail. The pastor of Notre Dame Marie Auxiliatrice, Fr. Jean Eric. who had gone to Baradere to see a doctor was not feeling well when he landed. However, he came out to talk to us. When we approached the commissariat, there were two military men. One of them said he was in charge but he did not give us his name. He had us register our names in his books. He showed us the problems with the facility: lack of water, electricity, and space for the prisoners. We took some pictures. Not talking to us or giving his name nor taking pictures, I could understand it here because he might be afraid of retaliation from his superiors but for the other professionals we encounted, I don’t.
We stopped by a small school house/church and interestingly the woman, Mrs. Emilienne, who welcomed us is a deacon of the Ecole Evangelique de la Prophesie de Nipppes. She was so proud to tell us there is a council of 12 that governs with the pastor, Jonas Saintus.
Philippe was a great host, he had a goat killed for dinner. He also had sweet potatoes, plaintain, rice and beans and salad.
At the Centre de Sante de Grand Boucan, we talked to Vivianne Clairveau, chief nurse who explained how difficult it is for some patients to come to the center to get the service and they don’t have the means to go to them. They would need a boat as an ambulance.
Again, the road to return from Baradere to Anse-a-Veau was very rocky and twice the car swayed sideways. We wanted to go to Plaisance du Sud to visit St. Catherine de Sienne whose pastor is Emmanuel Delisca. In the conditions we saw the church, I did not realize right away that Matthew’s hurricane happened more than a year ago. As we were leaving, we saw across the street the Foundation Leopol Luc Guillaume and we asked to talk to the director, Guillaume Jocelyn. It was so striking to see the difference in appearance between these two places. The children playing tennis, the different busts of Leopol Guillaume strategically placed on the ground in comparison to the decrepit school and broken-down church structure across the street. They both call themselves Christians. In that situation would I have asked and the other would I have shared? We think of the things that separate us rather than the person of Jesus that unites us and His prayer for unity (John 17). Maybe both should reread 2 Corinthians 8.
We climbed close to very high cliffs. When we passed Arnaud going toward Brossard, the road recently leveled was wet and muddy. The car swooshed and slid. When we got in the town of Anse-a-Veau, the driver gave an ode to God. We, the passengers, were not the only ones who were scared at different parts on the journey.
We quickly got something to eat and I crossed over to my room. I didn’t take too long to fall asleep.

 

 

 

Thursday, May 17, 2018
The dog was active during the night. I wish I could have had a camera to watch what this dog was up to. It knocked itself several times on the room door. To keep my mind occupied, I prayed for the family and the project. At 6 am, I got out of bed and fixed the suitcase by wrapping each bottle and jar in clothes so they would not break during the travel. I prepared envelopes for each personnel and those who had made request for assistance. [Claudette’s graduation; Witterson, Mother’s Day in Petit Trou de Nippes; confirmation of mother and child in Cathedral]
The students at St. Joseph Travailleur had their May 18 celebration today as tomorrow school will be closed. I went next door to find out if Msgr. Merosne would be able to do the interview with us today. He had just arrived from Port-au-Prince and was resting. As I was going downtown, I saw Mr. B. He drove us to the mayor’s office, he was not there. We went to his house, we were told he was in Port-au-Prince. He later called me and said he would let me know as soon as he gets in town. I updated the notes about the trip with Danielle.
After lunch we went to the rectory to talk to Msgr. Merosne as the pastor of the Cathedral. When the interview was completed, we went downtown to talk to an entrepreneur, Wilkenson Degrammond, an Ansevelais businessman owner of Sky Restaurant which is located in the periphery of the square. We finally visited Mr. Monde’s yard which has a view on the ocean and many different types of fruit trees. We saw Jackson Morisseau and Mr. Marius, both involved in the RENESANSAVO project in 2014. We went back to the house to back up all the pictures and videos and put them on the external drive. In late afternoon, we stopped at the Saline to see the group of youngsters play a soccer match. Anse-a-Veau was playing against Petit Trou. The Ansea-a-veau town won 2-1 and the crowd went wild with joy (mostly the girls).
At 8:30 pm, I turned in to complete the packages for the personnel with their envelopes. I called home.

Friday, May 18, 2018
Woke up finally at 10 to 6 am after a night of hearing voices, doors opening and closing, dogs running around and barking.
I prayed in my room dressed and went to the main house by 7:45 am. The sisters were there. I had coffee and breakfast. I gave some of the personnel their bags, the others will be given by Sr. Flora in my name.
Danielle and I went to the church for the 8:30 mass. The officials came in the church at 9 am and we still waited for mass to begin. It started at 9:28 am. It seemed they were waiting because the bishop came to celebrate this “Te Deum”. His homily was very lengthy. Finally, he used Kreyòl. In all the readings and prayers, they had only use French. I thought this country, Haiti, was bilingual with 90% understanding kreyòl. Everything including announcements ended at 11:30 am. I hurried after mass to catch up with the mayor, Jean Marie Fouche, and the members of his administration to talk to us. We went to the house got some refreshments before going to the club for the conference. I made sure to go to the rectory to give Msgr. Merosne the funds for the confirmation candidates while he was available.
At the club, we took pictures and recorded the conference done by Ms. Manigat, former candidate for president, addressing the youth of Anse-a-Veau for about 2 hours. After her talk, I asked if she wanted to give an interview specifically for the Boten as a native of Miragoane. She seemed reluctant but I think she was tired and had to go to another event. As we were leaving, we saw Ketia, a former Renesansavo participant. She was coming to remove the decoration she had done in the room. We took an appointment for later. While we were having lunch, Msgr. Almonacy came to collect some of the pictures we had done for the churches, chapel, and the diocesan offices. After he left, we went to Ketia’s house to see her school, Institut Mixte des Etoiles. However, the house was under construction. I told her I had brought some gifts for her but given them away as she did not answer her phone and did not show up for the scheduled meeting. We went to Jacky’s restaurant and bar downtown as he has increased his business to include a hotel section beside the restaurant and meeting place (hall). After we interviewed Jacky the owner of Jacky’s Hotel-Bar and Restaurant, Mrs. Mirlande Hyppolite Manigat came out of her room. She finally agreed to talk to us as she is a native of Miragoane. This is the last one we did wrapping up our work sessions.
At the house, we finished the documentation before I completed packing. Talked to Natalie, prayed and turnrd off the light.

 

 

 

Saturday, May 19, 2018
The dogs started making noise around 3 am. I dozed on and off waiting for the time to get ready and complete packing. I went for coffee and prayer at the main house court yard. My favorite place. The sisters came around 7:45 helping me with the suitcases to the front yard. Some children were also gathering getting ready for an outing with Sr. Mirlene. Carlo, Danielle and I loaded the car and we left Anse-a-Veau at 8:15 am. Mr. B. stopped in the marche of Petite Riviere to buy some bananas. We stopped again at the Dous Macos (tricoclor fudge) house, then we continued on to Port-au-Prince. We slowed down the car at one point in order to give Carlo the chance to take a picture of cows being carried to the slaughter house. We discussed how other cultures treat the animals even though they are going to the butchery.
We were caught in traffic of cars, busses, and motorcycle weaving left, right, for hours. We dropped Danielle and Carlo after stopping by Alix’s house, a former childhood classmate, who is on the way to their place. He was happy to meet them and I was glad to have said hello. We tried to find Matthew 25 guest house located at Delma 33 but traffic was horrendous. I ask the driver to just drop me at my original destination because he was getting a little antsy. The Daughters of Charity were just going to go for lunch. After lunch, I sat on the gallery by the chapel. I realize I have special spots where I feel comfortable. I felt so dizzy, I mentioned it to sr. Natalie she suggested I go lie down after wetting by face with some cool water. The rest did me good. At 5:25 I went to seat by the chapel. I met two new sisters I had not seen before. We talked to Sr. Perpetue in Gonaive to send a thank you note for the money she had received from the Ladies of Charity recently. Sr. Martha and I talked for a while before I returned to my room. I called Pierre before going to sleep telling him where I was.
I could not sleep, so I started the novel I had brought to read on the plane.

Sunday, May 20, 2018
No dogs to wake me up. Thank God! The room with attached bathroom is spacious and comfortable. The lights were flickering. I turned them off and had to use my flashlight to read. I woke up at 5:30 am before the alarm. Daylight was filtering through the bedroom and bathroom windows. By 7:10 am, I was ready. I went to the main house to get some coffee. Breakfast was already laid out by the sister in charge for the day. Two of the sisters came and we crossed the boulevard of Carefour Fleurio to the Salesian Church, Our Lady of Miraculous Medal. I sat in the yard under a big tree. Here they started on time 7:35 for a 7:30 mass after the choir had practice a few refrains with the parishioners. The homily was rather long (25+ minutes). The priest tied the 1st reading and 2nd reading to instruct on our collective responsibility to not be afraid to do the right thing whatever the circumstances. To avoid the fears that paralyze us or create mistrust of one another. To forgive those who hurt us (but not to become door mats) in the spirit of building the body, the community right here on earth. They had 2 collections: one for the church and the other for the construction of the new church. He also appealed for the radio ‘Telesoley’. After mass I saw Sister Halina and Iliana who had come back from the funeral and where getting ready to go to Meyer.
A few girls came and one was consistently snapping selfies after selfies. They belong to the Marian group (JMV)working with Sr. Katia. They are preparing a fair to sell their products to raise some money to be able to travel possibly to meet the pope during youth world day in 2019.
At 2:30, Sonide came to talk about the education committee of the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative (VFHI) which is being organize for Lahoye. She is very enthusiastic and has a vision of what is requireded after doing some evaluation of the needs. She is planning to see how to improve the school’s quality, teacher training, and increase community participation and involvement for the area. Her endeavor will work in conjunction with the economic and agricultural development. She reminded me that we knew each other from a common friend, Vanessa, I had met in 2013. She introduced me to both her husband and her lovely daughter. I gave Sr. Ketia some money for the radio appeal and she will be giving it under her name. I am glad we had printed my boarding pass earlier in the day because it was late when I became free. Sr. Martha and I had a nice chat before I went to bed.
           

Monday, May 21, 2018
In the middle of the night, I could not breathe well. I felt so stuffed. I turned off the fan that is right over the bed. I prefer to be hot. I used some vicks and tried to fall back to sleep. The alarm clock woke me up at 5:30 am. It was still dark. I did not really want to put the lamp on. I waited a while. I was in very slow motion to brush my teeth, shower, and get dressed. I arrived at the chapel at 6:15 am. The mass had started, they were already at the offertory. I stayed outside on the gallery and watch as the daughters and the school children walked to get communion. At the end of mass, a girl walking out gave her back to the altar and tabernacle facing the outside door made the sign of the cross. I called her back and explained why we genuflect and do the sign of the cross facing the sanctuary. She seemed to be in a world of her own. I wanted to give myself a kick in the shin for noticing and saying something.
We went to breakfast and I prepared a sandwich for lunch as well. Then I borrowed a scale to weigh my suitcases. It was 22 kilo. So I decided to leave the larger suitcase and carried ‘only the smaller one that was about 20 kilo on the side and 19 standing up. I went back to the gallery to read and wait for the time for Sr. Martha to drive me to the airport. At 10:15 am, we left the daughter’s place. We had some traffic between carefour Rita and carefour departure. I checked the bag, it was 48.3 pounds. I realized I could have brought the bigger purple bag with me. Then I went through security. The agent wanted to see the make-up bag that was in the carry-on. I went by the Rhum Barbancourt stall, my friend was not there. I was told today was her day off.
I went directly to the jet blue security and lounge. That was a mistake because there is no bath room connected to that area. I ate my sandwich while waiting for departure. The plane was on time for boarding and departure. In flight, I was unable to get the movies to work. The stewardess moved me to enable me to see a movie. On the same row I was placed there was a doctor who works at l’Ile a Vache, we exchanged information.
In NY, everyone coming from Haiti with American passport or not had to go through the baggage screening—purses, carry on, and all suitcases.
I was not questioned for any of the items bought from the PFST and sisters. When I got home, I noticed my suitcase had been checked but there was no TSA slip this time. I had to walk all over the airport to find the yellow cabs. I really don’t like where the airport administration has the taxis’ stationed now.
When I got home my husband was waiting for me. I thank God for being home safe and sound as I had left 21 days before. I have seen and experienced different situations which made me more appreciative of my own personal life. Now I am entering the second phase of this project to write, produce all the videos, and create the website for the Boten. Praying that I will find the right people to bring it to fruition.

Responses received by email:
July 9 at 9:37 pm
Wow, wow, wow, Marika! The diaries of your recent trip to Haiti are such delightful reading. They made me salivate and wish I was there. Such intricate details masterfully described in fact put me right above your shoulders enjoying every minute of it. Thank you.
Leon R.

Jul‎ ‎10 at ‎12‎:‎20‎ ‎PM
Congrats Marie!
Enjoyed “traveling” with you on your journey. The hyperlinks make for easier reading. Fabulous work!
Hugs
Pat B.

July 11 at 6:01 PM
Thank you, Marie, Your beautiful pages on Haiti help me to relive some pages of my own history. I am a “nippoise” from Miragoane, and I had the privilege to visit all the places that you are describing there. May the Lord bless you and keep you safe on those wonderful journeys. Thank you again for what you are doing and planning to do. I wish one day, I can accompany you.
Monique C.

 

New York – Haiti July 12 to August 1, 2017

 

Wednesday, July 12
May Christ dwell in our hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of our life. “                                                          Ephesian 3:17

A new adventure begins for this planned biennial year. I was not anxious for my trip but at 1:30 am I was already awake before my 2 am alarm. I tried to be as quiet as possible about my morning coffee and prayer. After my shower, I called the cab. He showed within 5 minutes and thank goodness I was ready and the bags were already outside the front door.
The driver’s name was Shawn and he is from Jamaica. I really had to hold my tongue not to say anything about his fast driving and tailgating cars. He did the route from my house to the airport in 10 minutes. There were no outside counters in operation or agent on the curb. I had to push both suitcases and carry on inside.
A traveler on the line pointed out that my bags were not tagged, I had to go to the individual kiosk to print the tags and a new boarding pass although I had checked in online. I guess that is the reason that as soon as I placed my passport in the slot, I had a boarding pass and two tags were printed. After 5 minutes on the general line, an agent informed that passengers with tagged bags could go straight to the baggage check in. That was a quick process. The bags were one 48 pounds and the other 50.5 pounds. The clerk was very courteous and asked me to proceed to the security line. I had to place the tablet and the computer in a separate bin. The agents made me wait so that one of them could have the computer unwrapped and checked with a special device. It was easy enough to re-pact I put both back in the carry on. I walked to the assigned gate it was 3:30 am. I had time to read the scripture of the day and even take a nap. I feel relaxed and walked around for a little while. Most coffee shops and food stands did not open before 4:30 am. I finally found the food court near security at the entrance to buy a bottle of water. It felt a little eerie by the gate since it was still so dark outside.
After waiting for a while, I ate some of the fruits I had brought. On the plane, I ate my sandwich. As usual the airline offered water or juice and a bag of chips/popcorn. I was feeling tired and did not read nor could not watch a movie. Even though, I had the earphones, I was unable to hear over the engine sound of the plane. The movie seem interesting it was during the war. It seems like a family was struggling for survival under the Nazis occupation… The Zookeeper’s Wife…’
The flight was pretty uneventful. We got to Haiti on time. A lady I usually meet at the security airlines, Mrs. Crevecoeur, allowed me to go to a shorter line. She is always directing traffic to the immigration officers when I travel to Haiti. Someone in the back line said that was not fair, I agreed with him on principal but still took advantage in order to get ahead to handle the phone and internet before I met the driver who was waiting for me outside. There was a long line at the Digicel counter. Domingue, who usually helps me was finally available. He said the android Alcatel phone I brought with me was not equipped with GSM to provide the internet and phone services I needed. I had to use my old box, derisively called ‘ede m peze’.   Instead of paying $55 for both the internet and phone for a month, I paid $35 for 400mns. As I was leaving, the phone fell, since then it came on for a while and the signal turns off. I needed the phone to know where the driver was and now I could not call. I went back to the counter they place the sims on another phone it worked. The clerk put it back on my box, it worked for one phone call and turned off again. Just my luck!
The driver did not want to go with my suitcases to La Saline for fear of a robbery attack. He felt it was asking for trouble. We delivered the bags in La Plaine at Mr. L’s house. Then we drove to the Salesiennes’ school in La Saline. From the outside we would not know such buildings existed within. The different part of the compound seems well kept. Sr. Charitable came running out to welcome me. She was having a staff meeting before leaving for her new assignment. I was glad we found her on time to deliver the computer. She seem to be proud of the grades the students obtained. We chatted for a few minutes then we went to Avenue Christophe to wait for the ride to Anse-a-Veau. I went down Avenue Mayi past my mother’s old house to go to the Digicel store to have them look at the phone. It seems in Haiti that things degrade in some areas instead of improving. The houses are run down. The clean open space with manicured shrubs of Champs de Mars of my childhood is so different. It is now overpopulated with people, street vendors and traffic jams. There seems to be no more municipal management or local governance of public areas in a word inexistent urban planning.
At 4:30 the minibus came to bring us to Anse-a-Veau. I was happy to see Floreste as our driver as we had used him in the Renesansavo project before. The car was filled with suitcases and people. All along the ride, I was really nodding off. By 7:30 we were in Anse-a-Veau. We called Sr. Flora, the responsible of the house, to let her know we were on our way. She said she was in Port-au-Prince but Wedlene would be there to welcome me. I was so glad I was dropped first, I needed to use the restroom and stretch my legs. My suitcases would have to be dropped off later because they were below all the stuff that were being transported to town from Port-au-Prince.
I was served a supper of fried fish and plaintain. First cooked meal of the day. I requested her not to make three meals a day for me until the other guests arrived. I had asked her to sit with me to fill me in about what had happened here since my trip last year. At 9:30 pm I was in the room of the apartment outside unpacking. I was so glad I made it safely with no incident aside from the phone. The bathroom floor had been repaired and Sr. had curtains added. Thank goodness she has transformed these rooms into a welcoming apartment, she calls it la ‘petite maison’. I felt exhausted, I finally went to bed after calling home to say that I had arrived safely. I asked my husband to send a text to Omolabake to give her my new telephone number in Haiti. It rained hard with thunder and lightning throughout the night.
First night, I thank God I am here. Blessed are you, O Lord my God, maker and ruler of the universe. I am open to accomplishing what we had planned to do since New York.

Thursday, July 13
The alarm went off at 5:20 am. I stayed in bed a little longer. At 5:45, I felt it was time for me to get ready and go for coffee. I knew I was not at home, so I had to actually get dressed and ready before going to the main building’s dining room. After coffee, I walked out the gate to go to church at 6 am as I was told but the church was closed. I decided to walk around town as people were awakening. I went down the cathedral’s step toward the square. I pass by the only hotel—La Difference—in the direction of the water then turn left at the end of the block in the direction of the Frères old school house building. There were many stray dogs in the street. Although scrawny, they looked menacing and rabid to me. I saw a young boy down the road, I asked if they were wild. He answered they will not do you harm, they are roaming to probably find some food. I felt a little more confident to continue my stroll but was ready to scream if they approached too close. A few street vendors were setting up shop by the prison/commissariat. I decided to go all the way downtown by the ocean. I took the road to the steps and passed by Mr. L.’s house. I continued until the road stopped abruptly into the ocean bank. I saw a fisherman by a house on the side of the water. I asked him if he were not afraid the houses on that side would be washed away into the deep if there were a flood. He answered that is a risk we are willing to take. He explained that when they see the water rushing or a heavy storm is brewing, they take refuge on the side of the mountain. This is a risky and unpredictable way of living.
From within I felt an urge to express a desire to learn about the life of a fisherman in town as I am interested in community development. He said if I returned at 3 pm, he would be willing to go on a fishing run with me. I got a little scared but felt that I had an opportunity to learn about another sector of the population. I asked his name and promised that I would be back. I continued on the short cut path to the bottom of the church and as I got inside the mass was just beginning. I called this a God intervention moment. This was not part of the planned activities for this year’s biennial festival but a welcome learning experience.
After the liturgy, I went to the rectory to talk to Fr. Louis. On my way in I met a young American missionary, Nicole, who had come to do ministry. Fr. Louis understands the need for us to meet with him and the bishop to discuss what we had planned for this year and what we would still need to accomplish in preparation for the 2021 300th year anniversary. He promised to follow-up with the bishop and get back to me.
When I went back to the house I had a breakfast of fruits, avocado, ham, and spaghetti. I told Wedlene not to cook again for lunch time that I will eat the pasta then. I visited the house to see all the accommodations being planned for the guests. Then I walked to EPSA to meet with the custodian to prepare for the retreat day for the Renesansavo participants this upcoming Friday. It took me a little while to locate him and he seemed to be surprised. He had no idea that I was to use the rooms in the facility but he was willing to devote time with me to get them ready. I was taken aback by this. For the past six months, I have been communicating with the former priest in charge and talked to him two weeks ago on the phone about the planned day of July 14. Fr. Louis had given me names of people to contact to co-teach with me on Social Teaching of the Catholic Church. Fr. E. had not advised the custodian nor his replacement director about this upcoming event. I asked the custodian to give me access to the storage area to find out what I could use from what I had saved from the previous years. I found the first aid kit I had prepared using the SJU bags, the first year uniforms. I got the utensils, plates, cups, and towels that I took with me to the house.
On the way back on the pathway, I met Jean Marie, a participant, and asked him to let others from the group know about the day of retreat and also the change of venue. I told him I had put the sign with this information on the bulletin board of the school. At the house, I called Wedlene and Kettely and explained that we would be doing the retreat here. It would be easier for them to serve the food they were preparing for the day. I immediately went into action to get the room for presentation ready. I had brought with me table cloth, colorful napkins, plastic forks, knives, and decoration. I would set the tables as I had done for the catechists in NY. After lunch, I walked downtown to the shore to meet Jean Vanel by the fishermen’s hut. The boat had gone out earlier and we had to wait. I sat down with a group of various ages fishermen repairing their nets. I asked them about their lives and needs in the area. Jean Vanel’s father, Jean Claude, and another man, Alex, who was described as the co-director of the fisherman’s association were giving their opinion and the lack of cooperation between the different entities in the town, the religious and civil authorities. I shared with them the purpose of Renesansavo and was glad to be talking to them.   After this enlightening conversation, I went to Mr. Labissiere’s house further down the road. I relayed my talk with the fishermen and how we could integrate them in the plan for the biennial festival schedule. They confided that they might have to cancel their cultural day at the beach with the sale of their signature food of vegetable and all types of sea products (bouillon maren). Would CORA be able to loan them the funds for this event? He was very receptive of this idea.   He too felt the movement to be open to the Spirit’s directive of inclusiveness in areas we had not planned. Mrs. Leblanc came to drop some items at his house and she drove me back uptown to the house. I prepared a few items for the next day. Feeling exhausted after a jam-packed day of activities, I went to bed.

Friday, July 14
I had a fitful night. There was a quick rain with thunder and lightning very early in the morning. After coffee, I cleaned the folding tables with seats that lined the outside gallery. Then I set the tables once and for all for lunch. It looked pretty colorful. I hoped there would be no wind to disturb the tables. I attended mass and quickly afterwards fixed the classroom with the chairs in a circle as I usually do.
I had prayed months before coming here for the participants and the town. I prayed quickly: “Lord don’t let my shortcomings be an impediment to my willingness to be used to make an impact for your Glory.”
There was no electricity in that room, I could not show the power point on ‘systemic change’ I had prepared and translated from the Vincentian site. I heard some participants come and leave while I was setting up. At 8:40 I sat in the front gallery.   Bechie saw me and she came to help me with the name badges and raffle tickets to be given out. I had three prizes in US #1-$15, #2-$10, #3-$5. The people who came after 11:00 am would not be included in this raffle. It is an incentive for participation and those who came on time. By 9:30 am I had chocolate and bread served and encouraged conversation among those who were present. At 9:45 am we moved to the classroom, sang our invocation song: “Toujou Pare Pou Fè sa ki Bon” (always ready to do what is good). We prayed and Witterson did the deep breathing exercise. The few new members who came introduced themselves and mentioned which group had invited them. Mr. Jean Renel Jean-Baptiste, associate director of Caritas, had come in while we were praying. I had him introduce himself and give an overview of his responsibility in the diocese. I asked the participants what they knew about the word ‘collaboration’. We were running late on the agenda, I did not do the exercised we had done in Rome. I explained the word and the Vincentian ideal of Collaboration in their context. I divided them into small group where I included an individual from each different team. They had 15 minutes to discuss how they could apply this concept in their Renesansavo community development projects. After they all returned to the large group and shared in concrete ways how their team would work with another and learn from each other to be more successful both individually and collectively.
After a few minutes for a break, we discussed systemic change. What do they think this means? I gave the example of the gospel passage of the Good Samaritan. I elicited the meaning from them. I asked them to think of their projects and discover what would be the root problems in accomplishing them. What kind of attitude would each person need to achieve the changes necessary to reverse some of the problems which cause dire situations? The need to find common ground, make ourselves available through listening and sharing of hopes, dreams, concerns, frustrations so that we can journey together allowing ourselves to influence each other for mutual growth.
Afterwards, we went to the lunch area to view Myriam’s video. It was clear but we did not have high enough volume, we could not hear in the open space. I had the participants talk among themselves while we were waiting for lunch. We had vegetable salad, shredded cabbage and carrots, fried chicken, plaintain, rice and beans. For drinks I served cokes, sprite, 7 up, and water. After lunch we went over the festival agenda for individuals and teams to decide where they would like to contribute their services. We proceeded to do the raffle. The 3rd price was won by a newcomer, the second prize by Milio, and the 1st prize by Claudette. Well done. The winners of 2nd and 1st prizes are hard workers, I am glad for them. While we were in the afternoon session, a participant who came during lunch wanted to know if the participants were going to receive a stipend. I said no because I provided breakfast and lunch and we also had a raffle. He mentioned the he had “inconvenienced” himself and had left another event to be here and he had spent 50 gdes for transportation. I said I am sorry you had to spend that money. We will defray it for you ask Mr. Labissiere to give it to you when he returns to the room. Another participant got angry that I said to see someone else to give him the money. I said it is because Mr. Labissiere handles the money for the project. The one who had mentioned money said I don’t want people to talk for me. This caused some friction. I said let us move on to the next item on the agenda. I felt shocked and sad for both these participants. One feeling he was entitled to compensation, the other for his remonstrance that I was demeaning a person by offering to give that money back to him. A few minutes later, the person who had requested transportation money came to me and asked for my telephone number. I gave it to him and said softly to him while someone else was talking that I am sorry if I had said something to offend him but I understood that he does not work and this was a sacrifice. Then he left. He had not done 2 hours with us.
After everyone had left, the personnel and I put everything away. I chatted with them for a few minutes to get their evaluation of the service they had provided for the day. Then I picked up some cherries in the yard to bring to the fisherman who wanted some. Kettely and I walked to his house to deliver the bag of fruits. I met his wife, sister, mom, and kids.
Then I continued to Labissiere’s house a few house from Jean Vanel’s but on the other side of the road (mountain side). Some youngsters had come to inventory the barrels and priced some of the items we had shipped to prepare for the flea market. Each of them had prepared a personal bag with items they feel they would want to buy for themselves. There were many items that were not slated for the flea market, they had put them away for purchase. I had to let them know that the toys were for the preschool, the kitchen items for the cooking classes, the sewing materials for the sewing classes, some of the sheets were to be used to welcome our visitors.
After I was in bed, I realized I had dropped an envelope with $50 that I had prepared for the speaker who had refused it and given back to us as well as the USB with CORA’s files that were in my pants pocket. Kettely, had picked up the USB. She thought it was part of the barrels stuff. She returned it to me. Then I had to call Mr. Labissiere to tell him that the enveloped with the money was somewhere in his house.
What a day. Anticipation, hard work, conflict, teaching, learning, lost, sharing—a day filled with highs and lows. Question: am I where I am supposed to be?

Saturday, July 15 I waited in bed until 6 am. Then got ready to go to mass. Fr. Louis was the celebrant today. After mass, he said the laud with the few people in attendance. We chatted for a few minutes. I wanted to ask for his participation for the festival. I updated him on the fishermen’s contact. He too had reached out to them. They attend the 5 pm mass on Sundays that is scheduled just for them. I borrowed a computer from Wedlene to type the letter to the MPCE to start the process of recognition of CORA in Haiti. I wanted to update the festival schedule as well. I went to Fr. Louis next door to print the letter so that I could give it to Joanne. While we were there Fr. Louis showed us the constructions he is doing in the Carine Bastien’s Hall, the kitchen, and the apartments for ministry families. At the house, Alex of St Isidio, came to talk to me about the original plan we had for La Salle Paroisiale. I explained my view about the space. I don’t believe people should be in the mud, especially the children. We had that space cleaned out when we started the project in 2014. It improved slightly — animals are not roaming as much and the weeds and garbage are more in control. As a facility of the church, it should be clean to show our concern for human dignity. Currently, a group of youth sell food and beverage there while playing loud music. There should be a fence, the main cracked wall repaired, the tin roof overhauled and the facility should have a nice fresh coat of paint. First world, third world, the Haiti of my childhood use to pride itself for cleanliness. Organization wanting to work in Haiti should budget money for managing garbage (jere fatra), maintenance of facilities besides doing the work they intend to do. Jean Vanel called for me to come for the boat ride around 4 pm. Mr. Labissiere and I waited about an hour before the boat came back. Wedlene had come with me too. Last year when we wanted to go to I’ile a Vache, she was crying and throwing a tantrum in fear of the boat and deep water. Now she was serene and collected and ready to enjoy this ride over the ocean. We went into deep see. A fisherman went under water to see about the catch of the day. He found two medium size fish. We went to Bichotte and stop at another alcove to pick up some of the rocks. The fishermen gave Wedlene the fish as a gift.

Mr. Batraville dropped us at the house. He had brought the phone his daughter had bought for me. I could not use the internet as she had use a new gmail account she had created for that purpose. Mrs. Leblanc’s son help me get the hotspot to use with my NY phone. The CIMS gave me problem on and off on my box I had to use someone else’s. In the evening, it poured again a lot with lightning and thunder.

Sunday, July 16
I woke up early but stayed in bed and prayed quietly there. This is quite a departure from my usual routine at home. I go downstairs in the kitchen to pray and go over the readings and commentary from Word Among Us and the Magnificat. I also had to use a pitcher to pour the water over me to shower. This is a great reminder how grateful I am for these commodities I take for granted in the States. I went to the dining room for coffee and a small toasted bread prepared by the cook. I am happy for the service but I like preparing for myself certain things and not be dependent completely on the help.
At 8 o’clock I went next door for the mass. By 8:15 I realized it would not begin before 8:30 or 9 am. I went to the room to get my Word Among Us which had an article on the Eucharist. There were only a handful of people in the church. The priest began mass a little after 9 am. The generator was not working and they had to find alternative to provide sound in this cathedral. Msgr. Louis invited parents seeking baptism for their children and the RCIA candidates to remain after mass for a short meeting. I felt the urge to ask him to let me do a presentation to the parents seeking baptism for their children. He accepted and told me to come back on Monday afternoon for that.
At the house, I used the hotspot from the new phone to face time my daughter from my Ipad. Milio, one of the participants in the program, came to ask about information for his mother’s house. He wanted to know if she would qualify to get assistance as he is not working and there were several problems with her place. I did not know the criteria for the people involved in this process. The plumber also came to give me an estimate for the repairs to be done in the bathroom. I could not agree to anything as Sister must approve any work to be done. Floreste, the driver, came to deliver the barrel from Florida prepared by Evelyne with sewing materials for the scouts.
I wanted to clean the kitchen in preparation of the arrival of our guests. I asked for cleaning products such as Ajax, the personnel did not know what that was. While we were planning to have supper the nuns came from Port-au-Prince.—Sisters Flora and Mirlene. We had a beautiful welcome and talked for a while. Sr, Flora brought a grilled closet to store the vegetables and other food items to prevent access to rodents. By 8 pm there was a strong wind blowing, I ran around the gallery to anchor down and put away any item that could fly away. The rain began I rushed to the apartment outside before it poured down so heavily with winds howling. All the curtains and rods had come down in the adjoining room. While talking on the phone with Milio to come for a day to give us a hand to get the place ready for the guests, the rod and curtain above my bed hit me in the head. At first, I got really scared before I knew what it was. I read a little using the lantern then decided to sleep and conserve energy.

Monday, July 17
I woke up in the middle of the night thinking if we were on track of making a difference. It was no doubt but how and what to do to achieve the goal of implanting change and improvement to the town. But are the young people really committed to act? Do they fill empowered to do so? If these ideas are from God, I should just follow what comes.
“For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth”. Is 55:10-11
At 5:30 am, I decided to pray and read scriptures of the day with my books. As it was still dark, I used my little flashlight. I felt at peace and it seems that I dozed off until 6:30. I got out of bed, dressed, and went to the main house. I met the sisters and we prayed the Laude. (I had left my breviary in the room) I just listened and participated softly in known hymns or prayers. We had breakfast of boiled plantains and liver in sauce, coffee.
Milio and his cousin came today to move the benches, and other stuff from the gallery to the school area. By 11 am it seems we had been working for a whole day. I gave them a stipend as they worked hard to clear everything from the living area to the school area.
I opened the barrel from Florida and sorted them—sewing materials, food, kitchen and flea market items. We gathered a lot for the sewing and kitchen classes. I sure hope these projects would materializes soon. The soccer group telephoned thinking we had brought something for them. Labissiere gave the fishermen the gas money and the loan, we will have only to pay the fare and buy the bouillon.
The scout, Mr. Paul Gustin, came to pick-up the cloth for the scout uniforms as well as the buttons, zippers, and threads. He asked if we could give him money to buy the green cloth for the kerchief. He would also need the emblem.
An old man, Mr. Monfort Dupre, came to ask the sisters for assistance. His wife had died and his son had recently passed away. He has no job. The nun prepared a bag of rice for him. I gave him a few gourdes for transportation. He came from so far to get so little help. In Haiti there is no structure to take care of the elderly (no social security, no Medicaid, no organized private charity for elderly care even if they worked all their lives).
I visited the two young ladies doing the flea market on the square. They were packing the merchandize. I helped them carry it back to Mr. L. house as they had to use two motor cycles to carry the bags. Going back to the house I use the pathway up the mountain called Nan Kwa to go up town. Since hurricane Matthew, it seemed worse to climb, there is a crater on its side, and the path is filled with weed and fallen rock. I climbed anyway. I saw a man who was trying to go down. When I got to the town I saw a group of people sitting around. I asked what happened. They said the mayor is not doing anything to improve this needed pathway to shorten our travels from uptown to downtown. I wanted to asked then “what are you doing?”. I immediately realize the power of organizing is not an easy task when you have no means or tools.
I tried to use the new purchased BLU phone. However, I still have a lot to learn to use it properly. I started to read the document given to me by Jackson about 2021 agenda for Anse-à-Veau. I felt so busy I don’t remember much of the day. Because of the novena to St. Anne, mass prayers were done at 7:30 pm. After church, I felt so sleepy, I went to bed early.

Tuesday, July 18
Having no mass in the morning, I prayed in my room before going for coffee. The sisters had almost finished with their morning prayers. Jackson came early, he wanted to know what was the budget for the Thursday opening event on the square. I said we did not have one except the materials we had bought such as the balls and the tools. I asked if he could propose one as he is the one coordinating these activities. After breakfast, I helped Sr. Mirlene to clean and fix the rooms for the guests. Jackson came back with the librarian with a budget of $525 US to rent a sound systems, give refreshments to the participating groups, then give each group an allocation for presenting. I said it was too much money. He also had a list he said of the people to distribute the balls to.
Fr. Enel came to visit and I explained my disappointment that the custodian was not made aware that we were going to have a retreat day at EPSA on the 14th. I had to change the venue the last minute giving me a small span of time to clean and make preparation for that day. He apologized for not following up with Fr. Junior and the custodian.
After the cleaning of the 3 bedrooms and the 2 bathrooms, we fixed the beds until 5 pm. Sr. Mirlene and I change shirts, got our hats to go to the hospital to find out if everything was set for the medical fair. Then we planned to go to Ti Barcadere to see the state of the beach.
We met the Cubans stationed at the hospital who could not communicate with us in Kreyòl nor in English with me. They called a Haitian Dr., Gerald, for us. He was very courteous but he said he and the crew had no idea of what we were talking about neither did the Cubans although I told him the administrator was aware of this. Dr. Gerald called Dr. Lamarre, the medical coordinator who gave me an appointment for the next day at 9 am. Thank goodness I had gone to check with the center, I had assumed that everything was taken care of through the Haiti committee.
Sr. Mirlene and I continued to the beach area. The road was worst then we had known it two years ago. It had a big rut. No car or moto could go this way. Beside these holes, there were some pile of garbage in some areas and lots of weeds. There were more benches than when we had put in 2015. The shore is still rocky and the side basin of water were filled with garbage. I really would not bring any guests here unless an effort is made to have it cleaned. Sr. Mirlene and I had to run back as it was getting time for evening mass and prayers. Fr. Jean Julien Almonacy was the celebrant. As a preacher he walked the isle and tried to get in people’s face with his messages. He conducted the novena and adoration time. After church, I noticed that Omolabake had tried to communicate with me. I called Mr. L. to agree on the expenses for the opening of the festival and the hospital situation. I read and prayed. I had difficulty sleeping as I learned there was a man among the four guest students. I had only prepared one room for them. I had to reorganize within the five rooms I had. Sr. Flora also had two guests coming at the same time.

Wednesday, July 19
I felt I had hardly slept. After prayer and getting dressed , I could not wait any longer to get some coffee. I needed to do some calls before going to the meeting. I called Jackson to tell him how much we could afford and I wrote the amount on the original proposal. I called the historical site team to clear/clean the calvaire, the round about, and remove the weeds and paint them before St. Anne’s feast or tomorrow if available. The paint would be arriving from Port-au-Prince. I already had the working gloves for them.   I arrived at the hospital at 9:05 am. Dr. Gerald told me the director was on his way, he encountered some delays. I continued to make calls that needed to be made while waiting. When Dr. Lamarre arrived, we went to his office. While there, the representative of CORA Haiti, Me Edeve, came. I had called him to remind him of this meeting. He thought it was for 10 not 9. We agreed the fair ‘klinik mobil’ would be for two days on Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 am to 4 pm. In this the doctor was in agreement with Ms. Omolabake, the team leader from the US. He said that the hospital request 25 gdes (about 40 cents) per patient. Omolabake was adamant, she has done other missions in Nigeria and Haiti. She did not want the patient charged any fees. The doctor explained that they needed water for the hospital and this is a way to get it with the money. I promised that CORA would pay the 3,000 gallon water truck to bring the water. Omolabake wanted two doctors, a nurse, and an assistant nurse beside the two assistants from the university, the Dr. from Jacmel, and our two English/Kreyòl translators. I mentioned that the Doctors, the nurse, and assistant would get a stipend. While in his office, he got an emergency call to manage the accident of two motorcycles about 4 to 6 individuals critically wounded, one with serious head trauma. He had to go place the staff on alert for the emergency mostly the Cubans.
After we left the hospital, Edeve and I went to the mayor’s office. He was not there but his director called him and he came to meet me. I talked about the plans we had for the upcoming week, the complaints I had heard about certain issues. He also shared some of his ideas for the town and its environment. I hope they come to fruition. He mentioned how he is trying to attend all the meetings pertaining to funding and political decisions about administration of towns. He was called several times on the phone. After 15 minutes we left. He is my husband’s cousin. I got to the place called Sky by the Degrammond. Ken said why is CORA here only around St. Anne’s feast day. Where is the work to be done by the people? I wondered the same thing. Should I be content in planting only the seed? How do I let go and let God act. These young people were questioning the attitude of the older people in town. Some believed in the mayor some were not on his camp.
I walked around town a bit then went to the house. The ideal is whatever is being taught or planned, maintenance must be included. Made a few call to motivate the young people to participate in the activities. Updated the scheduled agenda to give to Fr. Louis for announcements.
On my way to church, Jackson came to talk to me to follow-up on his planning for the Thursday opening event. He said that he knew I blamed him for not follow-up of Renesansavo as he is the leader of the group. He wanted to know the source of funding for this project. He would like us to be more transparent in our planning and budgeting efforts. I said he would be welcome and I would show him the financial sheets for this program. We have no government or foundation grant. Fr. Enel was there but it was late and he needed to return to his parish in Fonds-des-Negres. At mass, Fr. Louis made the announcement for CORA.

Thursday, July 20
I got up early to consolidate my suitcase and my move from this room leaving it for the male guest. I like my space here that’s why I had contributed to the completion of the work. A welcoming area should be beneficial for both the guests and the host. Having electricity and running water when the tank is filled are essential commodities for our guests. I got the balls, pumps, and gloves ready to be delivered to the groups. I tried to call Anelio to borrow the tools for doing the clean-up but he did not answer. I went to the rectory to get the priests to find people to do the divine mercy chant to go to town. I asked some of the ladies cleaning the church to come and sing with us later. Sr. Mirlene did a tape for me singing the chaplet of Divine Mercy. The ladies liked the tune and wording and sang it with great joy. Jackson came to pick up the soccer balls. I showed him the Renesansavo financial records as well as CORA’s annual report in the fund raising journal. I made an effort to continue reading the document, Agenda 21, Jackson gave me the plans to transform the town. By 4:30 I went to the quarters to get ready to go the church. My daughter is one month older then Sr. Mirlene and I noticed some similarities in their attitudes. She does not show when she is not happy about a situation, she stalls her activities. Different ways of acting when facing directives. I brought the rosaries that were given to me by Marie Therese G. to be distributed to the people who would participate in reciting or singing the chaplet of Divine Mercy with us.   There were several members of a choir ready to practice for today’s mass. We tried to teach and practice the chaplet with them, they hardly wanted to participate. The young girls who were to go on the three different roads singing and to join us on the square did not show up. At 5:30 I decided to do the chaplet asking for mercy right here, right now with those who wanted. I had to coax some people in the back again waiting to practice with their group until the members of their group showed up. Those who came forward got a rosary then we sang the chaplet in French and in Kreyol. Both Sr. Mirlene and Abstinade led the prayer. After we were done in church, I walked to the square where the opening event was to be held. There were a few people around. As the evening progressed, a few more people strolled in. Jean Marie was the MC for the evening. He was enthusiastic and the speakers were LOUD. He made the public respond after each performance. Using the term: pla w, pla aw we had experience Carole and I at another show. The librarian and her dance group performed first, then there were the karate camp that make a demonstration in formation. I lost my phone. I could not locate it. It was announced. When they described how a blu box which had its cover being held with a rubber band, the young people laughed and said we don’t need to waste time looking for that. The phone was not mine and my sims with quite an amount of minutes was in it. I was so glad to have found it by the house when I returned there. The soccer balls were not distributed, the Depozouti was not announced and I had to rush away with these item and the t-Shirts to wait for Mr. Labissiere outside the square and the gyrating crowd. The show on the square lasted about 2 hours. I had to insist three times before the medical fair was announced.
When I got to the house, I called home. I just wanted to hear the familiar voice of my loved ones. I refused questions to enter my mind. I did not feel that was such a positive event! Things happened that were not necessarily planned or desired. I felt disappointed to have paid for an event which did not bring the effect and result desired.
I could hear my first son’s voice say: “how do you feel?” For months the NY committee and I had planned, talked, and discussed this and the outcome was just unproductive. The image that came to mind was: you see the need for a nice pot, you polish it, you describe its purpose and as you hand it over to the person to handle it on the other end it is dropped and it falls shattering to pieces.

Friday, July 21
I got ready and went to the gallery to wait for the Renesansavo people in order to clean and paint the Calvaire and roundabout. I waited for a while to find the tools necessary. I went to the church that was being painted and asked if the workers had any paint roller handle or old brushes. [For the first world people, there is no 99c store or small hardware store in town.]
Jeff and Tiloup, the carpenter and plumber working with the church, were there. I asked if they could spare one or two young people working in the church to volunteer to help in the painting we had to do as the Calvaire is a historical church property. By mid-morning, about eight youngsters showed up. I asked Claudette, the leader of the team, to organize the crew and show them the work to be done. I headed to EPSA looking for the custodian of the university to get the machetes we had left with him in the previous years. Along the way I borrowed two brooms. Everyone started cutting away the weeds around the benches, and we organized the sweeping, and scraping before the painting. The youngsters decided to change the colors of the borders as they had painted them white by mistake. Fortunately, we found a place that had some paint for sale. We got blue. They repainted the calvaire white and blue. The iron benches were given a fresh coat of oil base green. I asked some members of the team to go finish the roundabout in bright yellow so that cars can notice it. We really need some reflectors or fluorescent light because there is no light in that area at night. I had one of the members get them water as it was getting hot. Then I walked back and forth getting some other cold sodas as they requested. I started with 8 youngsters. When they came to me for some type of compensation there were about 12. I offered them 50 gourdes each for their volunteering efforts. (a soda is about half that). They snubbed me and said they did not want anything and left a little angry. Originally, I wanted to give them each $1us but someone had told me where are they going to exchange it. I told Jeff about it. He said that is OK I just spent about $7 us to give them drinks. I told him I had done so already. The oldest of the group came back to me and said give me $1 for each person but we were 12. I gave $20us to cover their request and pay what Jeff had said he had spent. I have to remember that the word VOLUNTEER does not exist in their vocabulary. They returned the rest of the paint without cover and the brushes unwashed. Some of the Renesansavo participants came to collect their transportation money requested as promised. Jackson came to ask me what I had agreed to pay for last night event although he was not there. I told him. He argued I had promised more. If there are no jobs, the people are on survival mode. Everything is SHOW ME THE MONEY.
This is what I need to keep in mind: “What do you possess that you have not received.” 1 cor 4:7
Sister has a large meeting room in the back as part of the school. Workers were preparing the room to welcome the president of Haiti who had to come and meet some leaders of the area. The room was packed with chairs some broken and of all type. I told the workers, if the president is coming, we should remove broken chairs or the folding chairs without back rests. Beside the center aisle there should be one on each side of the room for ease of access and traffic. I arranged some chairs next to the table were the president was to sit in a circle. I found out there was a small storage room right behind him. I had them clear a passage in there in case there would be a need to evacuate quickly. I tried to ensure there would be exits also in the back for emergency access.
I go do some activities when I return all the chairs are placed back in the room, now there were chairs all along the table where the president is to seat with the chairs facing the public. And the escape door is blocked by chairs. Security and occupancy are words I am aware of due to the number of events we organized and demonstrations I participated in the US. But here these terms mean absolutely nothing. The cars are overloaded. The boys laughed at me in the church because I cautioned them about danger when they were climbing to the roof with no rope for safety—no safety belt, no helmet… Bondye Bon! God is GOOD.
I went to church late. I really felt I was a world apart from where the people are. My way of seeing has been warped/skewed. My reality is different than theirs. How can I plan or want to act if we are so far apart? Who has to change? I feel that I am in the twilight zone!

Saturday, July 22
I woke up cleaned the room, the bathroom, and showered and went for coffee. The president of Haiti was supposed to be at the Salesians’ conference room around 10 am. At 8:30 am one of the authorities wanted the room to have less seats because they did not expect 250 people for the 250 chairs. I gave him a hand although I was still annoyed from what was done yesterday. Labissiere came to pick me up to go to Brossard although I thought it was supposed to be 10. I gave him the few items I had for the Petits Frères and told him I would not be going anymore. I planned to go look at the 6 weddings that were planned to be done at 12 noon.
Sr. Mirlene and I finished setting up and cleaning the room for our guests. I went to EPSA to borrow the bucket with a faucet to place in the kitchen. I had to clean it thoroughly. While doing that, I heard that the president was not coming anymore because his helicopters had some mechanical failure. I had to go get the fans we had lent from the rooms to put back where they belong. I helped Sr. finalize a letter then the young men came back to get the rest of the paint supposedly to finish the job they started yesterday.
At 12:15 I walked over to the church and waited for the couples to arrive. At 1:50 I went back to the house to get lunch. The wedding had not yet started. Maddie, a photographer on mission in Haiti, was taking pictures. She has been in the country for the past 2 weeks at the Jean Paul II Center.
At 4 pm I called to find out if Danielle and Carlo were already picked up and on their way to the airport to pick up Omolabake and Leah who were supposed to be there at 3:30 pm. They were still waiting to be picked up. I was mad. This was a simple instruction. Pick Carlo and Danielle at 3 pm and be at the airport by 3:30 pm. Omolabake had arrived and there was no one as planned to welcome her. I called Sr. Martha in Tabarre to try to appease the guests for me. I lost all my telephone minutes while trying to get the driver to be at the airport. When this airport drama was unfolding, I was supposed to be visiting a Karate school on the road to TiBarcadere. I had to apologize that I could not give them my full attention in trying to solve this crisis. They wanted to show me their future plan for expansion in helping youngsters not only in sport but in academic as well.
A porter at the airport was calling me and talking to Omolabake until they were picked up an hour and half later. Mr. Batraville is usually on time I could not understand of all days this lateness from him. The time was given to Mr. Labissiere months ahead and reiterated days before. These are the type of things that make me cringe. Jackson came to give me a copy of the receipt for Thursday event. I waited on the gallery for the visitors to come. I saw a car, I started to clap welcome, welcome but it was not them. It was Kim and Catherine arriving as Sisters guests. My guests finally arrived around 9 pm. I could hardly talked to Mr. Batraville, I was still embarrassed for not being there on time to welcome them. I introduced them to the house. Leah’s suitcase was locked and she could not find the key. Johanne came to say hello and helped Carlo and Labissiere break the lock open for her. Omolabake complained about the roads but she felt better being here. She showered in my quarters as the house work was not completed. We chatted for a while and ate the bouillon. During the night the electricity went off. This is the first time that happened since I have been here. How unfortunate, the first night that our guests had come. An animal was groaning in the night causing the dogs to bark and howl. Praise be to God they are safely here. Finally, I slept in the morning.

Sunday, July 23
I woke up at 6 am finally got dressed and went for coffee. The personnel was getting ready for all of us for breakfast. We had 6 people overnight beside me and the two sisters. At 8:15 I went to church, there was no one there. I went back and forth to let the people know that the ceremony had not yet started. All the guests came and a few minutes later the mass started. I was enjoying the homily but I had to lead two of my guests to the house. They are not Catholic and do not understand the language being they are Nigerian Americans. After mass, I had breakfast and offered my guests to walk around town with them. We stopped at the hospital and talked to Dr. Gerald. We went downtown and talked to the head fisherman. We also stopped at Labissiere’s house. There I saw the driver and said how sorry I was for being mad for his lateness in picking up our guests. That is where Dr. Elizabeth Brea from FONDWA met us. We continued to Mr. Larionne’s House. Dr. Brea asked him where her grandparents’ lived. He showed her the location and where they moved after hurricane Hazel destroyed their home. When we got home after the walk it was 2:50 pm. We had lunch: rice and beans, shredded cabbage, beets/carrot salad, chicken and a type of lasagna. To top it we had cherry confection for desert the tree outside. After talking for a while the driver came to pick us up to bring us to the beach in Madian called—Plaj Lakay. We spent a few hours there. On our way back we stopped at Manolo’s inn where Danielle wanted to buy a beer. For supper we had porridge and we all had an early night in.

Monday, July 24
Finally, woke up at 5 am and prayed, showered, dressed before going to the dining room for coffee. I organized the room where I slept to help welcome the young man who is in Omolabake’s team. I’ll put all my stuff in the adjoining room. Dr. Brea (Babeth), Omolabake, Leah and I went to the hospital to finalize everything for Tuesday and Wednesday. On our way we saw Marie Ange Malebranche and she began to talk to Babeth about family and genealogy tree. Omolabake and Danielle used Sister’s car and driver to go to Port-au-Prince to buy medication and pick up the team at the airport. Leah and Carlo worked on counting medications. Dr. Brea and I went to the cemetery to locate her grandma’s tombstone as well as my father in law’s. When I got to the house I ate something quickly and went to get dressed before going next door to do baptismal preparation with the parents seeking the sacrament for their children. There were only a few people. I made sure I assembled all the symbols for the ceremony of baptism on the table and began at 2:30 pm. It was difficult to get them involved, to choose a symbol and tell me what they thought it meant after I explained what symbols meant using the Haitian Flag. I mentioned that baptism is one of the initiation sacraments to become a member of the body of Christ and the church. This make us adoptive children of God. I stressed the commitment they are taking to establish a personal relationship with Jesus and sharing it with their children. I emphasized the deep unconditional love of Christ who incarnated and died for each and all of us on the cross. I reviewed the creed in five points. I highlighted Jesus two commands which fulfill the 10 commandments: to love God above everything and our neighbors as ourselves in the context of our own Haitian prejudices. I shared some of my favorite scriptures passages: Jesus giving us his mission statement in the Temple in Nazareth (Lk4); Washing of the disciple’s feet; (John 13); the judgement day (Matthew 25). I did my best using the brochure I had prepared with Bishop Sansaricq when I used to do this presentation in Cambria Heights. It took me about ninety minutes. I felt a fleeting inner joy for having shared my faith with the parents. I could have done more if I had a singer with me to grab their attention while presenting and exchanging with them.
I called for the priest to continue with the meeting about the requirements for baptism in this parish. The parents got angry because they said no one told them when they registered that they had to bring proof that the god parents were baptized and confirmed Catholics. I told them it was not a rule made only by this parish but it is a requirement of the universal church. Wow I almost experienced a smack down. Thank goodness I could slip away and let the people of the parish get the heat. My job as Director of Religious Education (DRE) back in the US is a breeze. I know I am a stickler for rules and paperwork, I would have had that paperwork done long before the day of the baptism.  Later in the afternoon, Dr. Brea and I met with a drummer called Roland Joseph di TiRoro who played the 12 different rhythms on the drum for us. He also had his 11 year old student, Tamarre Andre, dance a piece for us.

In the evening we waited impatiently to hear from Danielle, Omolabake and the 4 others. They arrived at 9:30 pm. They ate and I showed them around. Then I went to sleep in a bed in the servants’ room. Let us praise God with hearts and voices!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
After a steamy, uncomfortable, sleepless night. I got up at 5 am went to the outside quarter for my shower then came back to the main area to ensure everything would be okay for everyone. Omolabake came to finalize some activities. Beside the 2 sisters, there were the nine of us plus 2 other Americans, Sister Flora’s guests. I had to make sure everyone were ready and we left the house at 8:15 to reach the health center. I had to meet with Dr. L. to give him the money for the truck of 3,000 gallon of water for the facility. I was going from station to station making sure things were running smoothly–nurses, assistant nurses, patients, doctors, pharmacy, and translators. I had to go to the house to get cool drinking water for the team. After their day, everyone came to eat and freshen up. We did a tour of the town and downtown to the boat. We took a ride from the fishermen’ place into deep sea around town to Tibarcadere beach. We paid the entrance fee per person and the boat ride—not surprising the charge was doubled for us after we got there. I wonder sometimes if it is worth our personal sacrifice of time and of our hard earned money when we feel being taken advantage of. I also bought some ‘bouillon maren’ for supper in support of the fishermen traditional fund raiser. It was made of vegetable and all type of sea food. The boat brought us back downtown. While on the deep sea I thought how majestic God was in his magnificent nature. I enjoyed the palpable tranquility and the motion of the water. I imagined Jesus and Peter on the water. There were different size houses on the side of the mountain facing the water. There also was garbage hanging from the historical Dartiguenave’s house ruin going into the water—a blatant disregard for the marine life below. Then we all walked back going pass the cemetery to the house. We ate supper then stayed around the table and had a conversation about the day and our experiences so far. Thank goodness for some generous people who selflessly give of themselves such as this team to restore our faith in humanity.

Wednesday, July 26
Woke up early enough. It is the feast day. I wore a dress to go to mass later. I went next door to say good morning to Archbishop Wensky of Miami, Florida and Bishop Dumas of the Nippes. Then I went to the Health center to ensure everyone had what they needed for the day. Check all the stations – waiting room, intake, doctors’ consultation rooms, and pharmacy. We ran out of plastic bags for the medicine. I ran back to the house to get a ream of paper to do small bags. After that I went to church for mass, they were doing the universal prayers when I got there. I missed the homily. The Archbishop was the main celebrant and he did everything in Kreyol. He was acknowledged as the first Haitian Bishop for his love for the Haitian People. In his final comments he hinted at using the language for everyone to understand and appreciate. I clapped so hard others had to join in. I said hello to some dignitaries as they were leaving church but ran back to the health center. There were less people today about 85+ versus the 115 of yesterday. Some patients became very agitated because it was taking too long to get the prescriptions filled. We tried to have them wait inside not to line up in the sun but they taught we were forgetting about them or give their place to someone else. After everything was done I had to meet the administrator to give him the stipends. He thought the amount we said was per day not for the two days. He said there were three doctors although we had asked for two and a nurse and an assistant. We had to pay the 25gds per patient although we had bought the water. I felt ashamed as a negotiator. I understand the Haitian doctors misunderstood what was said although I thought I was clear. This medical team paid their trip, their food and lodging, the medication, and had to pay the doctors, nurse, nurse assistants, and the hospital in addition. That is an outrage but I tried to keep my calm in this situation. I praised God for the generosity and kindness of this team toward us. The only thing in my power at that time was to show them good hospitality. I asked the student nurses of EPSA to come later in the afternoon to meet someone from Port-au-Prince who wanted to collaborate with us.
At the house the food was not ready as the personnel thought we had eaten at the reception of the feast. I had a meeting with Mr. Bayas of Cocade to work with us on reforestation in the town as well as education on the environment. He is ready to share all the fruit trees needed to make this area green and fruitful. I will try my best to collaborate with him and other people like him on the environment.
We ate late. Fr. Louis was around to gather the material use for the reception. He sat down with us and asked everyone at the table to share a low and a high point of their experience so far. After each sharing, he asked everyone to say Mèsi Bondye mèsi, and everyone repeat that. The lows were the roads, the people on garbage piles in Port-au-Prince, the language barrier and the highs were serving the people, establishing relationships, the welcome at the house, and the food.
It started to rain hard when we wanted to go to Mr. Labissiere for supper. After the downpour, we went down past the cemetery telling scary stories. We were served grilled goat, goat bouillon, peeled sugar cane pieces, cremas, fried plantains, rice and beans. While we were there ‘feasting’ to thank Omolabake, Leah, Jeff, Kaitlin, Alicia, Jackie, Danielle, and Carlo it rained very hard getting us all wet. It was exciting sharing this cultural moment with Mr. Labissiere’s family and friends. Because it was still drizzling when we were leaving, we had to use two cars to the house. We went through the square around town to get back to the house.
They said good bye before going to bed. The young people probably remained on the gallery for more conversation.

Thursday, July 27
Omalabake and Leah wanted to spend a day with their team. I woke up not knowing what will be provided as entertainment for our guests to enjoy the area after their two grueling days of work in the medical fair. I had planned to bring them to the waterfall in St. Yves. Because it had rain so hard for the past few days it could be very muddy and difficult to drive through and then hike up there. I had not fret a van for that reason.   I decided we could take a long walk to l’Etan (the lake) in the morning and in the afternoon walk to TiBarcadere beach where they had gone before via the sea.
On impulse I decided to go to Fr. Louis’ residence and ask if there was any car we could rent for the day to go to the beach of Madian where his center is. He immediately responded that the car had to be used for different errands but we would be welcome to use it if the driver was available. He called Elto and within minutes he was there. I ran back to the house and organized the group to go. Thank goodness we had already had taken breakfast. This beach is part of the Spiritual Evangelization Center for the diocese under Fr. Louis’ direction. Our group met several of the Young American volunteers from different states doing ministry with the youth. I felt the Drexel University students connecting with them. We went down the big staircase to the beach below. The group had a good time in the water. This is next to the paid beach we had gone to on Sunday. We stayed until 2 and got to the house to have lunch—pitimi, bean sauce, plantain, vegetables and water melon. One member of the Drexel group is vegan. We made sure we all went next door to thank Fr. for the use of the car and the beach. Some individuals went to the square to buy some souvenirs. It rained so hard with lightning and thunder I don’t know where they had to wait for this downpour to end. Leah was very much interested in Abstinade who is interested in becoming a doctor. Fr. Louis would like to find ways to help her achieve her dream. She is one of the youngsters so involve in the church. She speak French and Kreyol so fluently and with pride. She just finished the class of philosophy exam and is waiting for the results. She is 19 years old but she looks much younger. She sings beautifully as well. Omolabake and Leah suggested that she apply to the University of her choice in Haiti as she learns English as well. They would like to follow her progress through Fr. Louis and see how they can encourage her in her medical career. Both these Nigerian ladies are so open-handed although according to their stories they had to struggle to reach their current status in the medical expertise. They exemplify the Corinthian scripture passage: “God loves a cheerful giver.”
We had an enjoyable supper sharing what we would like to see done with improvement for the future. The Drexel University students did very well adapting to the environment and showed great respect and admiration for their professors. They compared this mission to previous ones. We were grateful that everything happened without any incidents at the house and on the roads. Dr. Brea from Fondwa had left early in the morning with Mr. Labissiere. We already missed her. Omolabake would have the room for herself again mostly when she has to wake up so early in the am and finish her packing tonight to catch her early flight tomorrow.

Friday, July 28
I woke up at 1:55 am. Waited for a few minutes and knocked at Leah and Omolabake’s doors to ensure they were up. I went to the apartment outside to shower. I woke Wedlene up to make coffee for our guests as she has to put the gas on. She did it and returned to bed. At 3 am exactly I pushed the suitcases on the gallery toward the exit to reach the car. As soon as I saw the light behind the gate, I rushed to open it before the driver would honked to have it open. It was 4:10 am. Omolabake was finally able to relax as she was so anxious not to catch her flight. We prayed together for a few minutes before they took the road and I continued to pray while they were pulling out of the driveway for a safe travel to Port-au-Prince. I remained in the dining room instead of going back in the personnel’s room where the two young ladies were sleeping. By 6:15 am I felt so exhausted I went to one of the emptied room by our guests and slept until 8 am. The others were awake, we had breakfast. Our last guests, my support, Danielle and Carlo would be leaving tomorrow. Danielle and I walked to EPSA to return the borrowed bucket with faucet and bring the requested money for the 200 patients that came to the fair.
On our way toward the square, we saw two women sweeping the street. I hugged them and thanked them for this important job of keeping the town clean.
The doctor had already left for Port-au-Prince, Danielle and I continued downtown to give the funds to the administrator in order to get a receipt. He said he apologizes for asking for that money but the hospital has so little funding, a lack of dedicated personnel, all in all is ill equipped to handle some basic care. Even though we have noticed so many deficiencies, there is still slow improvement being implemented. I complained of not having an eye chart even in the pediatric room to determine the sight of some of the patient. The team had brought so many glasses to be distributed. The Cubans had come to get reading glasses and we were happy to have finally open a dialog with them in sharing these goods.
After this conversation we went by Jean Philippe Hubert’s house, a teacher from NY vacationing in his home town. Then we proceeded to the edge of town to say goodbye to Mrs. Leblanc. She pointed out the trees, the shrubs, and other decorative plants she had planted along the road to beautify the town. I reminded her that we had receive many trees and plant from COCADE (Mr. Bayas) and they were at the rectory. She promised to follow-up on that. She pointed to Danielle her grandfather’s house which she remembered fondly.
After supper, we did not stay too late. I turned in early and returned to my previous room in the outside quarters. It felt good. I am so grateful to Sr. Flora for having accepted to fixed and equip these rooms and bathroom for our use when we are in town.

Saturday, July 29
No special activities were planned for that day. Most visitors to town for the feast of St. Anne had left already. Woke up finally close to breakfast in the bedroom I originally occupied when I came to town. It felt good—being in my own space again. I packed everything that needed to be put away and or ready to be distributed. Made some calls to see who would show up in the afternoon for the plant next door or for the medical tools left by the Drexel team for the EPSA students. I finalize the financial report to cover our expenses in the house, the personnel, and sisters’ driver & car and gave the envelope with the money to Sr. Linda to remit to Sr. Flora when she comes back from her retreat.
I waited for Fr. Enel who had promised to bring me to the chapels of the cathedral so that I could take pictures for the Boten and deliver the soccer ball requested by Fr. Louis for the directors to promote the sport with the young people. When he came late in the afternoon, he brought me to St. Michel Archange of Lavalle where I gave the ball to Edeline Nivrose who was decorating the church. The director Monuma Dieusel talked to me on the phone but he would not have time for me to see him as we were going to go to the next chapel. While in the car, Joanne called, she needed to be dropped right away in Miragoane, she had found a ride for Port-au-Princce. Her daughter was with us. Fr. Enel asked Dr. Cassamajor who was at the house to borrow some mattresses from Sr. for his hotel to bring me to Perrien. He agreed he would do so as soon as he was done transporting the materials. I finally met Danielle’s brother, Philippe, when he came to pick her and Carlo up to go to Baraderes. We had taken lunch already, so they were good for the road.
After supper, I went to the room to finish packing and relax. At 9:30 pm Dr. Cassamajor came to pick me up. I gave Sr. Linda the message that I was sorry I was already in bed.

Sunday, July 31
I don’t know what woke me up but the dogs were barking a lot. Later on I learned there had been a little tremor in Anse-a-Veau at around 1 am. As I was leaving the room at 5:50 to go wait for the driver that had schedule a 6 am departure, Sr. Linda told he came late last night to say he would be delayed in the morning. He should be arriving around 8 am. I brought the suit cases to the front anyway and went for coffee. Kettely asked if I wanted breakfast, I said OK. I made an egg sandwich to eat later on the road. Then I took the time to pray and do my scripture readings. Dr. Cassamajor showed up I guess to apologize for yesterday or to borrow something else from the sisters. We talked about all that could be done for Anse-a-Veau in matter of education and creating jobs. I felt we were on the same page about some of the issues and projects we would like to accomplish.
Instead of a garden by Larionne’s place on the Paillere property, he and Albert think it should be a playground for the children in that area. He liked the idea of the Depozouti (Tools bank) as he said he is always helping some agricultural group to buy a tool; the chicken coop a necessity for the restaurant he is managing as well; several hospitality houses would be good for the development of tourism; recycling to keep the town clean and produce income for a few; potable water (using Kouzin Dlo) is so important for the health of the people here and guests to come; trees and plants for food and beautification so important (he took Cocade’s info from me); reopen fishermen’s cold/storage room to help them economically; cemetery clean-up to highlight our historical past; maintenance of house and public buildings; upkeep of historical monuments and forts; yearly medical fairs in different towns; university equipment and fence; retirement home at the Frères old building really great with stalls for vendors (arts).
When the driver came I excused myself and promised to keep in touch. Sr. Linda sent her suitcases to the mother house as she will be going in a week to her new assignment in Hinche. Wedlene came with us as she will be returning home. She asked the driver to drop her at the station to catch the other bus going north. When we got to the Sisters of Charity in Tabarre my phone was not working again. I could not call the driver Carlo had recommended to drive me around. Sr. Martha showed me the room and the bathroom in the section of the compound for guests. I wish we could do a structure like this in Anse-a-Veau. A section for the retired priests next to the dining room and kitchen and another building for the retired guests leasing apartments/room for a year at a time. I had to leave the big suitcase downstairs as it was too heavy to go up the spiral staircase. I brought the carry on upstairs with me with a few article of clothing for each day from the larger one. I borrowed a box from a person in the laundry room. I was able to call the driver as it was getting late and did not want him to wait for me any longer. Sr. Martha suggested I used her driver and the house car to go do my visits: My friend Malou in Pellerin; my cousin Suzy, Place Boyer; my friend Marie Michelle Delma, my friend Alix downtown, and my brother Benedick in Delma.
I came back just on time for supper. There were four nuns at this time in the house: Sr, Margareth-principal of Jean Paul II, Sr. Martha taking care of the buildings construction, Sr. Lila of Jacmel and Sr. Josapha, the sister servant. I briefly updated them on my projects in Anse-a-Veau. After supper we all pitch in to clean, wash dishes, dry them, and place them back where they belong. I talked with Sr. Martha for a little while then I turned in. I was feeling so exhausted.

Monday, July 31
As usual I woke up before the time set. I could not go back to sleep at first. I felt an onset of a headache, I forced myself to close by eyes. The alarm woke me up, I guess I had dozed off. I got dressed and read the scriptures of the day before going to prayer at 5:30. Sr. Josaphat was already busy in the kitchen as I went to the dining room to get some water. At 5:45 we said the Laude. Sr. Josaphat had me read the psalm in Kreyol. Then we went across the street to the Miraculous Medal Parish for mass. After mass, we had a light breakfast. I had felt sleepy throughout mass and now too. I felt really drowsy. I braved the dense traffic streets and to go to the Digicel office. I only made two phone calls before I lost signal again. I had to take a nap, I went to the room and fell asleep for about an hour. I borrowed someone else box to make some calls. In the afternoon, Lydie came with a friend to bring a small picture of Pierre given to her by Marie Ange. She showed me some other pictures on her phone of the family that Marie Ange will be giving to Babette. She would like to move back to Haiti but she is not sure where she would like to settle: Petit Goave where her friend is from or Anse-a-Veau where she was born. After she left, we had supper. There were two additional sisters who came tonight ‘en route’ for other destination tomorrow. One Haitian sister working in Puerto-Rico coming home to spend vacation time with her family, the other is from Meyer, Jacmel. Sr. Natalie has been in Haiti for the past 25 years. She did a tomatoes jam that was so delicious.
She came to buy medication and other supplies before returning to Meyer.
After supper Sr. Martha and I went to the office to check in online and print my boarding pass. We talked a little about American politics, I had been disconnected from the news for the past 21 days.   Then by 10pm I went back to the room.

Tuesday, August 1
I woke up in the middle of the night with a pounding headache. I did not look at the time. I use some Vicks. When my body felt better to look at the clock it was 5:50. I knew the sisters were already praying. I took my time to shower and wet my head and walk slowly down the stairs planning to go to mass across the street. I saw Sr. Martha she had just left the gate of the house so I knew maybe I was not too late although she always say she is not a morning person. The mass had just begun. But the back of the room smelled. I moved to the center of the room. I could hardly hear the priest speak in the microphone. He had a low voice and he was whispering. I just concentrated on the gestures and the moments being celebrated.
I could not wait for coffee and breakfast. I had taken a garlic 6,000 mg and I was afraid the pain would get worse. All morning I sat in the porch outside the chapel. I tried to make some calls–to Mr. Paillaire about his property, Kouzin Dlo and Claudette–were going to voice mail. I talked to Marie Michelle before I lost signal. Sr. Margareth spent a few minutes with me teaching me the prayers and a song that I liked in church.
At the different houses we had particular routines and prayers that were inspiring. At the Salesiennes I like this prayer before eating: May your will be our nourishment in all that we say and do.” At the DCs before meal we said: “Ou fè nou jwenn manje pou soutni lavi nou se pou dènye malere jwenn moso pen tou. Beni nou ansanm ak moun ki pare manje sa a. Se pou nou rete fidèl ap fè sèvis ou pa pouvwa JeziKri Granmèt nou, pitit ou li menm ki vivan e ki wa.’
After the meal : «Pou tout favè ou fè nou yo, mèsi Bondye mèsi ou menm ki vivan e ki wa depi touttan gen tan. Amen. »
The song we sang before the Gospel reading at church speaks to my heart: «Ede m viv pawòl la. Ede m pale pawòl la pou pawòl la vin yon reyalite.   Pou pawòl la pote chanjman nan lavi m.»

Finally at 12 noon, Sr. Martha asked if I would like to have some cookies or fruit before going to the airport. There was no traffic. We got at the airport at 12:30 got on line for weighting the suitcase. It was 51 pounds. The agent let it slide. I was observing the agents at the counter, she was the only one smiling with everyone. I had to compliment her for such a positive attitude. The male agent only smiled to a friend who had brought him something. I went through security with no problem. I went upstairs to see my friend Micheline Renaud who is always there and also buy the Barbancout Rhum for Pierre. I bought a bottle of water and a sandwich of ham and cheese with nothing on it. I ate half for lunch and kept the other half for supper.
The plane was on time but completely booked. This time the airline served two bags of chips although we had more people on board. I tried to watch a sci-fi movie. The sound was not working. The plane landed on time but it took about 30 minutes before the carousel started. After I picked up the suitcase, I placed the rum in it to facilitate maneuvering the bags. By gate 8 outside there were no cabs. I had to get back inside and go on the elevator up and then down to find the yellow cab. I am glad the officer helped me otherwise I would still be running around. The cabbie was a new young man doing this job for the past 3 months. I had to repeat the address 3 times. Finally, I told him the shortest way to get to the house. He said he wanted to use the GPS I told him no because they do a different route and it is much longer. I send my daughter a text telling her I had landed. When I got home, my husband was waiting for me outside. She wrote a welcome home note on my white activity board. I gave her the two bottles of hot sauce Sr. Margaret had bought for her. I was too tired to empty my bags. I watched a news clip and went to bed.
I am thankful to be back home. On this trip I did not get sick on the plane. I am so happy.
Except for the medical fair, I felt that we did not accomplish what we had purported to do this summer. I questioned the motivation of the Renesansavo participants and other members of CORA. On what type of ground did we sow the seeds for change or rebuilding? (Mat 13:3-8) Rethinking and evaluation of our way of acting must be revised if we want to make an impact.
However, the trash issue as pointed out by our guests and what I witness on our journey give me great concern. Since 2015 I have been talking about the campaign to ‘jere fatra’, now I believe the time has come to work on it seriously.

 

New York – Haiti trip of May 20 to June 2, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016 Praise be to God! A new day and a new trip is dawning today. I woke up at 4:30 am, got out of bed finally at 4:45 am and made sure I called the cab to be there at 6:45. The driver was on time and I was ready to go. The driver was Haitian, Mr. A. of St. Joachim and Anne. He has two daughters that is a lawyer and the other is finishing college. We talked about my work in Haiti and he was not shy in giving me his opinion. At the airport, I checked the bag outside. I had already done the check-in the day before and paid for the second suitcase. I was below the requirement for both bags – 46 and 44 respectively besides all the things I was carrying for the sisters and the camp. [The agent, Mr. Smith, was very courteous and helpful. I had to give a credit card and be charge $2 per suitcase for them to be taken at curbside. I have to remember that no cash is accepted. TSA was a breeze. I did not spend 10 minutes on line. I was assigned to the pre-checked line. I did not even have to remove my shoes. It was early but I felt very hungry. Although I had eaten my apple. When I went to use the bathroom before the flight, I was bought a sandwich at the Mexican Restaurant. I ate half and saved the other portion as they do not provide food on the plane. Boarding went smoothly at 10:30 am we were on the plane ready to fly. There was a lot of turbulence. I felt really sick and nauseated while the plane was taking off and at landing. It is the first time I experienced so much shaking on a plane. Is it because the plane is smaller or the route is different? I was so glad when we landed! After getting the luggage on my own from the carousel using the rented cart, I stopped to buy telephone minutes. I had to wait because the booth was busy with customers. On my way out a porter grabbed my cart although I refused his help. But one of the agents said he must bring you out or you won’t be able to leave. I knew it was a ploy to get some money from me. I said okay and gave him a warning that if anyone else touched the bags, I would not tip him. It worked. I don’t like when people crowd over me all trying to get something from me. I feel so powerless. Sr. Martha was waiting for me at the main entrance of the prayer. At the Daughters’ of Charity, I had night prayers with them. Praying in community has its own power. I have to follow in the breviary and their congregation’s special petitions. At Adoration time, my body shook as if I had seizures. I guess my body needed some nourishment. We had dinner. Then the daughters did the rosary while walking in the garden. Afterwards, I showed the sisters the Kreyol books I wrote for children. I made a few phone calls to my sister, brother, and friends. Then I faced time Martial and asked him to tell Pierre I had arrived and everything was fine. Then, I headed off to bed!

Saturday, May 21, 2016 I woke up twice in the night. Maybe it was the silence and complete darkness in this small room. It is a stark contrast to my home in New York, where I live on a busy street with constant traffic noise. It is spookily quiet here. My daughter would come up with many scary stories, if she were here with me. I guess I dozed off because the alarm woke me up at 5 am and it is was daylight outside. Got outside to the common shower and toilet area. Return to the room to dress and put a few things in order. At 6 am went to prayers with the sisters before crossing the street to attend mass. Fr. Samson, a former CM, was the main celebrant. He spent a month at SJU in NY. He also knows Msgr. Rebecca, pastor at Anse-a-Veau. After the celebration, we had to use all kind of strategies to cross this heavy trafficked street to get back to the house. We had breakfast of fresh fruits, hot dogs in sauce and warm French bread. Then Sr. Martha talked to me about the work of the daughters. She gave me the name of the sisters and where they came from and their particular ministries. These women are really incredible giving their lives with such joy and love educating and ministering to the poorest in this country.

I took a few minutes to communicate with my family to let them know that everything was alright with me. Regine picked me up to go to Laforterese in Mirebalais where sixteen schools being monitored by the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative were completing a four day workshop conducted by CSCSE on “La Lecture et Moi: La place du livre pour moi et pour mon école.” Florence D. and Claude B. both presenters to the group were very enthusiastic about the subject of reading. They were very organized in the delivery of the content as well as facilitating the discussion and handling of the libraries provided to the schools. I went from table to table talking to the participants to get feedback and reactions to this training. Across the board they all said that they never thought of reading for leisure and pleasure. The animated reading by Claude inspired them to do the same to excite and develop reading in their students. I also shared some pointers about reading with some of them. Unfortunately, I did not bring any of my books or create materials to show them how they could craft some materials for reading and writing with their students based on their environment. I did not miss the opportunity to communicate with some of them the need to teach reading in the native language, kreyòl, if we want our population to make educational progress across the board. I also encouraged them to read aloud daily to their students whatever the level. I congratulated the consulting group for their work on behalf of VFHI as I heard firsthand the positive response of the participants.

After we had a hearty lunch, Regine and I left to go back to Port-au-Prince. On the road back, we talked about several subjects. It is really interesting to be with Regine. After returning to Tabarre, Sr. Martha and I went to the supermarket. I noticed several Haitian products besides all the imported goods. When we got back to the house I called home to reassure them that I was on track to doing what I had planned to accomplish. At 5:45 pm I crossed the busy street to go to the church to meet with Jacqueline and the Association Internationale de Charité (AIC) members.   I took picture of the group and talked about their work. Currently, they .have 20 members in Tabarre and 30 members in Thomazeau. During 2010-2012 period they had received funding to take care of families and seniors in needs. They delivered bags of rice and beans, oil and some other products. Now that there is no more monies, with the meager contribution they can only deliver a meager care package once a month, lately, every six months. They also have a sewing program where they teach the women in the program how to sew in order to earn money. They use to give them materials to sell after they sewed them. AIC had to stop this follow-up process as they had no more resources left. In Thomazeau, they do the goat program. The family gets a unit and must return to the core group two small goats from their work. I made a small contribution to their bank.

After the meeting, I went back to the house and had dinner with the sisters. We had good conversation then we cleared the dishes and washed everything together. I went to the room and reshuffle the material and prepared the carry on to travel to the Plateau Central. I felt so sleepy while writing the journal. I went to bed early that night.

Sunday, May 22, 2016 Sunday. The house slept late. I woke up at 4:30 am and could not fall back to sleep. Finally at 5:45 am I went outside to the showers. It is daylight and so quiet within the grounds. At 6:45 am went for coffee and breakfast. Two other sisters were there getting ready to leave to go listen to the seminarian’s talk before mass on Mary. Dukenson St. Armand used Lumen Gentium to describe the importance of Mary as mediator of grace. He explained it from John 19:26-27. She was given to us to be our mother. She is the first model of discipleship. She is not the one giving us salvation only Jesus does. She is able to intercede for us. She carried Jesus and cooperated with God to bear our only Savior, Jesus Christ. He ended his talk with a Hail Mary before we had mass. The entrance song started and was abruptly stopped and a hymn to baptismal renewal was sung while the celebrant was sprinkling the congregants. Then he intoned the Kyrie. Unusual. Everything else went on smoothly. Fr. Raphael Verlux had a homily on the Trinity for 30 minutes. He began by saying that the word Trinity is not found in the bible. He covered the history from Nicea, Constantinople to the 11th century how the church had formulated the mystery of the trinity. He stressed the three persons of the Trinity, their role and yet the unity of expression and communal love. He emphasized the need for us Haitians although all different with different role and talent need to unite in a singular love. We are created good and must associate with other good people to produce good things. Unity among us in church and also in our daily lives is essential to reflect the love of God. He reminded us of the prodigal son parable to show that God is seeking and ready to welcome us back and the generosity depicted in the parable of the workers in the vineyard. After mass, we went back to the house. Sr. Martha and I talked about our attitude, the prejudices here and in the US. As an immigrant from Hungary, she understands some of our struggles. She really prays and hope we will make a difference to rebuilt Haiti as it should. She stressed that the people of Haiti must be the author of their changes. We had lunch at 12:30. At home, I do not have set times to eat and yet when I am here in this community I adjust pretty well. I went to the room to do some reading and I dozed off. When I got up, I went to the yard to take pictures of the different plants/trees being cultivated at the sisters. They have plaintains, bananas, peppers (sweet & jalapenos), mango cherries, onions, tomatoes, beans, limes, sour oranges, corn, and Malanga. For the construction of the new facilities of the sisters, they had to move the bee hives to new locations. Sr. Josaphat is really proud of the garden she has planted and manages. I did some reading and later met the engineer who is building the house. He stays here. I met Nicholas the Frenchman. He is at ease with the sisters. He had brought chocolate and confiture. We all enjoyed them. It was such a clear night,  I could enjoy the constellations while walking in the garden. Then I went to the room planning to read but I was too sleepy to do that for long.

Monday, May 23, 2016 At 4:30 am I was awake but remained in bed. I forgot that prayer was at 5:30. I finally went to the shower at 5. Packed more of what I needed for Plateau Central and everything else ready to be picked-up on Friday. After Morning Prayer, we had mass where some of the school children in their crisp uniforms came to the chapel to attend mass. Nicolas, the engineer, was at breakfast. He enjoyed mangoes at every meal. I talked to Sr. Kettlie on how she managed the cantine. She gave me some pointers. Then I read and wrote some emails, skyped Pierre, and face timed Natalie for a minute as she was at work. Electricity went out and we lost all communication. At 10:45, I called Regine to find out if I should wait for her at the school’s gate. She said to come out in ten minutes. She arrived half an hour later. However, I did still had to wait at least 10 minutes before Carole came out of baggage claim. We went to the Stop and Go at Tabarre to buy a few items. We went to the sisters’ house to get my luggage. I also took a plate to go as I had had no lunch. We stopped by the propane station to fill the tank. We took the road to Savanne Perdue around 3 pm. We passed by Regine’s house to get some of the sample of her products for Carole to taste. From Croix des Bouquets, we took Route Nationale #3. We went through different towns such as Bedet, Terre Rouge, Nirva, Mirebalais where we stopped for a few minutes for Regine to rest a bit and eat something. We resumed the travel taking the Road in direction of Hinche, going through Rivière Ferre de Ceval, Domond, Cange, Savanette Cabral, Thomonde, so Savane Perdue—La Cas. The road by patches was impassable with deep rut. The rain that had fallen made it really muddy at some other spots. We arrived at the complex at 5:30 pm. Yamile was waiting for us. She had prepared supper for us. We ate and talked until 8:45 pm. We fixed the two bunk beds and showered to remove the dust of the road. By 9:30 pm we were ready to sleep.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 During the night, I had a dream. I was at a desk, someone else was at another desk to my right. Then Philip appeared at the door in uniform but his hat was black not gray. He had a sad face and he told me: “You should accept to forgive.” I woke up feeling unsettled and did not understand the meaning. I prayed for all my children and their respective families as well as my husband. I guessed it was around 2 am. I had no way of confirming the time. I slept on and off until 5:30 am. I quietly used the bathroom in order not to awake anyone else. I went downstairs to make coffee. Thank goodness I had brought my electric expresso coffee maker and coffee grounds. I made my prayers sitting on the stairs until Yamile then Carole came downstairs. They toasted bread in the pan. I had never done that before. After breakfast, before going out, I made reservations for Decameron.   My credit card company denied the charge. I tried a second time and payment was refused. Then Pierre called me to say that the card company had called the house and had cancelled my card and reissued a new one. I asked him to call me back to reinstate the card as I had no other credit card to use. I called the representatives of the bank, then the Fraud Department, then a third department not to cancel the card. I expressly told them not to honor the last request for the hotel as my friend had used her personal card to pay for both of us. I gave all the security questions they asked. I called my husband later and he told me that the bank denied my request to keep the card valid although he told them that there was no way that he could provide me with the new one. I know they were trying to protect me and themselves but they left me stranded. For the past three years I had used the card without ever letting them know that I was travelling. My trip was paid with the card and used again at the airport for the suitcases. Too bad! They lost me as a client. Carole, Yamile and I walked to the river that separated Las Cahobas and Cas(se) in Thomonde. The current was strong. The boats could not cross over.

Later Carole and I talked about the ideal of having teacher training for Kreyòl schools implementing the Bernard Reform of 1979. We strongly believe that the country in general would move forward with such a national undertaking for our people. We had lunch—cornmeal, legume, and red bean sauce. We all had great conversation around the table. It rained while were sitting outside before going back in for hot chocolate. We later walked to see Regine’s mom and aunt land nearby. We met Asefi who lives on the land nearby. There was a dispute between some locals. It lasted for hours. We talked about the inappropriate joke one teacher gave at the end of the training session last Saturday. It was one of the most awkward and demeaning experience I’ve ever had among educators. I won’t repeat the joke, as women it left us all with a bad taste in our mouths. This also showed us even in the educational setting that there is a need to sensitize the people to civic rights and discernment in what is proper in a professional setting. We four women enjoyed the exchange about our personal and professional lives. We two older women with diverse and complex experiences with two young women involved in making a difference in a land we love. We are so optimistic that our individual activities will provide hope and opportunity to those who are in need.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 Woke up early as usual around 5:05, showered and went downstairs to pray. I had already made coffee when Yamile and Carole came downstairs. Carole prepared oatmeal for all of us. Yamile had the guardian cut some sweet potatoes branches. She cut some sticks for planting for Carole’s garden in Jacmel and me to bring to the sisters in Tabarre and Anse-a-Veau. The road back although a little dry was still treacherous around the bulging bumps and ruts making it difficult to travel. We stopped at Savannette Cabral where we got a bag of 32 mangoes for 100 gds. Then Regine brought some pineapples as well for her friend’s restaurant. We visited the Pinchinat, a school on our way being monitored by VFHI. We saw the 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2nd grades. One was doing experimental science on the board, one reading in French, and another vocabulary, the other class the teacher was absent not feeling well. The 3rd grade teacher was covering both his class and the 2nd grade. He also had a belt in his hand. Carole asked if he was using it. He answered: “no I just want to scare them because they were misbehaving”. This was a quick visit because the headmaster was at a conference in the Decameron.

In Mirebalais, we stopped for Carole to deliver the recorders for the School and center ‘Garou Ginen”. The children played their recorders for us. They offered us to have lunch with them but it would not be ready for another hour. I visited the pre-K class and I made a video for them. The teacher is very dynamic. The classroom is print rich with Kreyòl and some French material.

Regine ordered food for us at her restaurant, the Myabèl. It was a very delicious meal. I had tasso and vegetable served with rice and beans. We dropped some of our things at Regine’s house then her driver drove us to the Decameron—going through mòn Kabrit and Wout nèf to go to Route National #1. We passed Village Canaan where the people took over a parcel of governmental land and built their homes. We went through Bonrepo then the village of Jerusalem, Titanyen, Sous Puente (I did not see the sous of my childood), Carefour Minoterie, Barrière Pois, Trou Fonbon, finally Monthrouis. We made it to the all-inclusive facility of Decameron formerly Indigo/Club Med. The entrance is well manicure with security at the gate. All guests must be identified and also be prepaid. Porters came to get our luggage. We were assigned rom 1521. Daniel brought us up to the second floor of building 15. The room faced the ocean. I walked the ground a little and then skyped Pierre from the Lobby. We talked about the credit card situation and nothing could be done about it. We got ready go to one of the specialized restaurant “the Boucanier” which served mostly sea food. The maître D’ told us this was an ‘a la carte’ restaurant we had to have a reservation to be accepted. With a little pressure telling them that the front desk did not advise of this and the restaurant was practically empty, we were finally seated. I ordered the risotto and sea food. The lightly grilled calamari was fresh and delicious. The shrimps were well prepared. I did not like the risotto that much. Carole had fish and a glass of white wine. For dessert I asked for the cake. It was not the greatest. I usually like my desert but this one was disappointing. Carole had ordered a chocolate with vanilla ice cream. She did not like the chocolate she asked for another dessert. At first, the waiter was not willing to comply. When Carole insisted mentioning this was an all-inclusive place, he relented. The serving were small portion with very decorative presentation. While there, it rained very hard. When we wanted to leave, we asked if there were some umbrellas available. They responded negatively. We decided to go through the buildings. The restaurant was on the north side of the complex and we lodged on the south side. Along the way we met an employee who offered his umbrella and accompanied us to the main lobby. There was going to be a show so we waited. This reminded me of the presentations I had seen at the Puerto Plata all inclusive—dances, jokes, and skits involving the public. The main dancer and master of ceremony was energetic however he seemed limited in his language skill for this role. Some of his words I could not understand. He used ‘plaw, plaw’ and I learned this meant applause. He always used the phrase: ‘bon bagay’ to punctuate what he wanted the public to appreciate. I felt so drowsy and dozed off. After the show, we went to the room quickly. I fell asleep right away.

Thursday, May 26, 2016 I could not sleep anymore. I wanted to make some coffee so badly. I did not have sugar and coffee grounds. So I decided to go pray outside as the balcony was near Carole’s bed and I would probably wake her up. I walked a little on the boardwalk then sat on a lounge chair on the beach to meditate and do the readings of the day from my Magnificat and Word Among Us. The complex was very quiet a few workers were around cleaning the beach area. As the day was unfolding, some guests started to walk and run on the sand. When I went back to the room to get ready for breakfast, Carole was ready to go. She went to the lobby to get internet access. ‘Le Grand Marché’ had started to be busy. I chose some fruits and a croissant. I could not wait to sip some coffee but it very was weak. The expresso machine was not yet working. The waiter assigned to our area was very helpful. He promised to get us some strong coffee as soon as that section was opened. After breakfast, I went to the lobby to call home. After several attempt, I was able to connect. Pierre told me that the barrel and my boxes for the summer camp had been picked up to be shipped to Haiti. We spent the morning at the beach. It felt so good to be in the ocean. One of my favorite places to be. I floated for more than 10 minutes letting the water sooth me while the sun shined on my face. The water looked so clear and beautiful. We walked south on the beach before lunch.

After lunch, we walked north for miles. We saw a gentleman that asked us to come and visit the arts and craft stands. The different vendors practically selling the same items were housed under a ‘tonèl’ (wooden tent covered with toll). I bought a small chain & gave him a dollar (60 gdes) that is all I had in my camera pouch. Carole wanted to buy two small items for her grandchild and the vendor offered to follow her to get the money. Then I remembered that I carried my keycard around my neck pouch and found four dollars. We were able to buy the items and I gave the first vendor some more money. They were so happy they had made this sale. As we were walking back toward the complex, we noticed tons of garbage lining the shore. On our way back to our area, we met two Canadian tourists who said they had just picked up sandals & hypodermic needles on the beach. All the rest of the afternoon into evening, the waves kept bringing garbage to the shore. There were many teams raking, piling, and bagging the garbage.  No one could go in the water. At 6 pm, the teams left with many piles of garbage still heaped on the sand. I talked to one of the workers who seemed to be a leader. First, I wanted to know why they were not using working gloves as they were using their hands to throw the trash in the bags. Second, why they did not organize the way they worked to prevent so much physical exertion as they had no wheel borrow or cart to pick up the filled bags and had to walk a distance to drop them in a bin. I felt angry for the lack of tools and management to do an effective task. I could no longer enjoy my stay here.

When I got to the room, Carole and I got ready to go for supper. We had made a reservation for the ‘Casserole’, Haitian food. We arrived at 7:15 the receptionist told us to have a seat as they were not ready although we had chosen the 7 pm slot. At 7:30 the maître d’ finally came to invite the people who were there before us and a newly arrived couple. The lanbi was served in a béchamel sauce served with a bowl of rice with peas. The salads and soups was tastefully displayed at the bar area. The soup joumou was excellent–tasty and creamy. I also had some salad and fruits. While eating there was a downpour that flooded the floor of the restaurant. Again we had no rain gear. When the rain subsided a little we got some clear plastic bag to wrap around us because I had felt a bit cold. We walked through the puddles, and the drizzle to reach our building. We dried ourselves and went right to bed. What a day it was filled with conflicting feelings.

Friday, May 27, 2016 Woke up at my usual 4:45 am without an alarm. I was afraid to wake up Carole and was planning to go outside. However, it sounded as if it was raining. I opened the door and it was pouring. Here goes my morning prayer at the beach. At 5:30 am (6:30 am in NY) Carole’s alarm rang, I was able to look through the balcony to the ocean. Everything was wet on the balcony and the floor was filled with water. We got ready and packed everything before going for breakfast at 7:00 am. I could not eat much, I felt a little out of sort. We checked out and waited in the lobby until the driver, Sonson, came to pick us up. Meanwhile, I had a chance to talk to the managers about the gang work of last night. I felt if the workers were better organized and had the proper equipment they would be more effective in doing the clean-up. On the way back to Port-au-Prince, we saw some trucks picking up some heap of garbage from the side of the street. I was so pleased that this was being done to free the people of this curse of living on garbage, the driver said it is because the president would be going through this area sometime today they are sprucing it to give the impression that everything is working as they should. What a hypocrisy! What deceit for the people to live in. When the president is going to spend the people’s money at a restaurant with his cronies the trash becomes a priority to act on while  year round it is an issue that is part the poor’s daily life.

We went to Maison Handal in Tabarre to buy the stainless steel utensils for the summer camp. We bought the cups and spoons. Carole had to use her credit card to pay for me. As this downtown store did not have the plates, we had to go to Petionville. When we had called, the sales person had assured us they had a box of 144 plates. Nothing is ever simple in Haiti. I had to wait for the plates although the downtown store had called them to get them ready. On our way back, I called Mr. Batraville to let him know that we would be in Tabarre in 20 minutes to be picked up to go to the Nippes. He was not there when we arrived. Carole and I had lunch with the Sisters. Sr. Josaphat was so happy that I had brought the seedlings of sweet potatoes for her. There was such traffic both ways on boulevard Fleurio. Batraville came around 3:30 pm. After packing the car, we finally left at 3:58 pm. We had a lot of traffic at Tabarre, Portay, and Mariani. We stopped for gas and Batraville also filled his jug with water and ice. It was getting dark and a car that passed by us splashed water from the puddles on our windshield. The wipers did not work. Our driver had to stop the car and was going to use his hand to clear the muddy water. I found some tissues that he used. They left some smudges on the glass. He continued on the road until it was really dark and the lights from oncoming cars made it difficult to see. This felt really scary. Driving in Haiti is already a dangerous venture but not having visibility makes it that much more unsafe. I found some baby wipes for him to clean the windshield. It made it a little better. When we left Miragoane, I called Sr. Flora several time and she did not respond. I called Fr. Enel and he told me he would relay the message to her but he had forgotten to remind her about my arrival this Friday. I had called Sr. Saturday and on Monday I had asked him to remind her that we would both be there on Friday evening. We arrived in Anse-a-Veau at 9 pm and the church was packed. We heard that Msgr. Louis, the newly appointed pastor, was having a seven day Jericho. Sr. Flora was home but no one else was there to help us get our stuff out of the car. I went to the church and saw Marilyn who called a few men to give us a hand to disembark. Within half an hour the truck was unloaded and everything placed in the bedrooms and on the gallery. We had a conversation with Sr. Flora and we met Sr. Mirlene of Basen Zim and Sr. Linda of Karefour. Sr. Flora gave Carole a room and me another. After fixing a few things. I felt so tired, I went to sleep at 10:30 pm.

Saturday, May 28. 2016 I spent a restless night—waking up several time in the morning. At five, I got up to get ready for 6 o’clock mass in the church. Fr. Louis was the main celebrant, Fr. Enel co-celebrant filled the role of a deacon (read the Gospel and prepared the altar) although he was wearing a chasuble as a celebrant rather than a stole. I was annoyed at myself for looking at these details. Yet, it is all the symbolism, gestures, and rituals of the Catholic Church that I enjoy. Each of these are part of the public prayer of the mass deep in meaning. The Gospel of the day was about Jesus telling the chief priest (Mark 11:27-30) and scribes that he would not tell them by whose authority he was doing these things (miracles, teaching, healing..). After church, I went to prayer with the sisters before having breakfast. Sr. gave us the password to use the wi-fi. I skyped Pierre. He was not answering then I facetimed Natalie. We saw Fr. Louis and Fr. Enel outside the rectory. I took an appointment with Fr. Louis for Monday to talk about CORA’s activities. Fr. Enel will be coming soon, Sunday night or Monday to pick-up the Kreyòl mass books (8) I bought for him for his new parish. I hope he uses them mostly in his rural parish. I become so indignant when a mass is completely done in French mostly the reading of the word of God. Do the priests want to deprive the people of full understanding of the message the bible passages impart to the people? We are supposedly a bilingual country with two official languages, they should at least be used equally mostly in church that is for all people without exclusion. Carole and I walked to the square, the brother’s old residence and school by the commissariat. We walked back to the house as it started to drizzle. We met Fr. Basil in charge of the youth Kiro program for the diocese who wanted us and the sisters to talk to the youth. The Salesian sisters addressed them first, then me, and lastly Carole. They were an enthusiastic bunch.

We had lunch. Then Carole and I went past the cemetery to the bord-de-mers. Then it started to drizzle. We asked Mr. Larionne to allow us to seat with him until the rain stopped. Then we continued on to Mrs. Leblanc’s house at the edge of town. She was home and resting upstairs. We chatted for a while. She is coping well with the recent death of her husband. When the rain stopped, we took the road back to the sisters. By the road to the cemetery, we saw a funeral processing with a band playing music and everyone chanting. All the people dressed in black and/or white marched around. It was the burial of a woman advocate, entrepreneur and a leader—Rosemarie Petit-Frère. This kind of service reminded me of New Orleans.

When we got to the house, the sisters were going to the Jericho that had been going on since the installation of the new pastor. The bus of the kiro participants was leaving. Carole and I sat on the gallery for a while after having some oatmeal porridge for supper. I did not feel well, I went to bed early.

Sunday, May 29, 2016 Woke late and still felt an underlining headache. Finally, got out of bed at 6:00 am. I was praying in my room when I heard the voices of the sisters ringing in the chapel. I quickly joined them. Then we had breakfast before going to mass. The sisters said it would not begin on time and it would be long. It started at 8:15 am and lasted for three hours. The Gospel reading was of Jesus healing the centurion’s slave.  Fr. Louis talked about the universality of God’s saving grace. He went back to all the alliances that God to the perfect one in Jesus our ultimate mediator. He honored the mothers, last Sunday in May, and said how important their roles in our lives area. Mass continued on after the homily. However, after communion before the final blessing, some youngsters came to recite some poems for the mothers, even Fr. Enel joined them to honor the mothers in the church. After mass, the Petits Frère de St. Therese (PFST): Br. Camille and Br. Elie came over to the Salesians’ place. We talked about the requirements for the camp. They took all the material I had brought for them. Fr. Enel had set up an appointment for me with the participants of Rensansavo for 5 pm at EPSA in order to reconnect with me and to distribute the application to work as counselors for the camp if they would be available during these 10 days in July. I still felt a little dizzy even after lunch. At 4 pm, the church was not yet open for the last day of the Jericho and Marial prayers before they walk around town seven times. At 4:45 pm, Carole and I went to EPSA so that she could see the parochial building CORA wanted to fix as it is at the entrance leading to the University. Then we continued on to visit the premises where the Renesansavo hospitality/tourism project was conducted for the past two summers. Nine participants showed up for the meeting. Some others were at the church attending the revival. I explained what was expected for the camp and the role of the counselors. I requested that only those available for the period of July 11 to 22 should apply. If any of them had only one day of conflict, the person should not fill out the form. I set up a date for the candidates to come for an interview with the PFST who will oversee the camp.

After the meeting, we joined the Jericho walk around the town. There were more than 300 people young and old walking around the town singing and praying. Up front there were powerful speakers set up on a truck with a singer to motivate the people and at the end of the procession the priest with the monstrance and two altar boys stood in the back of a pickup truck. It was dark, thank goodness Carole had brought her flashlight to show us where to walk. On the second round when we reached the house, we left the convoy and returned inside the sisters’ house. A few minutes after we got inside, we heard a torrential rain. Apparently, most of the participants remained on the walk until they completed all seven rounds although they had to get rid of the rented speakers. I was so tired I went straight to bed but woke up in the middle of night still suffering from a headache. I don’t know what is causing these debilitating headaches but this was putting a damper on my experience here.

Monday, May 30, 2016 I knew there was no mass this morning. It will be celebrated this afternoon before a meeting planned by the pastor to meet all groups dealing or involved in the church. I did the lauds with the nuns then had breakfast. The school started, I went to see the line-up. Sr. presented the Gospel of the day then sang the national anthem. While this was happening a little girl passed out. The teachers just looked afraid to even approach or disturb the principal. I went over and asked what was the matter. The people had just left her there unattended. I went to the house to tell the Sr. in charge. We went back to the girl still lying on the floor. We talked to her. She answered faintly. She asked how she felt and if she could move by herself. She moved slowly and she was helped to a cot prepared for her in one of the preschool classes away from the heat. They wanted to give her sugar water. I asked who advised them to use this remedy. It seems this is what they assumed was needed in case she had not eaten before coming to school. I. asked if they had a medical record for the child and would it not be good to call the Red Cross (no 911 here) and the parents before giving anything to the child. Within minutes the doctor arrived from the Croix Rouge examined the girl before she left with her parents. It seems that this was not the first time this had happened to the girl. It occurred before at home too. I suggested that the teachers be trained in first aid to know what to do safely for the person who faints or lose consciousness. There was no protocol to handle such case, this should be established and all teachers trained. After this incident, I visited the preschool class. They were just sitting. One adult was in a corner writing in a notebook. The other adult was helping one or two in cleaning up after a small snack they had eaten. When the principal came, I asked if I could sing with them. I did “head, shoulder, knees and toes” in Kreyòl with them. It was so much fun looking at these tiny hands touch their heads then their shoulders, making a mistake touching the wrong parts when we were singing, then laughing. Later, I used the internet to call home. After lunch, I read a big book: “Kabrit Mawon, Kisa Ou Wè?” The children chimed in and tried to guess the next animal. They were eager to know what was next. They also remembered the sequence each animals were named. Even the teacher seemed to have had fun with this interactive reading.

In the afternoon I took time to open the two barrels I had shipped. I separated the items: things for the Brothers and Sr. Flora’s flea market. I gave her the toaster and juicer for the house. Carole chose some of the English books for the school’s library. The remainder of the two books will go to Fr. Enel. I also gave Sr. Flora some of the class posters in kreyòl. Fr. Enel came to have Carole visit some of the classes being held at the university. I also went with him as I wanted to make an inventory of the material I had left last year in storage. Anelio helped me. I found enough forks and knives I had been unable to purchase before in Port-au-Prince. I also packed for Brossard the kitchen towels, table clothes, basket, washing basins, and serving utensils. I sealed the box and asked that it be kept for the PFST until Thursday. After our visit to EPSA, we went to the afternoon mass. Fr. Enel was the celebrant. Today’s Gospel reading was about the vineyard’s owner and his tenants after mass the pastor had a meeting with parishioners to ask them what they liked about the Cathedral and what would they like to see in happening in the future. Appearance of the cathedral–the light features, cleanliness, the benches, toilet availability for large gathering, doors, the bells; the liturgy must be animated; formation of the lay people. Msgr. Louis also mentioned his interest of the community outside the church. At the gathering, director of conditions feminine des Nippes. She is ready to work with me on the bottin for the Nippes. When we got to the house, we had a ‘bouyi’ (porridge). Fr. Enel, Msgr. Louis, Carole and I talked for a few minutes about what we could do together with Renedansavo and PFST. In the room, I prepared a bag with the clothes needed for tomorrow’s trip. Went to bed writing in the journal. It was 9:30 when I turned off the light.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 At dawn I had a dream. Someone was trying to get to the front door of my house in NY. I went behind the door to put on the chain. The person opened the bottom lock then broke the chain and walked in. He was a short dark skin man in a light beige suit, hand behind his back holding a small box as he passed by me toward the living room door. I yelled at him: “In the name of Jesus, leave.” He turned around looked at me over his shoulder then walked out. I woke up and made a prayer of thanksgiving. Even in my sleep I used my faith and called upon the name of my Lord and Savior to free our home from this intrusion and it happened. “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power are his. (Dn 2:20) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and we praise your glorious name. (1 Chronicle 13). At five, I got out of bed and got dressed. I prayed in my room as the door to the chapel was open on the outside but closed through the interior access. Later we had breakfast. I used Carole’s digital weight control. My suitcase so far is 49.60 pounds. The driver came to pick us up. We left at 6:30 am on our way to Aquin. We stopped by Manolo’s Inn to show Carole where it is located in Petite Rivière. We found out that Mrs. Celeste P. had been elected mayor for this term. Hope the stretch of road will finally be completed between Anse-a-Veau and Petite Riviere. We stopped at Carefour Callebassier to fill up both tanks on gas. We stopped at Vigil’s parish where Fr. Enel has been assigned as pastor.

We reached the beach of Village Touristic St. George or “Cocoye Anglade” at 10:45 after driving through Vieux Bourg and Aquin squares. We drank and ate some coconuts. We bought a few more for the sisters at the house. We stayed at the beach until noon then we drove back to eat at Aldy’s restaurant. We tried to stop at Jardin Sur Mer, Robert Anglade’s Hotel where he was killed on April 9. They gates were closed because the area seemed to still be under investigation. At Aldy’s, we each ordered a different dish-lobster, shrimp, goat, and fish all grilled. All these were served with rice and beans and vegetables. Sr. & Carole ordered grapefruit juice. I made a mistake in computing the tip. I felt so bad not leaving what I wanted to. Carole made some purchased at the store. At 3;30 PM we were on the road to Brossard. I wanted Carole to see the work of the PFST. Br. Camille and Br. Elie were at the house. They showed us around the leased house and their own building and fields. They gave us three regimes de bananes and a few papayas. They also provided Carole and Sr. Flora with some seedlings for their respective gardens.

When we got back I showered, dressed and went to the church meeting. Interesting meeting. There were 13 groups in all. The leader of each group presented themselves and described what they did in the parish. The youth seemd to be very active and committed. Claudette of Renesansavo also presented. I was proud of her to be there although she had a previous commitment. Msgr. Louis and Fr. Enel came to the sisters’ place where they met with Carole and me from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm. We discussed EPSA and CORA’s projects. I really hope this conversation will bring about changes for the development of the town and the benefit of the people. The Church should take the lead not only in the education process but find ways to create employment as well as economic development for the young people so that they remain in this area. .It started to rain hard as they were leaving.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 The alarm woke me up at 5 a. It had a restless night. So many ideas to research, so many things to be done. Where is the will of the people, the church, and the civil authorities? Where is the money to come from or how to raise it? We got dressed and by 5:50 am, we loaded the car with Carole’s suitcases, plants, and fruits. At 6:15 am we were on our way to Jacmel. We stop at Carefour du Fort for a few minutes. The road to Jacmel is so winding and narrow. We pass by Fondwa but the gates were closed. When we got to Cyvadier we stopped at Marie Lourdes’ house where she gave us a hearty breakfast of plaintains, breadfruit, dried fish in sauce, and salad. After partaking of this sustenance, we visited the adjoining hotel, Gradier Hotel. Chris, the owner’s son gave me a plant for Anse-a-Veau’s roundabout. I am so grateful for their generosity. I hope it will work and the goats will not be able to eat them. We continued pass Raymond Les Bains in Cayes Jacmel to go to Josianne’s House where Carole is spending a few days. We also visited the house she has leased and is fixing to her taste. There is still a lot of work to be done. She talked to the carpenter to explain what she would like to be done. We went back to Lamitye to have lunch. We all ordered lanbi boukannen (grilled conch), fried plaintains and potatoes, rice and beans. It took some time, but everything was well prepared. Finally around 2 pm we left to return to Anse-a-Veau.

We reached the town at 5:30 pm. I refresh a little and ran next door to the notable meeting. The parents’ meeting for the recently opened one-class school opened by the former pastor was not yet over. They were being told that this new venture had to close and it would be best to send the kids to the existing school directed by the Salesians. There were 9 individuals at the notables’ meeting one or two people had left. After each individual introduced themselves: judge, lawyer, engineer, school inspector, teacher, university student, and priests. Funding for some projects must come from the people. They should made to participate on both the work and the finance. At 9 pm, Fr. Louis, Fr. Enel accompanied me to the sisters’ gate. She was anxious about Carole left by herself. She will pray for her. I know she is a strong person and she will see the positive in all she is doing.

Thursday, June 2, 2016 During the night, I heard a dog howling. From childhood, I never liked that sound. It reminded me of my late older brother trying to scare me out of my wits at the age of five while we were in Aquin. It was my first time in that town staying in a large room in a dark strange house. There was a wake for an old lady in the market place or square and he told me that the yelling and yowling were because the walking dead and the lougarous would be roaming in the area. Oh how memories can affect our feelings. At 5 am, I heard the sound of a door being closed. I got out of bed. I wanted to ask Sr. Flor if I could have access to the internet this morning before she left. She said yes, she would leave the computer on. I went to shower and get dressed. By the time, I was finished the two other nuns had started prayer. I stayed outside the chapel and listened in as I had left my breviary inside. I rush to the kitchen to get some coffee before going to mass. I was able to complete the morning prayers and the readings of the day before was celebrated in Kreyòl by Fr Enel. Way to go, Hey! After mass, Fr. Louis came in to do adoration. He did not have a humeral veil to incense or give the blessing with the Eucharistic Host. The church was so dirty, I had already decided I was going to sweep. I asked the sacristan for the broom. Fr. Louis came and chatted with me while I started the left front side where I usually seat. I said he did not need to stay with me as I was alone doing this chore. I promised to do this service for an hour and then leave. At 8:30 am I had done most of the center and open space in the back. The bats in the loft area had dropped so much dirt and their droppings in the back. I had no dustpan to pick up the soil and trash. When I got to the house, I really had to scrub myself clean . I felt so dusty and filthy. Then I had breakfast. I finally was able to read emails, skype Pierre and face time Natalie. It took me an hour to look for my LG phone I knew was in the suitcase. I had to call St. Anthony to help me find it. I panicked at first then I discovered it was in plain sight. I called Carole to find out how she was doing at the beach house. She seems to be enjoying the seashore and setting up her rented place. The sisters and I had lunch. We talked about several things. I asked them if it would be part of their charism and mission to handle the catechetical program for the public school children. They answered in the past the Salesians used to be part of the process of preparing the children for the sacraments not only in the school but for the parish. The two young sisters were excited about this prospect, they can’t wait for the pastor with their superior to connect with the principals of the schools and the inspector to concretize the process. I took some time to print the documents for the camps for the PFST. I started typing my expenses for this trip. When Br. Camille came we discussed the manner to organize the camp, the fair, and the day of solidarity proposed by CORA of NY. I asked him to make an inventory of all he received in the barrel and the didactic materials. I also solicited his assistance to deliver the plant roots for the team that has to plant in the roundabout at the entrance of town. We went to EPSA to meet with the Renesansavo participants to interview which one he would like to hire. Some additional participants showed up. He took all the applications and interviewed all present. Br. Camille explained what he expected from the counselors for the camp. It rained while we were doing the interviews. Claudette took a ride with Br. As she lives also in Brossard. I walked back to the house with David and Wubenson. Sr. Flora was back from Port-au-Prince with the boxes of books she had purchased to build a new library. I had supper alone as they all had eaten already. I joined in the chapel. After prayer we talked for a while before I went to my room to read a little before falling asleep.  

Friday, June 3, 2016 I was coughing in the middle of the night. It seems my chest was heavy. At 5, I woke up and was late for chapel prayer. I stayed outside in the recreation room next to the entrance of the chapel. Got a cup of coffee before going to mass next door. It did not start before 8:20 am. I miss my parish, so much. The mass is always right on time. The priest apologized for the lateness. He had to go to Madian with the deacons who will be consecrated priest tomorrow. Fr. Louis did the adoration afterward and the Laudes. A group of ladies stayed to clean the church in preparation for tomorrow’s consecration. The nuns had breakfast already. They stayed with me and we had a conversation about someone they had hired last year. They made an evaluation and wanted to have her rehired for next year. She could not be a teacher yet but they feel this position of librarian would provide her with practical experience in an educational setting. This year would provide her with the student teaching experience needed. I made arrangement with the driver to be picked-up Saturday afternoon to go to Port-au-Prince. Then I sent a note to Sr. Martha to let her know of my arrival tomorrow afternoon. I talked to Natalie and Mr. Labissiere. In the afternoon, Fr. Enel came thinking I had made arrangement with Sr. to borrow her car to go visit a few of the Nippes’ chapels. I though he had handled that. Sr. F. was resting after three days of travelling I did not want to disturb her. Fr. Enel was happy about the books although that is not what he had expected. He asked me how much he owed me. I gave him the dates to have intention of masses for deceased members of my family when he will be in his parish. Br. Camille came to share with me the choice of the candidates he made for the camp. He will hire six counselors. One or two had past experience working with him and some others had some talents he would like to use. He talked about running a clean and disciplined camp. He is adamant about giving breakfast. It will be heavier or lighter depending on the meal that will be provided for lunch. He will have to go to Miragoane or Port-au-Prince to buy the big cooking cauldrons to cook the food for the 50-60 people. They need to buy material to teach sewing. When sister came to the galerie, Fr. Enel asked for the car that is why we decided to go to two of the chapels belonging to Anse-a-Veau—St. Michel Archange at Rocher Lavalle and St. Francis de Sale in Baconois. The first one was closed but looks well maintained on a nicely kept property. The second look neglected right next to the cemetery.   There were some pilgrims in that chapel sleeping. One or two people lounging behind the altar, a few others sitting in the pews in the front. They told me they had come from St. Louis in Les Cayes. They said they came here for a few days as they had gotten their prayers answered. They had to come and thank this Saint and also they had gone St. Yves for obtaining their prayers. I was compelled to talk about Jesus, our Savior who heals and grant prayers. The Saints of course will intercede for us. They are model of followers of Christ. I realized these pilgrims were probably doing some syncretism. I called the Holy Spirit in a song and asked Jesus, our only mediator to talk to His loving and merciful Father to be with us and transform our lives to be faithful to Him as He was onto his death to save us. When we got back from this outing, Sr. Flora and I had supper. Then I went to my room to finish packing. I read a little then feeling sleepy turned off the light.

Saturday, June 4, 2016 When the electricity went out, the fan had stopped. I felt the heat under the net. I tossed and turned from 2 am to 4:30 am. I dreamt I was in a huge hotel. I was in my nightgown and I could not find where the room was. Finally, I saw Natalie with a group of people and I asked her where our room was. She replied ‘416’ and I woke up. What was that about? I always dream but some vivid ones remain with me. When I got out of bed, Sr. Lina was in the bathroom. I removed the mosquito net, took off the sheets from the bed, and pillow cases. I swept the floor and dusted the furniture. There was so much dirt on the floor. After the shower, we had breakfast before going to mass. The bishop is coming to ordain three deacons and four priests for the diocese. I stayed at mass until after communion around 11:30. The ceremony was really inspiring. The deacons: Faustin Papatoute, Garry Ocgenor, Junior Vital, Osias Dominique who were consecrated priests. The three Abbés consecretared as transitory deacons: Colbert Ceide, Gaster Souverain, and Johnson Charlotin. The church was filled and the families were dressed to kill. Many phones were used to video tape or take pictures. Thank goodness I had taken a seat in the middle of the church near an exit. A few songs were done in Kreyòl but everything else was in French. The Chorale Pax Angeli of L’Asile sung at the mass. At the sisters, I carried my suitcases to the front. The driver was already waiting, he had tried to call me while I was still at mass. Sr. Flora insisted that Marilyn give me a boxed lunch. She gave me a container of food for me and Mr. Batraville and a Tampico juice for him. I drank some more of the coffee from this morning and some coconut water. I said goodbye and left the tips for the help with Sister F.

After travelling for an hour or so, Mr. Batraville stopped after Miragoane to eat the food. At Petit Goave I stopped again to buy ‘dous Makòs’. The slices were very thin each cost a 100 gdes. It tasted fresh, I shared half with the driver. We continued on the road. The idea of making a campaign to ‘jere fatra’ (managed trash) is still on my mind. This should be a major reason for demonstration and request for change in government authorities. We stopped by Alix to hand him the bag of socks Ginette had sent for him. He was busy at the pharmacy.   While in heavy traffic from Delma to Tabarre, I called Sandrah to say goodbye. I was not successful in reaching Patrick. She was on her way to Sault D’Eau. She said her chauffeur would be able to bring me to the airport tomorrow morning as Mr. B. was not available and I had not yet heard from Mr. L. I finally arrived at the sisters at 4:45 pm. At 6 pm, we had Rosary and vespers. We had supper at 7 pm. I used the internet to confirm my flight and print my boarding pass. In the cell, I tried to read before sleeping but it was really warm.

Sunday, June 5, 2016 I woke up so early—3 am. I forced myself to go back to sleep. At 5 am, I heard some activities outside, I got ready to go outside to the lavatories/showers. We had breakfast at 6:30 before crossing the street to attend mass. It actually started at 7:15 am. I sat outside in the yard. I could hardly see the altar, the celebrant or anyone working in the ceremony. The TV screens were not functioning. We could hear the readings, prayers and music through the big speakers placed all around the church. The mass ended at 8:05 am and we weaved our way through the heavy traffic to cross over Carefour Fleurio taking our lives in our hands having all the cars, taptap, and motorcycles coming in all directions toward us. My sister’s chauffeur called at 9:10 am to tell me he was outside the gate waiting for me. I had already taken the suitcases from the room. I said goodbye and my thank you to Sr. Josaphat. Sr. Martha had left to drop 2 others to another parish to celebrate the feast of Sacred Heart. There was absolutely no traffic going to the airport. I tipped the driver then a porter dropped me to the jet blue counter. The bag was 54 pounds. When I weighed it was 49.60. I removed the shoes and put in my carry on it dropped to 51 pounds. So these things seem to be inaccurate. The Jet Blue agent asked me if I wanted to take the plane that was leaving at 11 am as I was early. I had to pay $50. As I did not have my credit card, I said no. He never advised me that I could put myself on a standby list if the plane had many unoccupied seats I could have flown earlier. Security was quick. However, as I was leaving the counter, the security agent called me back. He pulled out a zip log bag that I had on the side of my bag with a small packet of tissue. He handed the clear plastic bag to the person ahead of me to put his medication. I said sarcastically: I am so glad I was able to help someone. I will add some extra bags next time I travel. I don’t think the agent understood. Although he was doing a good thing, he acted tactlessly without asking me first. I went to buy the rhum for Pierre and my brother upstairs. I recognized the lady at the counter which is a friend of Daniel, my husband’s brother. I told, Marie Alice Renaud, that Daniel will be travelling soon and she will have a chance to see him after so many years. I waited a long time at the airport. I made calls to let a few people that I was leaving or thank them. I met a Salesian, Sr. Altagrace, taking the same flight I was. She was going to attend the funeral of another older sister’s mother somewhere in Brooklyn. I gave her the donation I wanted to give to Sr. Charitable as I was unable to visit her this time. By 1:15 because of the delay, jet blue offered the passengers juice and chips after a few passengers complained and made a raucous. We had to wait two extra hours. 4 American planes landed and departed and some other airlines too.   Finally at 4:20 we were able to board the plane that should have left at 2:45 pm. The plane went through some turbulence over the Dominican Republic. After about an hour and ½ the pilot said the plane had to be rerouted to a longer way and that it would take us more time to reach to NY. Then there was an announcement asking if there was a doctor on board for a sick patient. When we land in NY all the passengers had to remain seated until EMS arrived, then it was the police. I was feeling real tired and very hungry. The chips were not enough they were even making me feel sick. I had eaten my piece of sandwich at 11 am and now it was 11 pm. I was ready to ‘deplane’ as soon as the way for me was cleared. I had to walk out to get receipt from the immigration. I finally was able to use the bathroom. I was to get out after security, the ropes were all around not on my pathway. No one was on line as a gentleman started at the end of the rope, I asked him if he would allow me to go ahead of him by going under the ropes. He said yes. The rope got loose. Two officer at the end of the line called me out and said you better fix that. Again I asked the gentleman to fix it for me. He was gracious and did it for me. The officer made a comment about me. By now I felt I was going to pass out. I was exhausted. I rushed to the taxi line. Sr. Altagrace came to help me put my suitcase to the lobby. I put the case of rhum in the big suitcase. I could hardly give the driver my address and tell him what best route to take. I called my husband and asked him if he could prepare a soup or something to eat. Thank goodness he had a bouillon ready when I got home. He literally had to carry me inside. I felt so weak and nauseated. I ate a peach and a few spoon of the soup. I got undressed and went to bed. My stomach was upset but I try to sleep. What a long day that was. I am home and in my own bed. Praise be to God!

Epilogue

It took a few days for me to recuperate from the fatigue of the travel day. After a few days, I started to reflect on my trip: Did I accomplished what I had intended to do? Yes, in many ways. I visited the farm and experienced a training sponsored by VHFI. As a board member I wanted to experience the impact this initiative has. I will be able to better understand proposals, evaluation discussed and decisions taken. For CORA I would say some things were completed: getting the supplies shipped and delivered; discussing the process to hire the counselors, putting the materials together, determining the criteria to accept the participants in the camp. I still have some planning to do for the courses to be taught and the daily scheduling. I did not have the means to start working on the directory (bottin) in Haiti as planned. Two major groups in NY and many individuals contributed funds towards this camp and now it is up to the Renesansavo graduates & the PFST on the ground to make it a reality. “Keep control of yourself in all circumstance; … and perform your whole duty as a servant of God.”   

2 Timothy 4:5

My motto as usual is: “At least she tried!” — recognize the failures of the past, evaluate the present, and move forward with hope!

 

 

Travel Log 2015 – July 13 – August 9 – Week 1

Tuesday, July 8, 2015
Woke up at 3 am ready to go to Haiti again. The taxi service came promptly at 3:25 am and I was on my way to JFK. One of the suitcases was over the limit. I had to remove some items. Thank God I had brought a Trader Joe’s bag. When I had to go to the security line, the agent had me put the carry on in the size bag checker. The front pocket was protruding slightly and unable to go down the chute. She insisted I remove some items. Then she said I could not go in because I had three items in my hand not two. I said there were a few other individuals I know who were taking the same flight and that they might be able to take the third bag for me. She said then I had to stay out away from the security line until the people I was expecting showed up and she was adamant about not letting me through until then. I said: “Lord you know all the items that are here are necessary for the program. The crucifix could not go in the suitcase. I need an angel. I need help.” After 15 minutes next to the agent, I asked her again. She would not waiver in her decision. I asked if there was another entry to the security line, otherwise I might miss my acquaintances. As I moved toward the other point of entry, I praised God for the Help He would provide. I saw a man with a Bible in His hand and a jar of peanut butter. I asked if he was going to Haiti. He explained why he was standing there with the jar. He had removed it from the suitcase that was 53 pounds. I asked if he could put his bible and the jar in my bag and go to security after I showed him what was in the bag. He graciously accepted. His name is Weekly Rene, a pastor of a church in South Orange. He is going to preach a three day crusade in Les Cayes. While waiting at gate 23, I saw Dr. Duchatellier, Nancy’s brother, who is going to Iles-a-Vache on a medical mission. I also called out to both Mrs. Elsie Labissiere, and Mrs. Clemence (Keke) Labissiere. We waited to be boarded and I made conversation with the pastor about his mission. The theme to be preached was “Ann eseye Jezi”- Let’s try Jesus. We talked about the way he preaches and he explained the steps/process he uses. He ensures the style, the clarity of style, humor, harmony and persuasion. Boarding went pretty smoothly and the flight was without incident. Thank goodness I had brought a sandwich. We were served cookies or chips. When we got in Port-au-Pince, immigration was done quickly. After paying for the cart, I had to wait a little for the suitcases to reach the carousel. Marie Noelle and her husband came to say hello and help me grab the bags. They had arrived on an earlier flight and were waiting for their uncle who had disembarked with me in order to go to Iles-a-Vache as well. I went straight to Digicel to see if the phone was functional and to add minutes. I called Mr. Batraville and along with Mrs. Labissiere brought the suitcases to the pick-up truck. We stopped by the Jean Paul II School to drop the check sent from the Ladies of Charity. Elcie and I saw Sr. Martha who showed us the construction being done to replace their container homes. Then we went to Mrs. Labissiere’s house to get the ‘drum’ shipped beforehand. We stopped at a city office to obtain an insurance/license. While waiting, I purchased two coconuts; one for me and one for the driver. We filled the gas tank before heading to Anse-a-Veau. What traffic! What heat! Yet we had to stop for another rope to hold the boxes under the tarp to prevent anyone from seeing and grabbing them from the open pick-up. We left Port-au-Prince around 3:15 pm and arrived around 6:15 pm. We went to Mr. Labissiere’s house where I resided last summer to pick up the “drum”, suitcase, and fan left there. I ordered food from Jacky’s for Mr. Batraville. He wanted meat (no pork, no chicken) with fried plantains. There were a few male neighbor’s watching us pick up heavy stuff from the car to bring in the house and from the house to the truck. No one offered to help us load or unload. Inconsiderate voyeurs! We got to the Sisters’ place and put everything on the back porch until I could go through everything to sort the materials according to purpose and destination areas.
Sr. Flora welcomed us and we had supper – potato and plantain chips with fried fish. Mr. Batraville came back later to get the generator offered from the Sister’s house to CORA. Sr. Flora and I discussed some of the things we would like to accomplish for the program. I went to my quarters and unpacked a little. The sink was leaking, I would have to report this to sister in the morning. First problem encountered in the renovated space. It was very dark at night, I would need a night light. Thank goodness I always have a small flashlight with me in case I would need to move around.

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Adapting to a new room and bed take some adjustment. I woke up several times during the night. I got up from the bed when I heard the alarm at 5 am. The shower was functioning. What a delight no pouring of water from a bucket. I like what Sr. did to make these two rooms ready for us. She had towels and all accessories ready even with little cups of candy wrapped in colored cellophane with a welcome card. I had difficulty opening the room to get out. When I arrived by the front gate, Sr. Flora came to open it for me to get to the church. I wanted to attend the 6 am mass. Father Enel was the celebrant. There were about fifteen people in attendance. Afterwards, Sr. Solange, Sr. Flora and I went to the chapel for morning prayer using the breviary. At 7:15, we had breakfast. Talked to Sr. Flora of what was needed for the project. She agreed on taking the responsibility of the kitchen for the participants at EPSA. She will go to Port-au-Prince to buy food wholesale. She will hire the cook who prepares food for the kids during the school year. She wanted to do the food at her place than transport it so that she can have a better control of what is being used and needed. Then I went to EPSA to talk with Fr. Enel and visit the space to be used by the participants and the residents from Jacmel. The space was adequate but I required they do a thorough cleaning, get an extra mattress for the third bed, and bring water for the household use. There is no electricity in the village. I have to provide lanterns to them. Anelio and Marie, his assistant, will work on preparing the space on Friday and Saturday. I have to equip the house with all necessities such as toiletries for the bathroom, bedsheets, and towels. The door to the outside bathroom is rotten and can’t be closed. I felt that the walls of the rooms were filthy. They needed to be painted but Anelio said I would have to purchase the paint from Miragoane. In a barrel shipped ahead, I had paint brushes, ‘sand paper’, rollers, etc. EPSA’s kitchen has two ovens but not having been used for a long time needs a thorough cleaning. The space in front of the kitchen, the lounge area, was muddy and needed clean-up as well. One wooden back door to the storage area is half broken and the other entrance door to the generator is rotting as well. Fr. Enel as well as Anelio agreed that the entrance to the storage area should be walled in and the door to the generator should be made of metal. More money to be spent but will make the storage room more secure. To welcome people, the space provided must be neat, attractive, and safe.
When I got back to the house I reside in, Sister was trying to add another bed into my room for our guests. They were changing my bed into a bunk bed. There was still a need to buy another mattress and a fan. During lunch, we had a pleasant conversation about my life and why I was doing this project while the rooms were being fixed. I could not sit upright in the bed on the lower rank nor could I climb the top one. Sr. Flora said that I looked dejected. She asked that the bed be returned the way it was before. Alleluia! I would not want to do this for four weeks. She added the third bed in the other room but it prevented access to the door. When the guests come, I will propose a different set up. We can’t have the door blocked in such a way. I started to empty the suitcases and place the items by categories. Supper time quickly arrived, Sister asked if I had some email addresses as she wanted to write some notes to some individuals. I walked around town with Sr. Solanges who has to exercise because she has phlebitis. She does not want to take the drugs recommended. She wants to do alternative and natural remedies. When I got to my quarters, I started some paperwork in preparation for Monday. I put the labels in the badges and labels on the folders. Sr. Flora came to ask me about budget money for some items and food as she is not going to be around. I gave her from what I had. Anelio had come to find out where I was staying. He needed money to buy soap for the lady to wash the sheets or other materials in the house village for the participants. I had no change I gave him more than he needed.

Friday, July 10, 2015
Woke up at 5 am anyway after a restless night. Prayed and dressed to go to mass at 6 am. Msgr. Rebecca was the celebrant. Sr. Solanges and I had breakfast after our morning prayers. I had to continue unpacking the containers to find out exactly what we have. I talked to Junior, a young man who is learning ironwork. I sent him to work with Anelio to speed up the clean-up process. He bargained his pay for the day. I had lunch with Sr. Solonges as Sr. Flora had to go to Port-au-Prince to buy things. Sr. Solanges left to go to Port-au-Prince for her studies and retreat. I went to EPSA to see the status of the work (classroom, lunch room, kitchen, and little house). I am praying that they do not run out of paint. After the visit to the site, I took the road by the cemetery to go to Mrs. Leblanc. On the way, I talked to Albert Larionne, a classmate of my husband in elementary school. We discussed the upcoming festival and what needs to be done. When we got to the convent, Sr. Flora was back from shopping (food, fans, and oven). She tries so much to equip the place to that we can feel comfortable. She has a good sense of hospitality. I went to my quarters early. I finished the badges and went to sleep but was awoken by laments and a raucous of music and loud talking. I wondered if this was a party or a funeral wake. It seems that I fell asleep again until my internal alarm woke me up.

Saturday, July 11, 2015
I purposefully did not set the alarm. As in the US, Saturdays I do my private prayers and scripture reading of the mass only and do not attend mass. At 7 am, Sr. Flora called to find out if I was okay. I got dressed and went to prayer with her. I did not feel like eating much but I had a piece of watermelon and a boiled egg. I felt so full. At home I usually have only coffee at that time of day.
Sr. Flora and I agreed that out of town participants should be here at her place as we have to provide them with three meals a day. They will need electricity to do their work and security for the equipment borrowed from Cine Institute. We would have had to fill one of the barrels with water for them but there is no way to get it up there easily. Sister suggested to move her kitchen helpers and provide the boys with that room which has six beds. Sister also lent me her computer to type the expense incurred so far to repair and equip the house as well as the food purchased. When the driver, Mr. Kesnel, came he went to Labissiere’s house to get the cooler. No one was there. I dropped all the materials for the program: t-shirts, caps, a few plates, the soaps, tissue paper, and other scholastic materials. I forgot to get the 5-gallon bottles to fill at the treatment plant in Miragoane. I called Valescot at 11:15 to say that I was on my way to Jacmel. As suggested by Patricia of From Here to Haiti, I stopped by Manolo to pick-up a cross donated by a friend of Kanna for the chapel of Joly, Haiti. Msgr. Rebecca had passed by the inn and Manolo gave him the cross. We met Valescot at a gas station by Marche Geffrard then we proceeded to Cine Institute to get the equipment they had accepted to lend him. We visited the cave while we were there. On our way back to the main road we picked up Antonio. On our way to Anse-a-Veau I had them both tell me a little about their lives. Kesnel is a fast driver. We did the road back in 2 hours and 50 minutes. We arrived at 5:30 pm and took all the equipment down. Introduced the two young men to Sister Flora. The driver, the two boys, and I sat down for supper. As we were eating, there was a downpour. After eating, we showed the young men their room. The “bèt lapli” flies gave me a hard time, they were so numerous invading the room I thought it was a plague descending on the area. I had to shut off the light after trying to get rid of them.

Sunday, July 12, 2015
Prayed in my room and went to breakfast at 7:30. Mass was scheduled for 8 am and did not begin before 8:30. There were 32 confirmandi. The Bishop did not come for the ceremony he empowered the priests to celebrate this sacrament. After lunch, Anotnio, Valescot and I went around town (upper and lower). We visited the old Frères residence and school. Passed by the renovated Calvaire and made pictures. Guerin’s memorial head stone and the square were completely redone. As soon as we were back to the house, a torrential rain fell. This will make the pathways very muddy to go through the short cut but the people were complaining about the drought. I typed the request for expenditures for Sr. Flora. Then went to the CORA Haiti meeting at Mrs. Leblanc downtown. Mr. Cerisier called the meeting to order. In attendance were Marjorie Lescobette, Edith Lesperance, Kettly Degrammond Piverver, Yvrose Gassant, Frantzi Benoit, Edèv, Lesperance Palmier, Mr. Leblanc, Mrs. Leblanc, Jackson Morrisseau. We discussed the role of Renesansavo in the preparation of the fair. Came back with Mrs. Leblanc’s son. Gave him the computer to see what he could do to fix it for my use. Talked to Antonio and Valescot for their background info for their filming. I prepared last minutes folders, and materials for tomorrow.
Week 1 (1) Week 1 (2) Week 1 (3) Week 1 (4) Week 1 (5) Week 1 (6)

Travel Log 2015 – July 13 – August 9 – Week 2

Monday, July 13, 2015
Woke up finally at 5 am to pray after tossing in bed for a while. Got prepared by 6:30 and went to the refectory by 6:45 am. Told the two guys that I would be leaving soon. As it had rained so heavily during the night, the path was really muddy. I verified that the classroom’s door and shutters were opened. I met Marie, the assistant custodian. She helped me set up the lunch area and the lunch tables. I asked her to make an inventory of what was there in the storage area and to wash the dishes and utensils from last year and the ones that I had brought with me. She needs a small chair so that she does not have to bend over the washtubs on the floor to do the dishes or a table. I had to tape on the wall some posters, list of words covered last year, and other materials related to last session.
Some participants arrived early. I had them help me give out the badges and folders like last year. Most participants came on time. We all hugged and were glad for this opportunity to be reunited. We did our regular routines consisting of prayer, deep breathing, singing, and word of the day before I talked about the plan for the day and the revised schedule for this year. Some were unaware of these changes, others were unhappy that the trips were eliminated. I gave out the different colored t-shirts for each team by lottery. They could not decide which one to choose and were making a fuss. “They did not like the neon color. I gave each team leader a whistle. Then it took some time to choose their caps—some wanted to match cap with the color of t-shirt, others wanted a particular color.
After the break, I distributed the five Sony digital cameras to each team leader and explained that they were a gift in memory of Mr. Fortune Georges of Sault D’eau donated by his daughter Mona. At the end of this session they will be given to EPSA along with the 1 Terabyte external drive, tripod, and DMI cable for a possible class in photography/recording.
Valescot of Cine Institute gave them an overview in the use of taking pictures and video taking. We had to interrupt as lunch had finally arrived at 12 noon. We have no car for our use, the cook had to send 4 people carrying the cauldrons through the streets, up the hill to us in the University. It took two trips to bring all the food. The participants were surprised to get a full dinner –rice and beans, chicken, fried plantains, salad (shredded cabbage and carrots)–as I had said refreshments.
After lunch, we resumed the camera lessons. Then we had about ½ an hour to review in their team what they planned to accomplish as work during this session. We finished promptly at 2 pm. Meanwhile Blaise Wilson a new participants who wanted to teach in the program and recommended by a friend, Jean Mirvil had finally arrived. As I was unable to interview him before to assess his philosophy and vision if it corresponded with the ideal I was trying to convey, I asked him to wait until the next day to introduce him to the assembly. I was also trying to discuss with a possible ironworker about making a door for the kitchen. I knew he increased the price regardless of the actual cost because I was diaspora. Sister was unable to cash a check because money had not been cleared although it was more than a week since the transfer was made. It was really annoying to have to go to another town to do this transaction and not being able to complete it. Sister had to buy the food wholesale for the house and the project before she went on retreat. Not everything runs smoothly here.
Three youngsters came and asked to be part of the program. I had to refuse because of our policies. The participants must be there for two consecutive summers. I got their names and numbers in case we had some other activities we could call on them. It was good that some youngster heard of the program and wanted to be part of it.
After class it was raining so hard the whole team (Valescot, Antonio, Blaise and myself) had to wait at EPSA until the rain subsided. When we got to the house, we each went to do our separate activities. I had to research for St. Francis prayer in French on the internet. Sister came back from her errands, we finalized the expense reports. After supper, we all watch the soccer game—Haiti vs Hondurans in the communal room. Haiti won 1-0. We downloaded the songs I wanted to teach and went to bed at 10:00 pm. Will they be able to learn the songs this way? I know Myriam would have done a great job teaching those two new songs. I sure miss her.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Prayed at 5 am. Prepared the lesson for the day asking God to send His Spirit so that I could communicate well the social teaching of the Catholic Church. Today, I would cover two of the seven principles suggested by the US Bishops based on the different encyclical promulgated by the popes since ‘Rerum Novarum’ in 1891. I ate breakfast alone, sister had already left early in the am. The boys were not ready. I left at 7:15, they had not come out of their room. I went to the Center, opened the office, dining area, and kitchen. Talked to Anelio and Marie about the needs for the day.
After our routines, the participants went in the field for the work session. Upon their return, they gave a report of their outings. I noticed that this time they did address the authority involved in their area (concentration) of expertise.
I taught the ‘Life and Dignity of The Human Person’ and ‘Call to Family, Community, and Participation’. Lunch was late for me as there was not enough food for everyone. The white rice was finished, there was some ‘kalalou’ left but the meat was completely gone.
At 2 pm, I went back to the house. I printed CORA’s festival agenda for Msgr. Rebecca and left it at his house as I had promised him when I had met with him. Then I typed the questionnaire for social justice. I tried to Skype home but was unable to do so because I had forgotten the name or password. We had dinner around 7 pm. It was Valescot’s birthday. I asked Mrs. Leblanc to send the mouse for the non-functioning computer for me. I stayed late to type but tired I crossed over to my quarters.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Woke up as early as usual but at 3 am I had received a text message from Labissiere telling me the name of the instruction for the Red Cross. I called him after my shower at 6:30 am. He said the instructor would be there at 8. This morning I had a piece of watermelon and a piece of yam with fish sauce with my coffee. Quite unusual for me in the am but I enjoyed the breakfast. I left without the boys to get things organized and ready at the site. The path was still muddy from the night showers. No one will do anything about improving the area. On the way out of the blue a lady asked me if I could give her 100 gourdes ($2 us). I said I carried no money. I wanted to say if you do something about the path I will pay you but I thought otherwise.
We spent most of the day at EPSA. Noel Natant taught one of the requested subjects to Red Cross– ‘First Response’ by non-trained personnel: We learned what to do/what not to do in an emergency situation or trauma – individuals in choc…
Lunch came early. We had chicken, salad, rice and beans. Food was enough for everyone. Edeline took her role of chief chef. She is very effective and disciplined.   In the afternoon we did some work by assigned team. At the house, I worked on the translation questionnaire for social analysis and evaluation. Annuel, treasurer of CORA-NY, visited me. Br. Batraville dropped the bonbòn (gas) for the oven with the 3 washtubs for EPSA. The bonbòn according to Annuel are the clamp one not the twisted one. There were no connection delivered. He assured he would solve this problem for me.
I had asked the cook to bake a cake for Valescot as it had been his birthday yesterday. I only had pancake mix. Marilyn did a nice ‘cake’ and decorated the room and the whole kitchen staff came to sing for him. He was very happy. Anelio came to pick up one of the ‘drum’ to fill with water for EPSA’s kitchen. I went to my quarters to type and read my emails.

Thursday, July 16, 2015
I woke up at 6am. Did not hear the bells calling for mass. I gave some items to be washed by the laundry lady ‘lesivyè’. Then went to EPSA. The custodians showed me the table that was built for the kitchen as I had requested. He said he had bargained for it. I felt that was positive. I paid it right away.
After the team assignments for the fair as described by CORA, the teams went out to the field. They came back to give a quick status report of what they had accomplished. Mrs. Leblanc came with the person to do the door for EPSA. He asked for 1,700 HT to build the door, the frame, and provide the lock and keys. He will not do the installation.
Fr. Enel came to the office and in our conversation presented his vision to equip EPSA with a dorm, fence, and improve the standard of the school. I ordered a desk for the classroom.
In the afternoon, I had each team take one of the five remaining principles to teach to the larger group. They had to come up with concrete example how this principle was applied in Haiti. Fr. Smarth called and gave me the name of the person to present about the application of social justice in the Haitian Culture– Chenet Jean-Baptiste. He also mentioned his just released book about the history of the church of Haiti. I promised to get a copy and if he wished to give me two other sets in consignment. I would try to sell them during the festivities in Anse-a-Veau. Jacky, the restaurant owner, was asking for forks and knives he had lent us last year. I really don’t remember which one were his and how many.I talked Jean Remy about the water situation at EPSA. He said that the people refuse to pay the required fee to get it that is why we had to haul water from a different area of the town. I had supper by myself. The boys were playing soccer outside. Blaise was busy working in his room. He later asked me to use the internet. I was watching NBC news with Lester Holtz. I love watching the news and this was the first time I was able to do so since I was in Haiti. I finally was able to open a new skype account under the name Marika Roumain (my pen name). Labissiere called and said that his mother was in the house and that there was a small bag for me with computer ribbons and night lamps.

Friday, July 17, 2015
Had some type of restless night. Finally, I got up at 5:30 and did my prayers. I did not hear the bells ring for mass. I do miss the communal prayer of thanksgiving. I got dressed and went to breakfast—coffee, fruits, eggs and avocados. I left at 7:30 as usual. I went the long way around to get to EPSA. I wanted to go over keeping track of project expenses. I had Yves Dor prepare some of the sheets needed. Three peopled asked to be excused for the day. I am really annoyed by these absences.
For lunch we had chicken, rice and beans. The participants were not so responsive today. Two other groups had to present their groups’ social justice principles and how it is applied in Haiti. Something was not altogether enthusiastic in their learning or is it me reading this attitude. At payroll, some elected to keep their week advance to be collected at the end of the whole month all at once.
Right after the session I went to handle some financial issues with Mrs. Leblanc on the expenses of the program. As I had felt all day that everything was a little off kilter, I went to bed very early. Electricity stopped in the middle of the night. I noticed beause the fan shut off. I don’t know the reason.

Saturday, July 18, 2015
Of course, I awoke several time during the night thinking and praying about the program. Finally, when I heard the church bells, I got up to pray. At the third ring, I got dressed and cross over to the cathedral. We were about 11 people present. I still don’t get it. Why open such a big space for so few attendees. It would have been better to have mass in a chapel on a daily basis and on Sunday open the church for liturgy. It would also be symbolic as well. The whole people of God is expected and awaited to worship on this celebratory day of the Resurrection.
I had coffee on the porch it so much cooler than in the room. The electricity had shut off during the nights and was still off this morning when I left for church. I called Kesnel, the driver, around 8 am. I asked if he could bring us to Brossard and Joly then Miragoane to fill the bottles of water for the cooler.
We visited Brossard but the Brother were not at their house nor at the transformation farm. They were in retreat in Carefour. We saw the corn mill, the peanut grinder, the manioc mill, the pepinière, and the cauldrons. We proceeded to Joly were I saw Franky and made pictures to send to Kanna. They had not yet received the cross sent for the chapel. Franky complained that the status of St. Andre, the patron saint, was in complete disrepair. He wished that Patricia could repair it for him or find another one from the States. On the way from Miragoane we stopped at Manolo’s Inn and at Madian’s beach. There was a big party and fair at the beach.
When we returned to the house, we all watched a documentary of the clash between the university and the government of Aristide. I read my emails, then it was already time for supper – a bouillon cabrit. The boys went to the community room to watch the soccer game between Jamaica and Haiti. I went to my quarters and skyped Pierre. Although I had just eaten, I felt so tired I went straight to bed.

Sunday, July 19, 2015
Prayed and had an early breakfast. Then went to mass. Msgr. Rebecca was the celebrant. There were many baptisms and first communions. The preaching was very long (40 mns). He was not talking about the readings of the day but doing a catechism class. After mass, I updated some of the financial reports then started typing the blog. Danielle, Kettly and Carlo arrived around 3:30 pm. I welcomed them and showed each one of them the assigned seats in the dining room and set up the sisters have here. I introduced them to our quarters and of the rules of the house about breakfast, lunch, and supper.
In the evening, we walked around town from the Salesians to the square down the main road to the street leading pass the cemetery back to the sisters. After supper we went back to our quarters—Danielle and Kettly shared the room next to mine separated by the bathroom. Carlo accepted to stay with the three other male participants next to the main part of the house.
Week 2 (0) Week 2 (1) Week 2 (2) Week 2 (3) Week 2 (4) Week 2 (5) Week 2 (6) Week 2 (10) Week 2 (11)

Travel Log 2015 July 13 – August 9 – Week 3

Monday, July 20, 2015
I woke up at 5 am and prepared to go to mass at 6 am. Msgr. Rebecca was the celebrant. Quickly at 7 am I ran back to get breakfast before going to EPSA. A participants was already present. The Red Cross instructor came to do another session for us. Mr. Frantz Offin who is representative of Risk and Management talked about the different organizations (office) and committees responsible to assume responsibility in case of disaster—before, during, and after. The participants admired the breadth of knowledge of the facilitators/instructors for both sessions. We invited the instructors to join us for lunch and gave them a stipend to defray the cost of transportation. After lunch, the participants went to work to continue the clean-up process of the town in their field areas in preparation for the feast day of the town.
In the afternoon I went to give an image of the Old Testament Trinity by Andrei Rublev to the children who had made their first communion on Sunday. We talked about their love for Jesus and His for us. I explained what the artist wanted to represent and have them described what they saw in the image. I talked about Abraham’s hospitality and God being a community of love. I also asked them if they were crazy for Jesus as I was. I asked if they ever danced for Jesus as David did in front of the covenant ark (2 Sam 6:14). Then we danced and sang for Jesus. We had a fun moment. [I saw one of them a few days later in the street, she looked at me, smiled and waved].   Msgr. Rebecca asked Sr. Marie to give each child a rosary. Then Msgr. Rebecca told me that the reception on the feast day would be done at the Sisters. I wondered if the sisters knew about this because I had not seen any preparation being done at the place.
I started typing on the porch as there was a nice breeze under the shade of the mango tree. We waited a while for supper. I was really hungry. I eat three meals a day here unlike at home and yet I felt hungry. Weird! Sr. Solanges is back from her training. She arranged the dining table even though we were using the sister’s assigned seats. We had a great discussion on political responsibilities and rights of the elected and voters. Went back to my quarters, I did some more typing until I felt really sleepy, Carlo, Danielle’s husband, had installed a net:“mousticaire’ for me to keep out the mosquitoes. However in the middle of the night it fell on me. I guess the tape holding the hook was not strong enough.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
I thought I had put the alarm to wake me up at 5 am. A flash of light coming from Sister’s room woke me up. I made a short prayer and decided to get dress to go to mass. I was late. I had not heard the three bells ring. Fr. Enel was the celebrant. Mrs. Leblanc was at the mass too. I asked her if she had flower plants to plant in the flower beds outside the school’s wall. She had none. So the participants of team 2 and I swept the street around the St. Joseph Educator School going toward the cemetery and Rue Goin from the church toward the entrance of EPSA. We had lunch of rice and beans, chicken, salad and fries. Mr. Labissiere came to visit us at EPSA. Edev Edward member of CORA-Haiti also stopped by to talk to the group. Danielle presented her lesson on communication and ESL, Kettly assisted. They both gave a small group instruction after class. Blaised stayed to close and bring the food wheelbarrow back. I took a shower after they cut the pipes outside to let the water flow from the bathtub which was backing up. I went to sit on the porch where it was cool. This morning I had given Sr. Solanges some money to get the outside walls painted for the week-end events. The priests had planned to use the porch and interior yard to set up for the luncheon.
Carlo fixed the mosquito net for me with strong tapes. Then I went to a meeting at Mrs. Leblanc with the members of CORA Haiti for the preparation of the festivities. When I came back to my quarters, I made my nightly prayers and went to sleep. I was awaken by cats fighting at 2 am. Then the electricity stopped and I had no fan to keep me cool.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
As usual I got ready for mass at 6 am. Fr. Enel was the celebrant. Today is Marie Madeleine’s feast day. Mrs. Leblanc was at mass too. At the house, I saw Sr. Solanges for a few minutes. Valescot came early out of his room while I was still having breakfast ready to tackle this new day. Today we had to review the schedule for the days of festivities. Different teams will be responsible for different activities. [On Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we had to schedule flexible time for the teams according to their assignment.]. At lunch time we had white rice, beans sauce, and chicken. I had to make sure the beans were measured in the plates otherwise they spill it on the floor carrying the food to their seats. They are sometimes oblivious of the mess they make for the personnel.
When I got to the house, I started a clean-up of the porch that is all around the house. Then had two young boys help me pick up the dried weeds in the yard. Then I gave them two small plastic football as rewards. They had been donated to CORA. They ran home to show their parents the balls. They were so happy to have earned the balls and proud of their hard work helping me clean-up.
Danielle, Carlo, and Kettly went to Jacky’s to experience the local cuisine. However, they returned disappointed they had not been served what they really wanted. They ended taking supper at the house. I had Blaise help me download the “one day at a time” sung by Christi Lane for the group to learn. I typed a little and then did my nightly prayers. I could not fall asleep although I felt tired.

Thursday, July 23, 2015
I had a sleepless night. I could not even concentrate on prayers or saying a rosary. There was no mass this morning. The triduum started today in the afternoon. I stayed at the University to handle the food for the participants and the marching band while the historical team and some other members went to Joly to visit the Acao fort. While preparing and waiting, Mr. Labissiere called to say that Dr. Dupiton was close by in Petite Riviere. He had told her to go to the rectory of the cathedral as it was easier to locate. I called her telephone and left a message. As soon as she reached the rectory she called. In a few minutes I walked to meet her and her husband. I showed her room at the Sisters. We also made accommodation for her driver to be in the boys’ room.
Guy, Dr. Dupiton’s husband, came to EPSA with her where we had to handle a situation. The group working at the beach asked that their food be sent with the two emissaries they had sent on a motorcycle. In the morning we had decided that everyone would be returning to eat here. Then the food team was responsible for the cleanup and set up for the band who was to be served food before they marched at 3:30 pm. The food is not cooked on the premises. The cook had already sent the wheelbarrow with the food. The kitchen in the university is not yet equipped with an operational oven nor has no cooking wares.
Thank goodness a barrel which had arrived this morning and they had some plastic utensils for the Gala and some small cups. We also found in it a box of aluminum foil and plastic containers.
The three of us packed some food to send to them although I was disappointed in their lack of planning and the tone taken by a member that if I did not want to give them the food, they will try to buy some. I wondered where they would find it where they were! We also had to rummage through some items to find some sturdy bags to put the food in addition to the 12 bottles of juice/soda as well as the plates. The girl in the passenger seat of the motto had to carry all this behind the driver of the moto. Neither had helmets or any protective gears to go on these rocky pathways. As a mother I felt quite concerned about their safety but they were only bent on pleasing their friends. While I was handling this ‘crisis,’ the band arrived earlier than expected, I asked the food team to welcome and entertain them. We had not yet received the drinks and some other platters from the Sisters’ kitchen. The leader had them seat in the classroom and put their instrument there. The team members introduced themselves and had the band members do the same and they sang our anthem song “zanmi” for them. The director of music decided to walk around town while the food was being transported up the hill to the university. This allowed us some preparation time to set up for them.
However, they came back at 3:15. The team waited more than two hours for them wandering what to do while the food was getting cold. After feeding the band members, they had to go change into their uniform (red t-shirts) representing Music of the Heart. The Lodging/ transportation team came to provide security along the ‘parcours’-route. We had a rope on the side of the band held by the security team. At last, the band started from the university ground and went down town past the cemetery to one entrance of town (the bridge). At each stop, they played the national anthem and hymn to Anse-a-Veau. Some people followed the band along the streets. At each major stops, Witerson talked about CORA and the need to be united and to do positive things for the town such a keeping it clean. The food group walked alongside the band with a cooler to provide water at the stops intervals. We had ran out of water at EPSA’s cooler. I had to go to the sisters to borrow a 5-gallon bottle and fill a dozen 8 oz bottles.   The two team working in security and passing drinks did a good job. When the parade was over, we spent a few minutes to take pictures and thank the marching band for their performance. I was exhausted walking back to my quarters. After some rest, Dr. Dupiton and I attended mass that was being said in memory of a friend who had been killed.
We, all seven guests at the sisters, had supper then got ready to go to the conference on Anse-a-Veau by Kesnel Regis. It was planned for 7:30 but it did not begin until 8:45 pm. During the talk it started to pour. We had to move under the main ‘choukoun’ which is 4 feet away from the speaker’s stage. We could hardly hear because of the noise made by the generator. Now it was worse with rain between us. Stoically the speaker when on with his talk.   I was nodding off so hard during the talk. Guy and Mrs. Leblanc, respectively in their cars gave us a ride back to the house. I went straight to bed.

Friday, July 24, 2015
I woke up about 6 am. There was no mass again in the am. The mass was done in the evening. We had set up a 9 am rendezvous to walk together to the beach. I was at EPSA at 8:30 am. Most of the participants strolled in until 9:30 am. Claudette did our opening prayer, we practiced our new songs for this session. We walked together to the beach. It took us about 20 minutes. The natural sites team had done a good job of having benches built and painted the same color as the ‘round about’ at the entrance of town. Merchants came to sell foods. We enjoyed the ocean. I loved floating, I could do it for long period of times. One of our participant is an entrepreneur, he came with his cooler to sell cool drinks (soda, beer, and juices). The music came later with the troubadour to play. At 12 o’clock I had to go back to the University to set up for lunch. I also had to prepare the payroll envelopes. I told that participant at 2 pm I would be available to give them out. I also had to give out tickets for the gala for tonight to those who wished to attend. It was 3 pm when many came to eat and get their money. By 3:30, I gave the rest of the food to the people in the village and went back to my quarters. On my way I met two participants who wanted their envelopes and food. I said they were too late for food and had missed the deadline. Finally, I relented and gave them the money. I typed a little before getting ready to go to the event.
I am glad the custodian and some of the children around the house had finished painting the walls around the building to make them look good for Sunday.
When we got to the Renaissance night club, the band was setting up. They did not start playing until 11:30 pm. Meanwhile some sodas and beers were offered to the public followed by goat soup. When they gave the first dancing music, I dance with different participants for 1 minutes each than that was it for the night for me. Then Mr. Labissiere asked me to help with food warmers and trays to keep the food hot. They had their own idea about set up. I put the sterno on than I went back to my seat. I did not want to eat so late. At 2 am, I asked Dr. Dupiton if she was planning on leaving. Finally, all seven of us left. I went straight to bed.

Saturday, July 25, 2015
Woke up early to make sure everything was okay with Dr. Dupiton who was going to Brossard with Danielle, Ketly, and Filienne to do pediatric consultation. The ladies were in the shower before me so I had to wait. They had breakfast and were waiting for another doctor to go as a group. When it was getting late, Dr. Dupiton and the group decided to go set up and have time to look around the Petit Freres de St. Therese’s place. Dr. Dupiton and the team of helpers waited more than an hour before the other doctors showed up. Meanwhile they had set up make shift consultation and triage area. Because of political campaign some of the doctors who were to arrive from Port-au-Prince did not make it on time. Dr. Dupiton, the nurse interns, and the helpers saw 142 children for that morning.
While that group was in Brossard, Carlo was doing some repairs in our setting here. I was handling some financial reports. When Dr. Dupiton returned with the crew, we went to the square to find out what was happening with the agricultural fair. I met Christine Mathrurin who had a stand of hydromel at Roche Laval. I got back to the house, did some typing but the internet was not working.
In the afternoon, the teachers and I moved the plants to beautify the yard. The nuns, the children, and all of us cleaned around to make the place look good for the reception welcoming the Nuncio, the priests, and other guests who were coming to eat in this space tomorrow.
After supper, the group went to the night club. I stayed. They came back around 2 am. It seems that they had a good time–better than the gala the night before.

Sunday, July 26, 2015
I woke up at the usual time of 6 am. I wanted to thank Dr. Dupiton for her generous volunteering and presence in Anse-a-Veau. One of our participants asked her to give three friends a ride to Port-au-Prince without talking to me first. I would have said no. They have to squeeze to accommodate them. They are taking a risk if something happens to them. What would be their reactions? There political affiliations may put them at risk. The doctor and her husband had graciously accepted to bring them along. I realized that the participant who had asked for this favor wanted to be helpful and culturally did not see any inconvenience and/or risk in this matter although this was to me a tactless act to impose on our guest. Maybe it is me that have become too acculturated to the ways of the US.
After they left, I got ready to go to mass at 9 am. I met the Mallebranche and Dr. Max St. Albin. I thanked him for beautiful work he completed at the Calvaire. Last year we had met at Manolo’s where I had explained the work of the Renesansavo project in cleaning up the historical sites and other activities.
Then the teachers and I went to the sister’s place where the reception was to take place. Msgr. Rebecca said he would give us the seven spots needed to accommodate our guests living here besides the nuns. Within the hour, the political figures, the hierarchy of the church, and others started arriving and filling the seats set up for them. This luncheon was arranged and provided by Mrs. Cineas, candidates to the Senate for the Department of the Nippes. She had food catered in, chairs and tents brought in, and decorations set up early this morning. She was very efficient in the organization of the set up both for the reception as well as the church were tastefully done using white and yellow streams with palm and wild yellow flowers.
Right after Bishop Dumas had finished eating, they were still conversing at his table eating cake. I tried to get his attention. I was finally able to have Valescot and Antonio record a message about what he would like to see happen with the project and a message for the participants as they complete this second and last part of the pilot project. Bishop Dumas asked the Nuncio if he wanted to say a few words, he answered to me and him: “Ma’am, it is not the time to do an interview while we are at table.” If felt so ashamed of his comments. It felt as if he had slapped me. The Nuncio gave a blessing and all the cohort of priests and political figures sitting at his table left with him. According to him, it seems I had broken a protocol. He doesn’t understand that was the only opportunity I had to talk to the bishop. I wondered if it were Jesus there, would he have welcomed and encouraged me in my service to my brothers and sisters. I really think so. In most biblical stories, Jesus sought to eat and talked with others while reclining at table. I guessed this nuncio was a tired man in the heat of the country he is not used to. The song that came to mind to calm me down was: “Men Jezi nan pòt la prese ouvè ba li, la rantre lakay ou la manje ananm avèk ou.”
At supper time we all came together to thank Dr. Dupiton, her husband, and the driver for their service to the community. After lots of personal sharing, we all went to bed.
Week 3 (1) Week 3 (2) Week 3 (4) Week 3 (7)

Travel Log 2015 – July 13 – August 9 – Week 4

Monday, July 27, 2015
We didn’t have a working day session as to give the teachers, participant, and personnel a break for having worked all week-end.  Sr. Flora, the teachers, and the three participants in the house and I decided to go to St. Yves.  Many of them had not visited that area and the waterfall before.
The driver brought us all the way to the church steps by the market stands.  Then we followed the path to the mountain to the top of the fall.  At times, the path was very narrow or we had to jump over some small pools of water. First, we saw the round side of the fall.  No locals wanted to go near.  They said it is for the ‘service’. That there is a pink fish in the area watching all the time. Then we continued to the higher fall ending in a small pool. The three young men, Carlo, and I continued up the mountain to locate the source of the water.  It was quite treacherous and steep.  We reached the top were the nap of water lies.  Many ‘lessivyè’ were doing laundry.  The men continued toward the area were the water is captured for distribution to town.  I met a group of about ten young girls and boys studying under a tree.  I asked what they were learning.  They answered that this group was discussing a problem in the area of teen pregnancy and what it takes to prevent it.  I commended them for addressing this issue.  I asked if the young men were also taught about the need to respect women and not use the Haitian proverb-Kòk la gen tout dwa se ti poulèt ki pou pran prekosyon.  After asking me where I was from, I told them I was doing an empowering community development project through solidarity and hospitality in Anse-a-Veau.  The purpose is to help young people change their attitude and become agents of change and advocate for equality in a just society.
The three young kids we had as guides – Evans, Lines, Michael came back down the mountain with us.  We tipped them close to their homes to prevent others stealing from them.  We had a good time, taking massages under the waterfall.  Sr. Flora enjoyed the outing as she doesn’t have the opportunity during the academic school year.  We had lunch at the house when we got back.  Mr. Labissiere came to see Sr. Flora to discuss some financial matters.  Later at 9:30 pm he came again to have some papers signed.  I was so drowsy, I went to bed.  I was too tired to write or do anything else.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Went to mass, Fr. Enel was the celebrant.  After breakfast, I went to EPSA.  I made sure everything was in order as we were off yesterday. I had to change the bottle of water on the cooler, added cups, ensured that the toilet had tissue paper and the water bin to wash hands was filled. I visited the lunch room and the kitchen to make sure we would be ready for lunch later. The speaker was going to be in at 9:30 am.  We finished or routines and practiced the songs.  Many participants did not show up.  That was a shame that they would not be there to listen to Mr. Chenet Jean-Baptiste recommended to us by Fr. William Smarth.  He was here to talk about the history of the country that affects our way of thinking and acting.
Carlo, who was part of the audience shared his take on what he heard from the presentation.   “Mr. Jean-Baptiste went on to explain some of the negative proverbs such as: Ayiti se tè glisé, a way of seeing ourselves that is a problem that plagues the country since after the proclamation of its independence from 1804 and until 1915. Restless period for definitive power was an unrealistic achievement because of the constant insurgencies emerging from the northern and the southern section of the country, accentuated with the perpetuation and ineptitude of bad rulers. Finally the role and the influence of foreign countries interfering in our government invalidated all the constitutions. The people coming from slavery to freedom through fighting, struggling to remain free did not really have a chance to build a nation.
Mr. Jean Baptiste a professor of fòmasyon sosyal added that working with the youth should be of paramount importance if we want to see a difference in the future of the country. Changes are possible he believes if the youth understand the past. In a nutshell, he believes that the future is in their hands, because they are the ‘poto mitan’ of a certain future. A call to unity amongst the youth should be our hope.” A quote we should revisit: Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
We had lunch and continued with instruction as well as questions and answers.  I was so glad we had a chance to get Fr. William Smarth’s 2 volume “Histoire de l’Eglise Catholique d’Haiti 1492-2003”.  I gave one set of his books to the library of EPSA for the benefit of the students.  Another set was purchased by Danielle.  I will bring one set back to the States.
When we got to the Sisters, we sat on the porch enjoying the breeze from the mango trees.    We had supper and enjoyed the conversation around the table about our children, things we were successful with or what gave us some challenges.  In my quarters, while checking my email, Pierre Skyped.  I talked to Natalie as well.  I was so glad to connect with home for these few minutes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Woke up to go to mass but the church was closed.  That is when I noticed the bells had not rung.  Unlike in the US, if the mass is at 8:30 am it always is at 8:30 regardless of who will come to celebrate if the pastor is not in the parish.  After my prayers and breakfast at 7:30 am, I left for the University.  There were only 20 participants today.  I told them how disappointed I was with the attendance and lateness.  Every day I was receiving a note to excuse an absence, a lateness, or leaving early.  I reviewed the policies written in the manual and the agreement they had signed.  Someone with three absences or more would not receive the certificate at the end of the session and will not be paid for the third absence.  However, I conceded that I would look at each case individually mostly if the absence was related to a community matter.   Example, I gave a participant who had to attend a 3-day Red Cross recertification training, an assignment to do.  He had to paint the round-about at the entrance of town on his own time to support the work of his team.  He did it willingly.  I will not penalize him in any way because he is always on time otherwise and ready to be of service in finding needed tools for the different groups.
Each group gave a report of what they had accomplished during the festival and what they could improve next time.  Then Kettly Samuel started her workshop on effective leadership.  After lunch, we resumed on the subject until 2 pm.  Afterwards, we all cleaned-up and set up.  We then went back to the Sisters.  Sr. Flora had bought some coconuts for me.  They put the water in a pot in the freezer to keep it cool.  Yey!  Heaven!
We took some refreshments and went for a walk to “L’Etang.”  We walked about half an hour and passed the entrance leading to the body of water.  The road being constructed was elevated and completely overlooked the entrance path to l’Etang.  The road construction company, Vorbes, knows about the existence of this pathway as a villager told us.  The company had a confrontation with the inhabitants about their use of the water for the construction.  They felt using the diminishing water would affect the fish and the water supply that is a drinking hole for the animals of the area.  I believe there is no one defending the people on this issue.  Is it a way to make the people pay for their opposition to the use of the water?  That would be a pity.  A Haitian company acting in such a despicable manner, I don’t want to believe it.  I will bring this issue to the participants for them to follow up on this subject.  When we returned to the house we really had to have our feet washed.  We were so dusty.
We had supper and good conversation at the table.  Sr. Myriam was there as she came to pack up as she is leaving Anse-a-Veau for another assignment in Port-a-Prince (Cabaret).  Sr. Marie of next door called me back in response to my visit earlier at the rectory.  I wanted to share some materials I had for her use.  I had her visit my quarters and reminded her that I had proposed for her to do this work for her space.  We need a welcome center in Anse-a-Veau if we want volunteers to come and give us a hand.  I can’t stress enough the need of good hospitality.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
The bells from the church did not ring.  I got ready anyway.  The doors of the church were closed.  I stayed on the porch and prayed.  I miss hearing the word of God proclaimed and sharing in the Body of Christ.  At 7:15 I went for breakfast before going to EPSA. I have to start the clean-up process. The uniforms must be given to be washed and stored.  An inventory of things used and other must be done.  We have to begin planning how storage of materials will be done and what should be given away.
There were again several absences.  A few were studying during the session for their afternoon exam at the university.  This overlap of activities is not healthy for all the participants in the program and shows that they may not be prepared.  These types of issues must be addressed if there are future programs.  The work session for today consisted of ‘mapping’ the town.  I asked the teams to talk among themselves to determine which area they would cover.  A few took the liberty to pursue their own agenda.  However, at reporting time the representatives of the five teams presented and explained their work.  Group 3 did a really detailed map.  Group 2 wrote a legend.  I questioned the way they did not include “the Calvary” in their map. The representative answered they did include the monument as Saint Inri as it is named (I heard Enri).  I argued that there were no monuments dedicated to any saint in that area of town.  I described the cavalry as the newly renovated monument with stairs and a crucifix inside a little chamber with an iron gate.  The representative insisted that I was mistaken and that place is dedicated to a saint.  It was time for lunch, I relented.  After lunch, I sat right beneath the design and my eyes fell on the “INRI” on top of the cross.  I realized they did not know the inscription represented the Latin initials of the title Pontius Pilate had written on top of  the cross in three languages – Hebrew, Greek, and Latin meaning:  “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” [John 19:19].  Lycée and University students not knowing anything about such a historical and prominent monument in their own town.  This again denotes a lack of functional literacy of many of the participants.
Kettly continued with her presentation of leadership.  At the end of the session, she had the participants do a mock election.  She chose candidates for President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary.  Ballots were distributed, votes were tallied.
When we got to the house, we leisurely stayed on the porch to enjoy the breeze from the mango trees then we had supper all together to thank Carlo, Danielle, and Kettly for their presence in Anse-a-Veau.  They told us how grateful they were for the time spent with us.  They made a donation to help defray some of the expenses incurred on their behalf in matter of food and personnel.  This was unexpected but very generous of them.  I really appreciated the gesture from our guests.  This will help us to pay for some needed equipment in the house such as an oven, fan, and freezer and ‘a chateau d’eau’ for EPSA beside walling the storage area, and installing an iron door to secure the generator.

Friday, July 31, 2015
No bells.  I guess no mass.  I got ready.  No one was awake not even the kitchen staff.  I sat on the porch, prayed and waited for coffee.  Later went in for breakfast – akasan, egg, and avocado.
I had finally received the desk yesterday after three weeks of waiting.    I made sure to set it up in the classroom.  Today the bricklayer came to install the iron door and wall the door space to the storage area.  He needed money for cement.  The participants will complete the mapping of town and by small group to use the computer room for introductory lessons by Carlo, assisted by Antonio, Kettly and Blaise.  After lunch, we did English vocabulary through mapping and directions.
Made payroll and received notes from the two nursing students who will not be returning for the last week.  They have to start their nursing internship.  Another conflict.  I paid them for the full three weeks they had worked.  Danielle, Kettly, Carlo said their good-byes too to the participants although we ran out of time as many students had to go do their exam after 2 pm.
The wall and the door installation were completed.  I paid Mckenson the labor charge without bargaining because he had come in early as requested and completed the work well within the day.  He had to hire a helper to finish the job in the framework I wanted
Danielle, Kettly, and Carlo did not leave as planned because the driver had some issues to solve.  They stayed one more night, the boys were happy.  They asked if they could join us for our trip tomorrow.  Sister’s car could not accommodate that many passengers.  Their car would not be available as early as we wished to leave in the am.  Again it was a disappointment that they would not be able to be without in this outing.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
I woke up before the alarm set on for 5 am.  Sr. Flora, the young men, the house personnel would be going with us to Ile à Vache for the day.  It would be a day to thank them for their services.  They only did coffee for this morning.  Those who were hungry ate peanut butter and bread before leaving.  Sr. Flora ordered food for us in Les Cayes.  We stopped at the Salesian’s mission there to pick up Sr. Marie Merci who would join us on the boat.  We boarded a motored “kannòt” to bring us to l’Ile a Vache about 30 minutes away.  We landed a Kay Kòk.  We walked to Morgan – visited the outside premises pass the pool to the beach.  We saw the horses, the dining area, etc.  Sr. Marie Mercy took another deep in the ocean there.  They all enjoyed the ocean except for one who is an Adventist who refuse to participate in some activities because it was the Sabbath.  We had a nice welcome by Mr. Dume who came along with us and brought us to his house on the island where we met his wife Santana and land manager Abron.  They provided us with coconuts and mangoes.  We shared our food and cake with the whole family (besides the 12 of us, husband, wife, and three children).  When we returned we packed some of the food for tonight for the staff.  I would be doing the cooking for them as it was there day off.  Technology is good but could be scary as well.  The boat ‘captain’ stop the motor twice to answer his cell phone while the water seems to be high and choppy swaying the 15 seater wooden boat.
Finally, we left Les Cayes at 5:30 pm.  Twice, we met some convoy of candidates on the way.  All in all, I am glad I was able to make this day happen for the personnel and all those who helped in the program.
When I got to the house, I quickly sautéd some onions and added some sardines.  We ate in paper plates so that no one would have to do dishes tonight.  Thank you Lord for a successful day!

Sunday, August 2, 2015
I stayed late in bed.  I heard Blaise arguing with Antonio that finally made me get out of bed at 7 am.  Soon after getting ready, I heard the bell for breakfast.  The church bells did not ring.  But I got ready once and for all for church.  I was pleasantly surprised while organizing some things on the dresser to notice that Danielle had left the “Off” mosquito repellent for me.  How thoughtful!
Blaise left to go to Baradere to organize and plan a meeting.  Valescot and Antonio were relaxing.  At mass, Fr. Enel thanked CORA and the Renesansavo for their presence and work in the town.  After mass, we talked a little with Mrs. Leblanc and Sr. Flora.  In the afternoon, I worked on doing the presentation on behavioral styles.  I did some clean up in the room as well.
Fr. Enel came to visit.  While we were talking on the porch, Sr. Flora and I heard an explosion like noise coming from inside the house.  The newly bought oven door busted into pieces.  It was not on.  Thank God no one got hurt.  We picked up the broken pieces.
When I went back to my quarters, I saw ants crawling in different parts of the room.  I tried to sweep the colonies away and put them in the tub.  There was no water coming from the faucet.  I did not want to use the little reserve in the bucket.  I looked outside it was pitched black no one to ask for water.  I pour the bottle of peroxide water on them.  I thought they would not climb on the bed.  I went to bed but could not fall asleep.
Week 4 (2) Week 4 (3) Week 4 (4) Week 4 (5) Week 4 (6) Week 4 (7) Week 4 (8) Week 4 (10) Week 4 (11) Week 4 (13)  Week 4 (18)  Week 4 (21) Week 4 (23) Week 4 (24) Week 4 (25) Week 4 (26) Week 4 (27) Week 4 (30) Week 4 (31) Week 4 (32)