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)

Travel Log 2015 — July 13 – August 9 – Week 5

Monday, August 3, 2015
I woke up before the alarm and checked to see if the ants were roaming about.  It seems that I had contained most of them.  When I saw a faint daylight piercing the sky, I went to the kitchen to ask Marilyn where I could find some water.  She brought a heavy bucket around to the porch for me.  I took some in my pail so that I could carry it up the pathway to the rooms.  As soon as I got dressed, I went for coffee. Gave the receipt of the oven to Sr. Flora.   She will try to call the company later to find out what needed to be done.  Not many participants came on time today.  We did our routine as usual.  It is so hard to teach them the songs with a DVD.  Myriam was so good last year teaching them the songs.  I miss her and her abilities.  We had a poet as a guest.  I reschedule some other activity to include him as he was proposed by a participant.  He explained the different style of writing particularly poetry.  He named some of the most prominent writers in our literature.  At the end he asked everyone to write something.  Those who wanted to share did so.  Two participants brought me a dozen coconuts and a pineapple because I had said that I loved drinking coconut water.  They are two of the most engaging disciplined and dedicated individuals among the participants.
In the afternoon, I did some typing.  For supper, we had ‘mirliton’ salad and yam and oatmeal. Sr. Flora will return the oven tomorrow hoping that an exchange will be done or at least a repair at a low cost.  She will also find out where she will be buying the freezer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Early morning I thought I heard Sister’s car leaving to go to Port-au-Prince for the celebrations.  Finally, at 6 am I got up, prayed before going to EPSA.
Participants are not coming on time.  The Petits Frères de St. Therèse to talk about their mission, the environment, and the protection of our resources.  The participants asked many questions.  Frère Camille and Frère Elie had lunch with us.  I was finally able to give them the tool box I had brought for them since last year and a ‘drum’.  The food team visited a possible location to build a chicken coop for their meat and eggs.
In the afternoon, Valescot gave a training on cameras.  At two, I felt exhausted.  We had so many request from the participants to be excused for lateness, absences, leaving early.  My notebook is filled with notes.  The stories I have to hear.  They also want their stipend and the certificate.  The sense of professional ethics has not yet been internalized.  I have worked for forty years in my life, I guess I was probably like them at one point in my life. Patience!  Even as a volunteer I always take my commitments very seriously.  It will take some time to instill some sense of responsibility and dedication.
The carpenter that took three weeks to build the desk, wanted the balance of his money.  I had no argument when he said it was not any of his doing it was a lack of materials.
At the house, Marilyn was sawing.  She said she would like to learn haute couture doing her own pattern.  I had to make sure I had enough money to make payroll Friday with the money I received today.  Blaise said he had to go to Port-au-Prince and left for the rest of the day and will be absent tomorrow too.  I had to remember to get water for the water cooler.  I had to call Anelio to remind him about this.  Typed and took time to put away some materials for the flea market.  I don’t know why I feel sleepy so early.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Woke again tonight to the room being completely lit.  After a few minutes, I realize it was the moon.  I tried to take a picture.  It did not come out.  I heard someone talking, it was Antonio’s voice from his room.  I woke up thanking God for the 4 weeks of work accomplished `without major problems.  I don’t know yet what the next step is after this pilot.  I asked the Holy Spirit to inspire me.  I had to emphasize to the Renesansavo group that they are an autonomous entity in mission.  We know there will be continuity with this current group.  I pray they do.
Today we had Mr. Sony Valery Exantus, Director of Popular Banks of the Lefèvre Federation to talk about the necessity to have a credit union or bank in the town.  Steps are being taken to begin the process.  In the afternoon, we discussed what we would like to see happen in years 2017, 2019, and 2021.  Then the participants gathered in their individual groups to see what they could do, or hopped to happen  in the upcoming years.  If they organize as an autonomous body under CORA, I suggested they build a body of elders as their council.  They will need to reconsider the ad hoc committee that was created last year.  They really need to create an executive committee to carry out the plans they are writing.
Again I had requests from two participants to be absent for two days as they have to attend election training.  Here we go again.  I felt cheated of something – their reluctant presence, their lack of commitment to this project…

Thursday, August 6, 2015
The rain came down with thunder and lightning in the middle of the night.  It seems to have lasted about an hour.  I could not fall back to sleep.  Today the telephone’s alarm woke me up.  I heard no bells. I did not go to mass.  I prayed here although it was the feast of the transfiguration.  I used it as the word of the day.
At 8:05 there were about three participants.  The others trickled in until 9 am.  The end is so near and yet all rules are forgotten.  Is it because there is no punitive consequences or a total lack of caring attitude?  They are not motivated or are being pulled away by so many other interests.
I had planned to do evaluation of self (individuals) and of the program so that in my mind I could see the future possibilities.  I also wanted to review how to do a short proposal request in using the project itself as an example.  Then cover necessary element in the budget necessary to be included with the request for funding.  Then the participants evaluated the ad-hoc committee that was supposed to do follow-up since last year.
The participants decided to be an autonomous group still working under the umbrella of CORA.  We elected an executive committee with the same members – one leader of each team. They voted for a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and the last position remained open. We had proposed to have an assistant secretary, the person decline that role but agreed to remain a member of the committee.  The person who presented herself for the position of president was not voted for it.  They gave her the least position.  I personally feel she is dedicated and really want to make a difference.  The one elected president is popular.  Blaise had come mid-afternoon.  I asked him to complete some of the reports needed from some of the groups.  I completed the envelopes for payroll.
While typing in my room, I heard a noise as if many people were running on the roof or like a tremor next door to the room.  Later, when I went to use the bathroom, the floor cracked under my weight, I felt the tiles raise at some angles and sink at others.  I rushed out and called Sister to see the damaged floor and what happened if I tried to walk there.  She said a shoddy job was done by the previous contractor.  She wanted me to move to the room next to her in the main house.  To use the bath room or the tub I had to carefully place my feet on some edges otherwise the tile would crack or I felt I was going to fall through some hole.  I decided not to move for two more nights. I have to recap: the leaking sink that was unusable because the pipe was put in incorrectly; the tub water that was clogging – the custodian cut the pipe at the base outside so that the dirty water could flow out; the bathroom cracked floor.  What else will happen before I leave?  Every time you think you are doing some improvements, there is a setback.
The sisters and I had supper reviewing some of our stories.  I talked to Pierre via skype, he had a good laugh about this new dilemma.  I asked Valescot for some pictures from his collection, he promised to give them to me tomorrow.  I started packing and separating things I would be leaving behind.  I gave the personnel several small gifts.  During the night a broom fell somewhere.  It woke me up.  I thought it was more of the bathroom floor popping up.  If my daughter was with me, we would have made up some scary scenarios.  I kept the light on wandering if something weird would crop up from beneath the ground.

Friday, July 7, 2015
Took my time before going to breakfast at 7:30 am.  I typed the slate voted yesterday and the council members.  Also typed the list of the recycling members with telephone numbers and contact’s number with the company’s address in Port-au-Prince.  Labissiere called to remind me to create a structure for the group to continue the work started.  I told him that was already done.  He also requested to have one person appointed as a liaison.  I added that title to the one I already assigned to the fifth member of coordinator for special and sustainable projects such as the recycling and/or the flea market for the Sisters
I got at EPSA at 9:30 am.  Making sure the room was ready with additional seats to welcome our invited guests.  Showed Marie, assistant custodian, how to organize and pack materials we might need in the future.
At 10 am, the time scheduled to start our celebration program, there were only 4 participants and Mr. Cerisier who had just arrived.  At 10:30 am I began anyway.  By 11:30 most participants were in attendance as well as some other guests.  I asked Mrs. Leblanc to handout the certificates.  Fr. Enel came to receive the Sony Cameras donated by Mona Georges Perdomo in memory of her father Fortune Georges of Sault D’Eau.  Max Jouicin of CORA NY was there.
The ceremony consisted in singing our songs, each team giving a summary of what they had accomplished and would like to achieve for the upcoming years until 2021.  The executive committee was to be presented to all.  Jean Marie, one of the participant, was again MC this year.  He did a good job.  However, he suggested that the Jackson, the elected president make a speech which was not planned in the program.  The MC is the best friend of the president. He made a speech in French, of course as all Haitian politicians do.  The MC did not read the title I had typed for the fifth member.  I had to tell him to read it and he did not want to do so.  I wished if they had come earlier, to have had the time to go over these details with him.  He was ok with everything else I gave him except this one.  Mrs. Leblanc had to give the other certificates after we had finished the presentations.
After the ceremony, we went to have lunch with some of our guests.  Edeline, Mariline and Sr. Flora made it a festive lunch.  I was too late to taste the lanbi served.  I could not eat with them as some members needed their pay because they had to rush out to their training for the election.  To organize an event one has to make sure there are no other conflicting money making activities to distract from one’s purpose.
I had each person sign the receipt of their funds and count it before leaving the desk.  If there were three absences, the 3rd one was not paid.  The fund was placed in the new created petty cash of the founded executive committee.
Later that afternoon I had three participants come to the sister’s house to pick up their pay and certificates.  I felt that I caved in not being strict enough.  I felt taken advantaged of and yet they only see survival.  In those moments, I question the effectiveness of the project.  Lord you know not me.  You know how much planning, sacrifice, personal investment of time and money went into this.  I thought I followed your will.  I surrender!  I am only an instrument.
In the evening, Sr. Flora, Sr. Solanges, and Fr. Enel had a special dinner with me.  Thanking me for being in Anse-a-Veau and the things I help accomplish within their facilities—EPSA and Salesians’s space including the school.  Praise be to you Lord!

Saturday, August 8, 2015
I woke up at 3 am and prayed.  Got dressed, cleaned the room.  Left a few more items for storage.  Then I brought the suitcases out front although it was still drizzling and dark.  Soon Sr. Flora then Sr. Solanges came out.  We had coffee before we left.  Shortly after the driver arrived, we were on our way to Port-au-Prince at 5:45 am.  We visited the Salesians main location in Avenue du Chilli.  It is a beautiful old home of the’ Roux’ family renovated and expanded.  The builders respected the original construction.  The ground is also impressive.  I met Sr. Nicole Gaillard one of the octogenarian nun in charge of the orphanage.  She is quite an interesting individual. She gave us an article about Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave: Le president “tèt chat” d’Haiti published on Friday, July 31, 2015 on Le Nouveliste National section.(pp8 & 9).  Then we went past Ruelle Cameau so that I could show Sr. Flora where I was raised.  They dropped me at Servotel by 11:00 am and went back to Anse-a-Veau to avoid any election problems.
I went to the room prepared the clothes for the next day, showered, and headed downstairs to have a brunch.  I ordered the lanbi grille with plaintains and a water.  While eating I noticed an American lady and a Haitian woman standing by the door to the dining area.  She was asking a question, passed the phone to the lady then listened and ask another question.  After a few minutes, I approached the lady and asked I could help her conversation with the young lady.  She said yes.  Her organization stationed in Hinche provide a year of training 7 specialization in midwifery to about 30-32 nurses.  The program is to begin on August 17th. Someone from the US had asked her to add this young woman to her group of interns this year.  She agreed as she had lost another candidate.  The young woman had passed her test well with one question wrong.  The requirements are that they come to the program at 8 am to 2 pm.  They must wear a uniform of white blouse (top) and navy skirt or slacks.  She must have a place to stay, provide her own transportation, and food.  The organization also provide the scrubs for the hospital practical sessions and all educational materials.  After 3 weeks of intensive instruction, the fourth week to the end of the year, instruction is provided for 2 days and hospital practice for 3 days.  This young Haitian knows no one in Hinche and won’t be able to afford her own food, transportation and pay for a place to stay during that time. The American suggested she finds a sponsor.  There is a man in Hinche who gets $400 a month to provide room and 2 meals for about three girls enrolled in the program.  She might need $75 for transportation a month.  In final, she will call the girl after talking with the person who wanted her in the program in the first place.  Maybe she is considering in sponsoring her.  I told the young Haitian if you really want this, call friends and family in Haiti that could give her a hand in Hinche.  I even called Sr. Solanges to find if her congregation was not too far to see in what way they could facilitate her stay in Hinche.  At least I tried.  That is my life motto.
Then I talked about CORA’s Renesansavo project. While going back to the room a man sitting not too far stopped me and said he was part of the Rotary Club and is looking for sustainable projects.  I answered that we had several in CORA’s program which would need support and would be glad to receive funds to make them happen for the benefit of the community.
I explained about the REVER Nippes projects with the collaboration of the Petits Freres de St. Therese is primarily to implement such activities in the Nippes particularly Anse-a-Veau (Brossard).  I felt exhausted I went to lie down.  As soon as I fell asleep the phone rang, Alix had dropped by to say hello.  I forced myself to wash my face and go downstairs.  While he was talking to me downstairs I felt myself nodding.  Finally, I asked if he would like to walk around the grounds of the hotel with me.  While we reached the front Mr. Batraville pulled up to the driveway. He was here to drop a letter for Mr. Labissiere.  We went back to the bar area where I offered him a 7 up.  We had conversation with the bartender.  Alix recounted his experience as a Restaurant owner.  He had to leave because he was using public transportation.  I walked with him to the street area.  It took about 15 minutes before he found a small van that had some room.  Wow! I felt so tired I went back to the room to take a rest.  Within 20 minutes, Alix called to say he had made it to the Champs de Mars and he was going to walk to his house.  I tried calling my brother Patrick and my friend Malou without success.  Finely, at 6:45 I went downstairs to have supper.  I ordered shrimp creole with rice and beans.  I appreciated the portion control.  I had to remind the waiter to bring the small hot roll served with the meal.  I noticed that napkins were not given to many tables.  I had to ask for it.  Then I ordered ice cream for dessert.  I had a cup of chocolate and rum raisin.  Decadently delicious.  I enjoyed every sip of it as if I had been deprived for years.  I felt really full afterwards.  I went back to the room.  It did not take long for me to turn off the light.

Sunday, August 9, 2015
I woke up 2 or 3 times during the night not for any particular reasons.  I prayed and was thankful that I had accomplished my mission of doing a pilot project over two years.  I was so thankful for the sisters, the teachers, the guests and all who helped make things happen at a level or another.  I am so thankful to my husband and my family for their support.  I don’t know what is next.  I called on the Holy Spirit to inspire me, to make me discern what is important in my life.  I hope what was accomplished this year will make a difference in the life of the participants for the future of the town.  The alarm went off at 6 am.  I prayed and got dressed.  By 7 am I was downstairs at the indicated time for breakfast.  Nothing was out yet.  Many people were seated at table inside and outside.  I saw two ladies, I asked if I could join them because the other free table had such glaring light from the sun.   I introduced myself and asked them what they were doing here in Haiti.  They are two nurses working on a mission with the organization Labakcare directed by a Nigerian.  The other nurse came for the first time on this mission, she is a professor at Drexel University.  They spent a few days working in Petit Goave with a Pastor.  They brought medication and they also paid for their room and board and food.  They consulted many children and young ladies with vaginal problems.  I invited them to come to Anse-a-Veau and if they would like to work with the nursing program of EPSA.  We also have a hospital but not many people seem to be using it because it may not respond to the need they have at that particular time and transportation is costly.
At 8 am we went to the desk to get the shuttle to go to the airport.  The two ladies were two room away from me.  We went on the same shuttle.  We met 3 other people already on the shuttle—an engineer and two individuals working on prosthetics care unit.  I gave them my information.
I was online for two hours before reaching the counter.  My bag was overweight.  I had to remove some items—the coffee maker, shoes, the lantern and the gift basket.  It was still a 51 pounds.  I ask the agent if he could let it go, under duress he relented.  An older lady behind me agreed to take the items in her bag.  When Marie Claude Robert reached security, they removed her medication and ask her go buy a zip lock transparent bag.  I told her to wait I gave her one I had.  She was happy.  She helped me and I was able to help her.  God is good to me in so many small and big ways.  I met a father walking his daughter to the line.  I promised to watch over her but we were separated with all this exchange.  When the plane landed I saw her at the carousel.  I waived to her when she was leaving the airport I was too far from her to see what happened outside.
On the flight one of the two passengers next to me was a feisty young man.  He got under the skin of the male attendant.  The attendant really had to control himself not to react.  One was making selfies next to me.  I turn my head several times.  He continued for about 10 minutes.  I told him please be careful I am not in your picture.  He answered: “why would I put you in my picture?”  They were giving water bottles.  He asked the attendant: “Where is the ice?”  He questioned the attendant again because they were giving the safety instruction but no one was demonstrating. They had done it before while speaking English.  He complained about that and said it was not fair or just.  If his mom was on board, she would have been at a disadvantage, thus putting her life in danger. The other young man was asleep when they gave the snacks. He later called the attendant while they were doing cleanup and said: “where is my snack?”  He patiently answered: “What would you like?” The young man said “what do you have?”  He answered the menu is in front of you. After he ordered two items, the attendant said is that all sir?  He answered: “yes”.
We had to circle a while in the air before we landed.  I was home finally at 5 pm.  I met a Haitian cabby Yvenet Nelson.  We had a discussion about Aristide.  We had a nice conversation.  When we got to the house, Natalie was waiting for me.  She came to help me bring the suitcases in.  It was really heavy because I had put the case of rum in it.
Home.  Thank you Lord.  I made it back.  What will you ask of me next?
Week 5 (1) Week 5 (2) week 5 (4) week 5 (5) Week 5 (7) Week 5 (8) Week 5 (10) week 5 (12)

February 2-4, 2015 VFHI Conference

Sunday, January 25th at the installation of new members, officers, and renewal of membership of the Ladies of Charity at St. Johns University along with the junior ladies of St. John’s Prep, MaryAnn Dantuono, LOC National President, asked if I would be interested to represent the AIC in the Vincentian Family Haitian Initiative (VFHI) www.vfhi.org. It was an honor to be asked but I needed to know more information about responsibilities for this role. On Monday, I was given some information and by Wednesday, I was planning to catch a plane on Monday, February 2, to Haiti with the condition that I had to be back in NY on the 6th for a talk to the Haitian Society of St. John’s at their earthquake remembrance dinner.
With a snow storm during the week of January 28th and more snow predicted for the week-end of February 1st, I anticipated the possible cancellation of the trip. In addition to the weather in the US, news from Haiti was not encouraging with an ongoing strike and street demonstrations. When Monday came the plane to Port-au-Prince was the first one leaving out of JFK. Then I realized that the Lord wanted me to be part of this experience as I had not sought in any way this 4 day venture. In addition, I was able to bring a suitcase with much needed items for the Salesians Sisters and a check for the Daughters of Charity.
I met one of the commission members on the flight to Haiti. The shuttle of Servotel picked us up and within 5 minutes we were at the hotel. I was really impressed by the modern style structure (nicked-name the container hotel) and the standards of the premises and personnel. I met more members of the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative (VFHI). Kathleen Felix was with them and I was glad to speak with her for a few minutes. I still need to discuss with her an aspect of the Renesansavo project. Inside the hotel grounds we were not affected by any of the protests, but we were unable to travel as planned. Because some members still had not joined us, the agenda had to be revised. The new members were introduced and the attendees were briefed on the expected outcome of this meeting.
DSCN3499    Tuesday we spent the day discussing, evaluating the VFHI activities with the full committee and the two staff coordinators of both the educational component, Yasmine Cajuste, and the national economic/community development, Regine Theodat.
Wednesday we had the planned excursion to the “Department du Centre, Arrondissement de Hince, Commune de Thomonde, 4e Section La Hoye, habitation Savane Perdue”. It was really exciting. It was my first trip since 1992 going that far north. We travelled through the airport, Tabarre, Croix des Bouquet, Beudet, Mòn Kabrit, Terre Rouge, to Mirebalais. There we visited Ecole Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours with a population of 200 students directed by the sisters of Mission of the Immaculate Heart, the principal is Sr. Mona Henri. The sisters are pulling out of the area because there were multiple break-ins in their house and they felt unsafe. This is not the only convent being attacked. In one other novitiate the women were violated as well. This news saddened me as these nuns only want to educate the children in the poorest areas. We also visited a second school run by a Baptist church which also receives the Mary’s Meals feeding program as well as educational expertise and resources from VFHI. This school looks overcrowded in about 5 poorly lit rooms. However, the children seemed content.
Then we visited the Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant (CFFL) in Corporant. I was amazed not only at the building, the instructors, and the students but by the whole concept of the school. The center  provides vocational education in agriculture, carpentry and construction. This high tech school has state of the arts computers, mediathèque, and science labs. Besides the academic subjects, values and ethics classes, community development, leadership and entrepreneurial skills, hands on practice is provided within the compound in construction and wood work. There is land in the vicinity where they plant with the collaboration of Partners in Agriculture (Parnè Agrikòl). What I admire most in their education system is the emphasis on making the students agents of change and “learning by experience”. The facility was paid for by Abbot Labs and built by a Dominican Company. The current enrollment of 72 students include a few women. The criteria for admission, participants must have completed High School and pass the school’s tests. All students must pay the $2,500 fee annually for the 2 to 3 year study. Arrangements are made for half or full sponsorship but the money will be collected from work study or when they start to work. All uniforms, hard hats, and needed equipment are covered by the tuition. We met some staff members responsible for the school like Gillaine Warne, Abraham Cerventes, and Reginald Cean. They showed us furniture built by the students. We also stopped by the peanut factory next to the school. We met Charmille, Nancy, Foreste Sonnes, Stenio Louis Jeunes, agronomist and quality control manager for Production Agricole. I was really fascinated by the professionalism of the staff and the standard maintained on the campus. The school run on about $500,000 a year budget. If they accomplish all they describe they do plus the maintenance of the promises seem worth this investment.
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We continued on our way to Savanne Perdue after lunch at Partners in Health facility in Cange. We passed by Peligre dam. It reminded me of some stories Marcel Thebaud, an engineer who participated in this work, shared with us at the family dinner table. When we left Cas we started the 5 miles bumpy road to our destination where the VFHI has the developing Tilapia farm project. We visited the house where the resident agronomist Yamileh Jean Pierre resides and the basins prepared for the fish to be raised and the adjoining land to be cultivated. The villagers and some members of Chimen Lavi Miyò (CLM) where present. On our way to the location we noticed three schools and a market place. The farm’s remote area is part of the Sustainable Model Village concept for human development and social business component where resources are concentrated for greater impact. In late evening, before returning to the Hotel we stopped to sample the kreyòl food at Myabèl Cocktail Bar Restaurant in Croix-des-Bouquet.
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Early Thursday we visited two schools where the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Inc. sponsors some students. I was glad that Jean Paul II was one of the school we visited, it gave me the opportunity to say hello to the daughters who always welcome me when I travel to Haiti. I wanted to make sure they had received the donation sent by the junior ladies of St. John’s Prep to help with the literacy program of Rosalie Rendue School. I had a chance to have a quick chat with a member of the AIC Haiti, Jacqueline Caseus. When we got back to the hotel at 9 am, we continued with the 3-year strategic plan. I had to leave the hotel at 12:30 to catch the afternoon flight back home.
I am trying to digest all that I have experienced and learned so far during this short trip. I know in my heart that the Lord wants to expand my way of seeing and thinking as well as the formation of new relationships. Praise and glory be to God.