I woke up on my own at 5:10 am. I was unable to sleep, upset that I had lost my recent entry on the iPad notes from yesterday. Two hours of writing lost.
I felt like an expert using water from the bucket and the small bowl to shower. My lantern lit the stall and I had a sense of joy and gratitude that I was able to be here. Today is a feast day for the Sisters of Marie Auxiliatrice, Salesiennes. I found a few items from my suitcase to place as gifts at the table: a battery operated lantern, a butane lighter, a bottle of liqueur from the PFTS, a small bottle of Listerine, and jar of petroleum jelly. The sisters had each gift bag by their placemats. I received embroidered napkins and a table center. We prayed and asked Marie Auxiliatrice to intercede on our behalf. For breakfast today we had pâté, bread, mamba, and coffee.
We set up eight comfortable chairs for the teachers as they were to be honored today by both students and administration for their collaboration with the ministry of Don Bosco under the guidance of Marie Auxiliatrice. The principle, Sr. Charitable, made a speech to thank the teachers for their work with the students.
The students performed two dances and a poem.
They went to class, had lunch with meat today to celebrate as well. They had mass in the cathedral before dismissal. The children behaved well except for a few who seemed to not care to be there. In all, everything went smoothly and the teachers seemed satisfied of their special day.
We had lunch– fish et noix and ‘diri jonjon’, thin slice fried plantain. I told the sisters I needed someone to go with me anbalavil, Sr. Charitable said she would go with me. We went for mid-day prayer then all the sisters went with me for the walk downtown. We went down the cathedral’s steps (about 52), took the dirt road to the right to go downtown. We went straight ahead and were getting back to the main road to town when it started to rain.
Some of these old houses because of their conditions should be demolished. They represent a hazard for the people.
We had to ask directions and walk back to get to the ‘dock’ area. I saw some houses built right where the mud had come down from the river. There were a few boats at the landing and man working on nets or other fishing items.
The rain was only drizzling we decided to climb the back road on the hill behind Dartiguenave’s house. When we got to the main uptown road, we walked towards the cliffs. Past the Brothers’ old school, we went toward madam Fernande’s small fritay tonels where she conducts her small business. Afterward we went around the square to go back to the convent. The sisters were happy of their outings, which they rarely do.
Mrs. Leblanc called to say that she still wanted to pick me up to go to Joly. She came around 5:30 pm. I asked Sr. Charitable if she wanted to go with us. She hesitated and I convinced her that she may not find another experience like that. Mrs. Leblanc was in the back of an open kamyonèt. I joined her there in order to take pictures. It took us about 20 minutes to get to Joly. The roads are dirt roads and some hilly parts have some ruts that slowed us. A few people were milling around when they saw the car approach. I took several pictures and asked questions about the two K classes
sponsored by Pax Christi. The people told me if you need any answers, talk to Francky Clermont. He did come and told me that all work for the chapel had stopped since November. He hopes Fr. Ulrick will find the monies to at least supply the doors and windows to provide security. At a distance the construction looks impressive. It provides a central place for the people to meet, teach, and have community gatherings.
I will send the pictures and let Kanna know what I saw and heard. My suggestions would be to have a team go and complete the chapel during a week with the help of the locals. They need to have a sense of ownership and responsibility to maintain this project on their own in a few years. A group like ‘From Here to Haiti’ might be helpful.
On the way back we had some difficulty on the road because of the rut on the steep hill, the car stalled. The ride was pretty scary. The ‘kamyonet’ swayed and wobbled as it made its way up the road. I held on for dear life as the driver had to drive backwards (over road we already covered) in order to build momentum to get us up the mountainside. When we got to the top we had to look for water because the radiator had a hole.
As it was my last night with the sisters, we prayed, had dinner and talked a while about the celebration of the day, our adventures walking in town, and going to Joly.
I helped Sister Francoise open a new Skype account.