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)

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