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)

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