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.