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)

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