Day 10 – Tuesday May 21, 2013

I woke up at 4:30 am because I forgot to turn off yesterday’s alarm.  I went back to bed and tried to sleep.  Finally, at 4:45 am, I got up to go shower.  I noticed again in this home that there is no hook to hang neither a towel nor a robe; no shelf to place toiletries, and there are no shower curtain and rod.  In this particular convent, next to the room I occupy the amenities are built in three different stalls: one for the sink, one for the toilet, one for the shower.  This facility has no running water.  We have to use a bucket filled with water and a small bowl.  I had to use the lantern in the stalls.   I feel so blessed that at home I have the luxury of these comforts — a switch for electricity to be turned on/off at our will and pleasure; running water in the faucets with hot or cold according to our choice; a hook to hang towels; a rug to stand on while drying oneself; etc… the things we take for granted.

We went to prayer at 5:45 am followed by breakfast.  We had pineapple and spaghetti, Corossol juice, and coffee.  Helped wash the dishes and put them away.  I went in the yard and picked up from the ground the mangoes that had fallen during the night.  The sisters gather them in a wheelbarrow for the kids to take on their way home after dismissal.  I watched Sr. Francoise teach a catechism classes to the fourth graders.  The children first practiced some songs for the liturgy, and then she discussed the creed and sins.
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Buteau called to have an informal interview with me for the Haitian Apostolate internet radio Solidarite .  I recounted some of the events in the first few days of my trip and the coincidental visit of President Michel Martelly to Anse-a-Veau as we came in too.  There is only one main entrance into town. I also mentioned several emails and contact information I had sent of people I had met.  He would need to follow up with them for possible interviews.

I worked with Sr. Charitable, typing tests for the end of the 3rd semester on the laptop I had brought for her.  I used the Natcom jump to have access to the Internet.  I thanked the PTFS for my stay with them and copied Buteau so he could follow up with them for possible interviews about their projects.

I walked with Mrs. Leblanc and a student along a road behind the convent, passing by the cemetery to reach la Ville Basse.  The city is in the process of building roads there, from the square to the back of the church and the side of the convent by the cemetery to downtown.

Mrs. Leblanc mentioned how she is planting flowers and bushes along the road.  She is so proud of the work sponsored by CORA for the TiSese market place where the street vendors are able to sell their merchandise in clean surroundings.

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While walking some kids on the street will call me “blan sa w pote pou mwen?” (White woman, what do you have for me?” I know they realize I am not a local.  I say to them,  “Why do you call me that?  Don’t you see that I am Haitian like you?”  They look at me funny.

Two boys were walking on the road by the cemetery ahead of me.  One boy picked up a rock and said to the other “your name is written on it”.  The other boy asks why he says that.  “I tell you your name is written on it for me to hit you in the head with it to break your skull.”  When I heard that, I said:  “Poukisa ou di sa, sa pa bèl.”  He insisted:  “His name is written on it for that purpose.”  I said: “why don’t you think of something nicer to say or think about.”  He said:  “Maybe I will find a rock that will be made of gold.  Then I would become rich so that I can get a lot of spaghetti to eat for breakfast, and rice and beans for lunch.  Then I will leave this place.”  I did not comment as I had reached the convent.

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At 5:30 pm we gathered at church to recite the rosary, prayers in honor of Mary, followed by mass.  As soon as we get back we have supper usually a potage or labouyi.

Srs. Charitable, Francoise, Simonique and I worked on completing the budget for the proposal they had submitted to Mr. Labissiere requesting equipments and funds for the school.

Day 11 – Wednesday May 22, 2013

The alarm on the phone was not turned off, it woke me up at 4:20 am AGAIN. Went back to sleep and woke at 5 am, showered and went to prayer at 5:45 am.  The electricity was not working we went on the adjoining porch and used the beginning daylight.

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The students in the school yard

I watched Sr. Charitable open the school day with all the children in the yard.  She prayed, bid them well, and gave them the thought for the day, while I went to the office to type the budget on excel.
Sr. Charitable gathered the children who are being sponsored by the people of Colorado at Pax Christi. I took a group picture then one for each child individually.

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The children flash me their biggest smiles

Around 11 am I went next door to talk about Kenna’ concerns for Joly and St. Anne’s proposal.  I prepared with Fr. Ulrick the budget for the cantine and the parish.   We completed them to send to Kanna. Fr. Ultrick understood that in this time of economical difficulty how hard it was to raise money in the parish twinning process.  He appreciated all the support already provided and promised to improve his acknowledgement methods to funds received.

At 1:15, Sr. Charitable, the teachers and I met in one of the classrooms.  I presented my predictable books and brought up the need to help the children to be aware of the environment by writing about it.  I had heard the day before the children saying in unison: “3 et 2, 32”; “5 et 7, 57”.  It had taken me a while to figure out the children were reading the numbers not adding.  I mentioned if it would be best to say: 3 dizèt et 2 inite fè 32. The meeting was short  but the teachers were very interested in the process of reading to writing and writing to reading.
I walked around town from the square, some side streets toward the ocean, then toward ‘labasseville’ and came back through the cemetery route.  I wished to have had a guide to really acquaint myself with the area. I stopped by L’ Ecole Polytechnique Sainte Anne (Polytechnic School) Institute of Higher Education and Career Development opened in October 2012.  I spoke with Mr. Nivrose, the director. CORA of NY had asked for an estimate for the repair of the parish hall into renovating it for the mediatheque for the use of both the School and the town.  CORA is negotiating with Patricia Brintle of From Here to Haiti to take this as a project.  CORA will raise the funds.  They only need the expertise and the work model of FHTH to complete the mediatheque in a timely fashion.
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Feeling hot when I got to the cocnvent, I showered.   I was pleasantly surprised to find a hook on the inside of the stall’s door, a towel on the floor, and hangers in the closet.  We had supper and each one of us went to our bedrooms.
The rain was still pouring heavily as we went to bed.

Day 12 – Thursday May 23, 2013

I did not put the alarm on.  I waited for the house activities to wake me up.  I made it just in time for prayer everyone already had their places, the sisters and the postulants.  For breakfast we had pineapple, spaghetti (I still don’t get it – where is the mori, aranso, or even soup! Spaghetti? I found it hard to stomach such heavy food in the morning) and labapen.  At home in NY, coffee and a piece of toast is my typical morning meal.
The Sr. Superior and the principal were sweeping water from the gathering area because of last night’s torrential rain.  I took over for the principal so that she could attend to the needs of the children.   The ground was littered with mangoes.
At 10:45 am, Frerot Poincon from the diocese picked me up to go to Miragoane to meet Fr. Claude Telemaque. His parish in Morisseau.  I was glad that Frerot used the main entrance of Anse-a-Veau so that I could experience going on the two bridges over La Grande Rivière.  At Quetant, the ocean water looked so beautiful. I love the open space and unpopulated area.
DSCN0492 The road called Dupuy is asphalted through  Madian, Charlierr, Bezin, Bondeau past the three prong corner leading to Miragoane, route National and Payant.  We still have smooth road past the children’s park (stasyon kamyonet).  Roads in Anse-a-Veau and Miragoane are being built.  Those roads, which were built for a while, are not being maintained by the people.  I see garbage or construction material left right on the road. These actions are destroying the road as well as impede traffic.

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Cathedral

It took us about an hour and half to reach the rectory of St. Jean Baptiste Cathedral.  I waited a while, prayed, and made a few pictures of the area. We are in the vicinity of the area of the Nippes project to rehabilitate the old mining port and to develop a 5sq.-km, industrial, commercial and agricultural free zone around it.  This project was presented in NY on April 8, 2013 to CORA by Dr. Calonges, Mr. Clermont and and Mr. Rouzier.  Miragoane seems to be populated and run down in some places. This endeavor will bring new life and development as well as housing improvements I hope. Our community in NY is praying that this public private partnership will become a successful reality for the sake of our people.
Msgr. Herve Grand-Jean came out and asked if I recognized him.  As usual, I could not remember his name but knew that his face was a familiar one.  I had met and talked to him at last year CRS meeting on twinning in Washington DC.  Fr. Grand-Jean told me he has been in this parish for the past three years.
He had to open a school from pre-K to 4th grade to accommodate about 300 students in the neighborhood.  The school named Ecole de St. Antoine de Padua asks for tuition of 500 Haitian Dollars that most students are unable to pay.  He celebrates daily mass at 6:15 am followed by the ‘breviaire’ to  about 30-50 participants.  Week-end masses are celebrated on Saturdays at 5:30 pm and Sundays at 6:30 am, 8:45 am, 11 am and  5:30 pm with an attendance of 300 to 500 people.  As a pastoral committee member, he is preparing the ‘Congres sous l’Eucharistie’ which will be celebrated in this diocese the week-end of May 30 to June 2nd with some well known bishops including Cardinal Wenski of Florida.
On the way to Morisseau, I asked Fr. Telemaque about himself and his mission.  He works as an ‘adjunct’ to Fr. Yves Voltaire on Educational issues.  He was ordained two years ago.  He did not wish to go to a rural parish.  When he was asked to replace Fr. Dumas who was in a coma after a car accident, he felt he had to honor him by accepting joyfully that assignment.  He had witnessed and heard of the work Fr. Dumas was accomplishing with the parishioners.  All the people in Morrisseau welcomed him. He appeared to be passionate and ready to take on his role as the newly ordained priest and to take on all the challenges.  To make ends meet for himself and his parish, he teaches French at a private institute.  He must take a moto taxi, two ‘kamyonèt’ to reach his destination.  He is also responsible for the parochial school, K-7, which hires 14 teachers for the 180 students.  He celebrates mass weekdays at 6:30 am and Sundays at 8 am.
Fr. Telemaque wishes desperately that PFTS come to the Nippes to help with agriculture, husbandry, professional school and takeover of the National school.  He also mentioned two bodies of water that cause a lot of damage for this area, specially the one in Bouzi.  He is hoping that Fr. Denis Hubert of St. Catherine and Magistrat Pierre Marie would address this problem.
DSCN0316The road to his Parish took us about two hours including stopping for some errands for Fr.  We passed the community house we had previously visited with the PFST Nanbòn.  Renaud Cherubin and Yves Decopin joined us for an informal conversation on ideas that could be developed to feed the children such as beans product that could be eaten with kasav, lam veritab, or plantain: bean burgers, bean soup, bean stew, bean casserole, bean salad, bean pure, fried bean, and baked bean.
At 4 pm, we took the way back to Anse-a-Veau.   Frerot was very pleasant and willing to cooperate.  He seems very involved in Miragoane’s television programming.  He mentioned that he attends school on the week-end to complete a degree in Finance specifically accounting. He feels that he has to go abroad to get a chance to find a job. I ask him if there would be a possibility to open his own business. I mentioned to him my youth dream of having an oceanfront resort–school and model–where we would train and prepare several people to have jobs: cleaning the ocean, maintaining the beach, food vendors of Haitian Food, bar tenders, waiters, drivers for transportation for the place, mechanics, uniform sewers, cooks, sales people, public relation personnel, accountants, and managers, etc… I had to remunerate Frerot for spending the day driving me around.  We arrived around 6:45 pm.
I had a chance to go to evening prayer.  After supper the sisters and I chatted for half an hour.

Day 13 – Friday May 24, 2013

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.

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Students honoring the teachers and administration

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.
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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.

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Fishermen working on their nets

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.

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Unfinished chapel, and rooms inside (below)

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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.

Day 14 – Saturday, May 25, 2013

I woke up at 5 am to make sure I would be ready at whatever time the group of women would pick me up.  The sisters and I prayed and had breakfast.  At 7:45 I had my suitcase by the door and called to find out why the delay with the group.  Therese could not call me because she had left my number at home.  They had just passed- the Digicel indicator ‘welcome to Anse-a-Veau’ and there was a sign saying road closed for the one leading to the convent.  The sisters asked Harold to carry my suitcase for me down the steps of the church; they also provided food in a cantine for the group–rice and beans with lanbi.  The car was packed; we placed the suitcase in the back between Therese and me.  We passed by Mrs. Leblanc and dropped off a bottle of liqueur for her.
It took us about an hour to reach Petit Trou de Nippes.  There was no one there under the choukoun.  About five ladies came within a few minutes of our arrival.
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Before the meeting began, I started talking to a few of the women trying to get some information about the region.  The needs for the community are to establish an alphabetization center (which is essentially a literacy center), a health information center, and professional development center.  Petit Troue de Nippes offers:  fish, ‘mazoumbel‘, coconuts, lam veritab, bannann.  There are two hotels–1) Soley Trounippois with 5 rooms managed by Mario Cotty.  2) hotel in construction by Ernest Jean Charles.  There is a library in town with Mrs. Michele Felix as librarian.  In town, there is a medical center, primary schools–national, Bethseda, presbisteral (Ks), a vocational school sponsored by Pasteur Figuaro which offers sewing, ebenistrie, maconnerie, cooking, and patisserie, and a community radio.  Untapped resources:  Grotte Mame (a cave which would make for a great tourist spot), and the ocean, for obvious reasons.
Although a rural place, in Petit Troue de Nippes there were about 30 people gathered for the presentations.  Ruth Pierre Louis welcomed everyone in the name of the organization and gave an overview of the scheduled talks for the day.  First presentation was done by Joanne Goin on History of the group Lig Pouvwa Fanm.  Second presentation done by me was on the role of volunteers.  The third presenter, Mirlande Alexandre, talked about the rights and responsibilities of individuals.  The fourth presentation by Therese Guilloteau was about March 8th and personal image.
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After the presentations, the floor was open for questions or comments.  Several people acknowledged the need to get informed on the different topics discussed today. The participants acclaimed the work of the group to empower women.  The Magistrate of the town, Roberta Lafortune, a young woman, thanked the organization again for coming all the way to the Nippes to meet the people of her town.  I was very much surprised when Lig Pouvwa Fanm presented me with a plaque for being ‘un membre sympatisant’ involved in women issues and community building. The picture below is me with the Mayor of the town.

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Receiving my award, standing with the mayor

After the rocky path from Petit Troup de Nippes, we had some smooth and enjoyable roads with magnificent views, unencumbered by people and traffic.
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Before we reached Carefour Dufort there was a scary incident that could have turned tragic.  At a distance from us we noticed spare tires laying on the right half of the road and large rocks on the other side blocking our passageway.  All nine of us became very quiet probably doing a silent prayer, I was. We were concerned it could be an ambush because there were a few young men on both side of the street.  There were two other jeeps pulling behind us.  The driver immediately behind noticing the situation did not slow down as we had, he sped up pass us and his car hit the rocks and send them flying to the side.  Our driver followed his lead and immediately drove off after him. We were so thankful he had opened a passageway for us. The tensed moment had passed and we resumed our way wondering what could have happened.
It took us about 4 hours to reach Jacmel and visit a reception area in Meyer for a possible fund raising for the group before going to our host house.
Finally, in Therese home we were able to eat a bouyon tètkabrit.  I was really exhausted.

Day 15 – Sunday May 26, 2013

I woke up at 5:30 am, it was still dark.  I showered with running water and a hand-held shower head.  Eddy, Therese and I drank coffee before going to mass at Sacred Heart Church in Jacmel.  After mass, Eddy drove to Meyer, we went to Immaculate Conception Church.  The mass was being celebrated.  We went back toward town but stop at St. Bernadette where I met Sr. Yacinthe, Filles de Marie.

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When we got to Therese’s house Nicolle David and Jean Claude Lamarque were having breakfast–toasted bread, soup joumou, and pineapple slices.  Then Jocelyne Larmarque and Trouva David came later to also have some breakfast and chat.  We had a good time conversing.  The couples are from NY and are both involved within the church through their prayer groups.  Nicolle is responsible for ‘La Vierge qui defait les Noeuds’ group which meets every first Friday of the month in St. Gregory, Brooklyn, under the guidance of Bishop Sansaricq. When they left, we had a good time talking.  Boiled carrots, mirliton, water cress, morue, rice and peas all organic food grown in Haiti.

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Then Eddy drove around town with me, bord de mer, Rue du Commerce, Conference center,  touristic pier decorated with last year carnivals’ masks and float, then proceeded to visit Hotel Lanmandou, past the archdiocese ground.
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Eddy enjoyed going around town and showing off his birth town.  I wanted to visit the Daughter’s of Charity in Jacmel, but Eddy brought me to missionary of Charity (Mother Teresa Sisters).  They have a center across the hospital to take care of malnourish children, individuals affected by Tuberculosis, AIDS, and the aged homeless.  Sr. Abha, the superior, said they do not like publicity, they have no Internet.  The Haitian sister did not want to give her name but I learned that she is a doctor that joined the congregation.  Eddy said the facility was really clean and well manicured.
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When we got to my host’s house, I called Pierre and checked my emails.  It is a relaxing evening in the house.

Day 16 – Monday May 27, 2013

Woke up I guess before 4 am because the lights were still on to the shouting of ‘tiré‘ at least 6 times and a skirmish ensued.  No one besides me was aware of this incident in the house.  I got my purse with my passport ready to run.  Then suddenly everything went quiet.  After a while I guess I fell asleep and woke up at 6:45 to the smell of coffee.  I ran took a quick shower.  Today Eddy had several things scheduled; we decided that I would stay in the house to have a quiet day.
Therese and I reminisced about the time we worked in building the community organization, women’s group, our travels to Haiti and her role as ministre de la condition feminine as well as her continued activities on women’s issues. She believes and I do too what Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Educating women on their rights and responsibility in the family and society whatever their social status is an issue she has always taken to heart.

I have known Therese since we met at European American Bank where we both were employed in the 70’s.  Besides being in HAUP (Haitian Americans United For Progress) – a grassroot community organization which I cofounded with a group of committed and dedicated individuals in 1975- together we also collaborated on a radio program for two years: Fanm d’Ayiti.  I appreciate her determination, discipline, and love for Haiti.  Even if we would disagree on some minor issues, there is a mutual respect and understanding between us. Along with Therese, I am really honored and grateful to be associated with other women such as Carole Joseph, Nicole Rosefort, and Nancy Esposito who are driven to make a difference in our society as an expression of our faith.
DSCN0739This evening she had company and we ate akra.   Therese also prepared korosòl ice cream in a sòbtyè.  I enjoyed it a lot as well as the penpatat.

Day 17 – Tuesday May 28, 2013

Today I woke up at 6:15 am, had a cold shower, and coffee.  After my prayers, Eddy asked if I wanted to go for a walk in the neighborhood.  We went to the ‘bodmè’, where the project on tourism is trying to construct a boardwalk.
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The roadway is being built with spots for vegetation. The shore was dirty and filled with trash.  I felt, however, that the ocean should also be cleaned and cured at the same time to get the people in the habit of keeping it unpolluted. The town needs to work with the citizens to have the streets kept clean. The market place extends itself to the street of private houses creating unsanitary conditions.  The home owners are hostages to the situation unable to get their car in or out of their homes from 6 am to 6 pm, sometimes 7 pm and the vendors leave their display cart on the private residents’ door steps.  I went to the structures being erected as a new ‘marche’ for the town.  Hope the people will be educated on how to keep it spotless.
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I climbed the stairs leading to the plaza easily.  This is part of the town’s original set up.  I was told that another stairway connecting areas of town was sealed by a foreigner that had bought land nearby disregarding the history and tradition of town because he had connection with the mayor of the city.   Money and power in action!

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Historic landmark

After lunch, we decided to go to the beach.  On our way, we passed Cine Institute.  I asked my host to bring me there.  When we arrived the guard asked my name and I told  him that I wanted to visit the facility because I was told by David Belle to stop by when I was in Jacmel.  The guard told me that he was not authorized to let anyone in.  I mentioned that when I attended three events in NY sponsored by and for Belle he had said that we would be welcomed. He gave us the number of Paula to call and it went right to voice mail.  I took a picture of the gate with the guard but there was nothing else in sight.  We left to proceed to ‘Raymond les Bains’ beach.   The water in the distance was so beautiful but the beach area had empty coconut shells, leaves, …  The sand close to the water edge was gray.  It had rained heavily during the night and the water was not that clear.  I did not feel like going in for a swim.  I walked along the shore letting my feet only get wet.
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Therese and I shared a coconut because it had a lot of water.  While we were sitting at the beach, we got a call from Paula saying that she would be available to show us around Cine Institute. On our way back we stopped.  We received visitor’s passes and were allowed to park inside past an organic garden.  I made several pictures mostly of the cliff and ocean area for deep underwater diving.  We had a great conversation with Paula Hyppolite.  She shared some leaves from the ‘élan élan’ plant with us which seems to be disappearing in the country.
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We stopped by Kekette and Guito’s house, cousins of Eddy before getting back home.  They have a field of plantain and other fruit trees right in their backyard.

Day 18 – Wednesday May 29, 2013

I was awoken by a knock, apparently from the main gate.  No one answered.  The knocking repeated several times and eventually I just had to ignore it.  Weird. I finally woke up when I heard the car start because Eddy had to move the car on the side street before the market people occupied the closed street.

I decided to stay in the house with Therese and discuss questions and programming for the radio time the organization, Lipoufanm, will be sponsoring once a week on Sundays for two hours.  Therese is looking for the song ‘fanm d’Ayiti’ which will be the theme song for the program on Radio National d’Haiti.  The group’s slogan is: ‘ Konesans se Pouvwa, Pouvwa fanm se fòmasyon fanm’. She also made a list of music and possible topics she would like to present pending approval of the group.

In the afternoon, Eddy and I visited the other part of town and the Salessians sisters at Lamandou where they have primary, junior high, high school, and an ‘ecole normale’.  The facility is well maintained.  The campus housing these schools looks quite spacious.  Eddy was surprised that this facility existed right here.

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School building

Day 19 – Thursday May 30, 2013

We woke up at 3:00 am so that we would all be ready before the black-out.  We were all ready just as the lights went out. We waited for the driver, Jeanjean, until 4:30 to get on the road to Port-au-Prince.  It was still dark on the tortuous road but at some points there were light reflectors on the parapets where the cliffs were at sharp turns.  We need a good driver to handle this twisted road around the mountain.
We made it to Port-au-Prince with moderate traffic jam except around Carefour.  We passed by Therese’s old house in Vivimitchel.  Then we went to Richard’s house where we ate the bread, lamveritab, and haran we had brought with us.  Therese got a call from Clifford who said he had returned home because A.A. said it had reimbursed the ticket money.  He would not be travelling to Haiti today.
At Lily’s house, Therese had to do many phone calls to resolve this problem.  After an hour or so we went to ‘Livres en Folie’ at the Park Sucre a Canne in Tabarre.  There I visited the museum’s artifacts and viewed the pictures of Jacques Roumain’s family tree.
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It was good to talk to Michaelle Auguste and Mrs. Leger about their projects—Haiti’s economic empowerment and memorial for the victims of the earth quake.
In that event I saw Fr. William Smarth who I had tried to contact since my arrival in Haiti.  In the afternoon after walking around the whole park seeing all the authors and the large crowd that came to buy books at a discounted price, we decided to leave.  Then on our way out, I saw Konpè Philo.  He was happy to see me too.  We took a picture together as he had to continue to do his interviews.
I was dropped at Alix’s house to be picked up by Roger Taneus to go to the Auberge Sur La Montagne at Fermathe.
Alix is in the midst of modifying his house to accommodate his planned pharmacy.  The roads were pretty smooth, even up to the top of the mountain where the Auberge is located.
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I met the other guests:  Mrs. Jeanine Miyot Paultre and Mr. Jean Pierre.
We had dinner and I went to bed early in very comfortable surroundings.

I really felt lucky.  I had left Haiti at 18 living practically alone with my older brother, Jean Claude, before I got married at 19.  My husband and I struggled to raise our family through hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.  We were able to do well.  I am so grateful for my aunt, Jacqueline Roumain, who ensured my education and instilled values in me. She had encouraged me to teach the ‘restavek’ children at Rallye de St. Gerard when I was sixteen. She testified of self-less giving to many members of the family while raising me.  I believe she would be proud of me.