Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday, again the blog was not liking me!
Yesterday was long and wonderful. We started our day bright and early on accounts of taking the long trip to LaGonave, having breakfast around 7. Delicious, as always. From there Rebecca, Melissa, Robens, Marckenson, Jimme fathers driver, and myself headed out on our long trek to Miragoâne, on the western side of Haiti past Leoganne, where we would take a boat to get over to LaGonave. It is about a 2.5-3 hour car ride, depending on conditions. This was my first time seeing Miragoâne as the last time I went to LaGonave we took a small plane, and when I say small I mean I was sitting in the cockpit. The docks at Miragoâne was a bustling place to say the least.
From there, we took a small speed boat over to Latorre on LaGonave (one of the boats we were a me to partner with Food for the Poor to help them get! Very cool!). It takes also about 2.5-3 hours, or longer depending on conditions. The water was great on our way there, not as smooth on our way back but still not bad!
Seeing Latorre was amazing. So much has changed since I was last here in 2011. Food for the Poor has continued to work with the people there and has built a large settlement of houses up the hillside, a stark contrast to what the people had been living in before when they were right on the coast. They have moved up on account of seeing the effects of a changing climate; rising sea levels and increased storms have caused many problems for this sea side village. We had a great meeting with the community and collected some great project ideas, including working with the women in the village become more self sustainable in order to better care for their families. Everyone in the village would cooperate and support this cooperative of women in order to help them succeed, as stated by the community leader Vené. It was a long but productive meeting, and it will be great to have the team weigh in on it when we get back.
As I said the ride over was not quite as smooth. Poor Marckenson and Melissa got soaked due to the choppy water, and one whole side of me was drenched and salty by the time we arrived back at Miragoâne about 3 hours later. Nonetheless it was still fun. Everyone was wiped by the time we got back to the rectory in Mon Lopital.
Will update with pics later!! I got some good ones
Today has also been wonderful. We got up a little later and had breakfast around 8. Spicy spaghetti, a Haitian breakfast classic, and delicious fruit. Can’t go wrong with that!
We went to Rivière Froide today, to visit our school. It looks so different in Rivière Froide, time has certainly left it’s mark. The giant technical school that was started after the earthquake has been completed, for a year this month, and is HUGE and beautiful. How different things are compared to the last time I saw it’s progress, which was next to nothing. The question, as we were talking about, is who can afford to attend it? In the remote village of Rivière Froide certainly not many people.
It was fantastic to see our school, and honestly a little emotional for me especially given that in a few days it will be five years since Rebecca, Gail, Mike and I were here for the earthquake. Brought back a lot of memories of the day and all the days that came after to make the school a reality. I am immensely glad I could be here to see it today. The Sister who was there told us the children are doing well, as school is not in session currently.
On our way back, we stopped at fathers orphanage in Port Au Prince to see the children and update rosters for sponsorships, as each child that has been taken in by Father Roosevelt is sponsored by members of the BRCC community! We have drawings and pictures as well!
Father was done with his church retreat today, so we picked him up on our way back from the orphanage. We talked on the way back a little bit about my research. I recently wrote a paper blending elements of Haitian history, the earthquake (including my personal experience), and contemporary issues and the serious problem that comes with the common view taken on these things by those outside of Haiti. Whenever you hear about Haiti, it is always bad, and if it is good it is about Americans doing good work. This view leaves a gaping hole in what the perspective should be, which is holistic and understanding that so many Haitians do many good things for themselves, their communities, and to create and Instill change motivated by caring and accepting intentions. Haiti is not just the deep dark hole of poverty and aid that so many people think it is, there is so much more to the story of it’s people that should be brought to light. So That is what I am working on! I will be speaking with a few people while I am here to be able to share Haitians stories, perspectives, and experiences, and I am starting this with personal accounts of the earthquake. Stay posted for details and maybe one day a publication
Once we got back we went for a great walk up to the quary and over and around the mountain, which was wonderful! Melissa totally wiped out on the way down (sorry to put her on blast, but I had to ). It was an amazing view!! When we got back to the rectory we set up the theater equipment, including screen, projector, and speakers, on the roof to test it out. We will be setting up a community member of Mon Lopital, Eddie, with this equipment to fund a outdoor theater business idea to support a community project with kids to develop leadership and self sustainability. We all sat on the roof, watched a movie and had popcorn and Ragamans, a Haitian ginseng drink with so much caffeine that it has a warning label on it. We finished the night up by playing a few rounds of Uno, which was great great fun. So many good times so far, I really do love it here!
Sorry for the longness of this blog! More tomorrow, and will update with pictures =)