Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Battle of Vertières

It can be very difficult to keep up with holidays here. I am slowly learning the significance of them- year by year. Today, November 18th marks The Battle of Vertières- a battle that signaled the defeat of the French. It is a particularly important holiday in the North of Haiti because this is where the battle took place. The President is in town today and we are hoping and praying for a peaceful time of remembrance. If you are interested in learning more about this, I found a blog that gives a good synopsis. Haiti Bonjou
Renwin- a mom who lives at The Maison & her 5 pups
Our time in Cap Haitien has marked lots of new things for me. First off, driving. I am now driving a stick-shift vehicle for errands, meetings, and just general needs. Driving in Haiti is fun and terrifying all in one. There is one rule: The Biggest Truck Wins. So you learn to weave in & out of traffic, avoiding potholes and motorcycle drivers. Second, Excel. I am working with HHA on a large grant to improve maternal & infant care in the Cap Haitien area. So I am learning to better navigate Excel, as well as to translate documents into Creole. Lastly, patience. Chris & I are both learning to best navigate our living situation when we have essentially been living out of suitcases since August. We will build a private apartment in a place called The Volunteer Village, and we are hoping that will happen sooner rather than later.
Chris eating a fish... or some kind of dinosaur
We also have the privilege of working with some phenomenal people- Haitian & expat. Just as an example, on the ground right now we have many countries represented- USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, & Switzerland. Not to mention the Chilean U.N. base down the road. So Chris & I are working on our many accents and I am currently watching a British comedy called Gavin & Stacey- a classic, apparently. 
The Maison de Benediction is a respite center for kids with disabilities. Always a joyful place!
I re-read A Wrinkle In Time a few months ago- a classic that my Mom read aloud when I was little. There is a passage that continues to ring in my mind as I am learning and growing in my new position here. So as I head out to check on a few things at the hospital, this is what is running through my mind.

"My child, do not despair. Do you think we would have brought you here if there was no hope? We are asking you to do a difficult thing, but we are confident you can do it."
-A Wrinkle In Time, Madeleine L'Engle-

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rainy days in North Haiti

We are officially in Cap Haitien! I write this as I sit in my office and stare out at the rain that has been falling for 3 days. We are finding our way here- making new friends, wandering out amongst all of the green farm fields, and getting to work. While Gonaives is only three hours from Cap Haitien, they are so different. It is green here- trees and farm fields everywhere. Fat cows. Birds singing in the morning. Oh, and of course the tarantulas. We are also helping take care of 6 dogs, 4 cats, one balding rabbit, 5 puppies, and a hand full of very fat and healthy chickens.
Green charcoal takes farm waste & makes it into business!! Green Charcoal
We are getting our rhythm set and getting used to a different area. We have loved living at the Maison de Benediction, a respite home for children with disabilities, as well as getting to know everyone here at HCBH, which is Haiti Hospital Appeal's partner here in Haiti.
This is how I find the boys most afternoons.
As you read this, people all over the US are heading to the polls to vote. Today in Haiti we remember that local elections here are three years late. Think of the people of Haiti today as you put on your "I Voted" sticker as they fight and struggle to have a voice. If you're interested in hearing more about the political situation in Haiti, check out this ABC Link.
My view from the office Day 3 of rain
"In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.-