Monday, March 30, 2009

Waiting for the rains

Guilto Orne, a member of the group "Tèt Ansanm" or "Head's Together", by his vegetable tires near his home just up from the Samanà river. Guilto is one of the "agricultural promoters" helping providing monitoring and follow up for the yard production projects sponsored by APB--Association of Planters of Bassin Zim.

Just a brief note to keep the blog a bit "fresh." Jenny and I are doing well, settling more and more into the new routines of a new house in a different community. We moved up the mountain about three miles from the community of Papay, where I had lived for four and a half years. We now live in Bassin Zim, where there are fewer roosters, fewer dogs and less traffic on the country road in front of our house. Each morning, around 5:30, I ride my bike, together with two or three other crewmembers, down the mountain to MPP's training center, where most of our work is going on. Around 8:30, Jenny drives down in the crew's Toyota Landcruiser to go to work at MPP's integrated health center, working in the medical lab.

In the lab right now, besides her regular work, Jenny is training a young woman, Moceline, in some of the basic lab techniques, so that Moceline can keep the lab going while Jenny is in Nicaragua during maternity leave. In order to help Moceline learn as quickly as possible, Jenny invited members from my crew to provide "free" stool samples, which Moceline will examine as part of her training. Ten days ago, or so, Moceline made the leap to being able to identify parasite "eggs" in the scope.

After several days of rains a few weeks ago, we have had nothing here in the Central Plateau, although I understand it is raining in Port au Prince. Those rains were apparently just a taste of what it might be like to finally move into the rainy season. After a week or so of no dust, and even some mud!, we are back to clouds of it--even the motorcycles raise them.

I need to get up home, so will sign off for now. If you see fit to offer prayers for us, please pray for Jenny's pregnancy to continue to be without serious problems, and continue to pray for the leaders of Haiti, and throughout the world--for wisdom in looking for ways to protect God's creation, and provide opportunities for all of God's children.

In Christ,


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Electrical, Medical, Painting Brigade--The party

The Electrical, Medical, Painting Brigade, continued.

These are more photos and descriptions from the trip my brother, Keith Hare, and three friends made January 22nd-1 February, 2009.

The party was the night before the group returned to Port au Prince and was a partly a celebration of Jenny and my marriage--the first time we publicly celebrated with friends from Haiti and specifically from MPP. The party was also a celebration of the first time I had family and friends come together to visit our work in Haiti.

Note: All photos are by Keith Hare, Bill Gettys Tim VanFleet. All rights reserved.

Friday night, the party. Fanahème Joachim, farmer, leader of MPP and now Jenny's and my new neighbor. Fanahème was the "MC" for the party, which included speeches, dances and a skit.

The entertainment was organized by the dance and theater group, Ibolele (ee bo lay lay) and included traditional, "folkloric" dances.

The skit was written by Dificil who plays a stock character he calls "Jokoy," a cantankerous old farmer who suffers high blood pressure, "sugar" (diabetes), "salt" (who knows) and "brak," which is a unique Creol word which means the food has no flavor at all. Jokoy is lying on the floor, his "wife " is by his side asking the Cuban doctor (played by me) what to do.

The feast. When Haitians put on a feast, it is a true expression of God's abundance. Jenny and I have been guests any number of times to these types of celebration, so it was nice to be able to finally be the hosts. Coordinating the meal was Elise, the woman who is in charge of MPP's kitchen, and of all of the organization's events. This was not an official MPP event, but MPP lent us all of the facilities and Elise agreed to put together the budget and take complete responsibility for cooking the food.
The party got high marks for being well-organized, for the quality and quantity of food and for the entertainment. Participants were generally disappointed, though, that after the meal, there was only limited dancing, and because the music ended at 11:00.

We moved in!!!

Jenny and I moved into the new house Friday, March 6th. We had a work day ("konbit") with over twenty friends and neighbors on Sunday, March 1st, cleaning the yard, weaving the mesh for the kitchen and porches, painting inside, finishing and improving the fence around the yard, and maybe two or three other chores. We started moving some of the furniture Tuesday, March 3rd, especially some furniture that had to be "re-configured" by two carpenter friends in order to fit the dimensions of the new rooms. Finally, Friday, we got most of the rest of the furniture up the mountain. Saturday, Sunday and Monday we gradually got the rest of it up, and now we are fairly well established. We still depend on our neighbors on the north side (Fanahème and Ygenia) for water and I still needs to move our vegetable tires up to the new house. I need to make a plan for the rest of the yard,too. The details are not all clear, but I hope to have a goat shed, a chicken shed, at least one simple cistern to collect rainwater, a filter system for bath and dish water and a lot of tires.

The Electrical, Medical, Painting Brigade

Back to the visit from my brother, Keith together with three friends--Bill Gettys, Tim VanFleet and Mary Beth Poland, 22 January-01 February. More pictures. (Note: All photos by Keith Hare, Bill Gettys or Tim VanFleet. All rights reserved)

Jezilio, one of the four carpenters who worked on Jenny and my new house. Bill Gettys was impressed with the quality of the craftmanship, particularly given the total lack of any sophisticated equipment.

Reno (left) talking with Mark about the purchases necessary for the new house. Reno was the master carpenter for the house.

South side of the new house. The new tin roofing covers the new porches that Jenny and I had built. The older tin is the original house. We have paint for painting the old tin roofing and we will have a roof painting "konbit" ("barn building" type activity) with friends and neighbors to prepare and paint the roof.

The two 50 Watt solar panels are at the very top of the house, one towards the right and one towards the left.

The controller, connecting the solar panels to the batteries and the batteries to the breaker box distributing the electricity to the lights, which are all 12 Volt DC bulbs. The box also send current to the inverter which turns the 12 Volt DC current into 120 Volt AC.

The breaker box which distributes the 120 Volt from the inverter to the receptacles in Mark's office. The inverter is screwed into the plywood below the box.

The six Volt batteries, two tied together for 12 Volt capacity. The batteries and the inverter were stolen before Jenny and I moved into the house. We replaced the batteries (although we still owe for the original ones) and we are using an inverter which Mark purchased for the Road to Life Yard project. The "blessing" of the theft was that we've found considerable ways to increase the security for the house.

Visit to Bassin Zim, Friday, the last day before the road trip back to Port au Prince.

Inside looking out from one of the caves up behind the waterfalls at Bassin Zim.

Inside the Bassin Zim cave

Madanm Vernal (right), Friday afternoon (January 30th), preparing food for the festival. Jenny and I decided to organize the party in order to celebrate our marriage, for the first time together with MPP friends. It was also a party to officially welcome and celebrate the first visit to MPP by a group of family and friends.
More photos of the party will be in another post.

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