My husband Steve and I arrived safely in Haiti on Tuesday. We were greeted by our good friend, Jo Barbosa and Mikey, our new friend and driver from Jacmel.
We started on our three hour drive to Jacmel. The view from the mountains was beautiful though the switchbacks through the countryside were a little bit terrifying.
We are staying at the guest home of Bonnie MacAusland, who has an outreach mission in Haiti under the auspices of ORA International. Ellen Stewart, from Miramichi greeted us along with the Haiti housestaff. It's a beautiful yellow home on the Western Edge of Jacmel.
Our first day we visited the Haiti Children's Home, run by Danny Pye. Danny and his wife Leanne are amazing. They have a home that supports 22 Haitian children plus one of their own. He's been living in Haiti for the past 5 years with his "family". We stayed for dinner with the entire "family". It was a lot of fun. We also met Rosemary and Miles Blair from Fredericton who support a school in the Jacmel area.
This morning we worked at the "Friends of the Children of Haiti" clinic in Cyvadier. Just 15 minutes east of Jacmel. FOTCOH was started by Dick Hammand and has been operating in Haiti for the past 20 years. They have a wonderful medical clinic setup and visiting teams of medical professionals from the US every 2 months. Jo worked with me doing translation and we worked alongside the US staff. Steve worked with the support staff of the clinic, learning how the logistics worked. I have the feeling we'll be working with FOTCOH again very soon.
After a day of 46 patients we had dinner at Bonnie's home with Ellen and friends. Then we were off to meet Bob Davisson of Life Line Haiti. Bob is from Alberta and we had been communicating for the past several months about a joint project in Jacmel. We learned more about his projects and 14 schools that he has built in the last 3 years. An amazing accomplishment in so little time.
We were off at 5:30 am to tour the small mountain village of Savenette with Bob. 5:30...yes, we wanted to start the hike before the afternoon sun set in. It was about an hour's drive to the village of De Perido and then 15 minutes off the highway, through the devastation of the hurricanes of the summer. Then, it was a 60 minute hike up the mountain. For those that have travelled to Prunnette, it's almost twice the distance and a much steeper climb.
We were greeted with the singing of the school kids. It was great. The school in Savenette is an open-concept school with only tarps on the sides but they have a feeding program and honestly, I don't think the children could be happier. Bob has an excellent program there. All his school teachers are of high quality with Teacher's College Certification.
After the visit it was time for a shower and clean up before we toured Jacmel. It is a much smaller city than Cap Haitian and much cleaner. The mayor has received several grants and used the funding to keep the city clean. Though, apparently the joke in Jacmel is that the city stays cleans because the Hurricaines wash the garbage away at least once a year.
That evening we stopped for a take - away dinner of Fried Plantains, Fried Goat, Accre and Marinade. This was just before our surprise birthday party for Jo Barbosa. Jo's has been our good friend since I started working in Haiti and we were delighted to be able to spend his 29th birthday with him.
We were off to another of Bob's schools today in Chabin. This is just 15 minutes west of Jacmel, and the original school that Miles and Rosemary had started. He's got a lovely school for kids from K-7 and the upper level has almost been completed for the high school. Bob hopes to develop the area in the future with a technical college and medical clinic.
We were joined by Sara Wallace of Olive Tree Projects. Sara is a midwife from Alberta and moved to Haiti in 2008 to start education projects for midwives and an orphanage. We've linked her with the FOTCOH group and she will be assisting them in the future as well.
On our return we visiting the medical clinic of Dr. Philippe who is affilitated with the Baptiste Mission in Cayes-Jacmel. He runs a small clinic in the center of Jacmel and performs surgeries at the Mission hospital.
We also met with the nurse at the Government Medical Clinic in Cyvadier. She operates this clinic solo but services a large area with vaccinations, family planning and prenatal care. They are presently doing expansion and hope to have a Haitian physician again during their social service year.
I guess that's it for the moment. I'd like to send photos and should be able to when we get to Cap Haitian. It has been a great learning experience to date. Keep posted on our blog for updates.