Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hurricane Isaac Strikes the Hill Country

The Momance overflows
Terraced crops - gone

The destruction to crops and already weathered, weather-beaten and water-leaking wooden housing in mountains --- NO TENTS HERE --- is...what can many of us relate it to, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"?!!  I don't have the soundtrack (yet).

Our team does have a plan for raising funds to raise tin for rooftops.  We have a pledge from local congregation already.  If you'd like to help with purchase of tin for roofing for this community, we are at

Friday, August 17, 2012

We will Sing, and Chase the Darkness Away

And the old shall dream dreams...
Below, scroll to hear Lisa Levine's "We Will Sing"

And the young shall have visions

And our hopes will rise...

Rise to the skies...

‎"KNOW HAITI WELL," ADVISES BILL GATES - INDEED. When the 28-year-old Hollywood star asked the computer billionaire if she should be looking at causes beyond just Haiti, Gates told her to scale back.
"He said, 'No, invest your time in Haiti and know your subject well,'" -


'trying my hand measuring out a "godet" of mayi moulin pou vann. M poko jwen klient, men...m ede Gran, Madam Andre, nan mache, Fort Kampon.

"Go to the people.
Live among them.
Learn from them.

Love them.
Serve them.
Plan with them.  Start with what they know.
Build on what they have."

Words by Dr. Y.C. Yen, found on the office wall of D. Larry Mellon

Update from Zoranje Zone - the Whole Truth

1.  ACCESS TO WATER - Our pumps and solar panels have been freed from Customs, and are finally in the hands of the Port au Prince team, ENERSA,  ,
that will be installing everything by mid-September (they say.)

2.  Digicel  (Haiti's ATT) has provided materials for the school. Unfortunately, the expectation that hauling the 6 tons of cement, cement blocks, rebar, etc., is not quite realistic --- given that it is 3500 feet of rock and no road.  Nevertheless the people - and children - of the zone are determined to make this happen, so they do this the only way they know how: human labor (and a few mules that have had enough grazing land to feed on...).

3. I was up in the zone as "Resident anthropologist" again  this past July.  I note that tons of materials are accruing at the river's edge, where the path to ascend to Zoranje Zone begins.  I will attach a short video clip.  Both children and adults have been recruited to haul the materials up; even with this, and all the mules (and their guides) that the entire zone could ever assemble (mules need to rest and be fed/grazed as well!), it is hard to say when, if ever, all 6 tons of materials will make it to the building site.  Here is the 4 min. music video which speaks  - sings - to that effort:

Pastor Djon (Dieudonne) has been scrambling motivating folks and doing whatever he can to get help and mules. He built housing for the engineers and construction team, and a place to secure materials.  He obtained more land, a better building site. In fact, there was once, briefly, a bulldozer that came to start digging a road.  Unfortunately, they coud not afford gas for the bulldozer, nor, it seems could anyone construe a way to KEEP getting fuel to the bulldozer as it made its way up the mountain.   Here's 3 min. of videotape of the children working
KQPgIE6yAYo- of course, for this, they get fed a huge bowl of rice and sauce pwa, and water.  In the morning, everybody had coffee when they made the descent, and water along the way carried for the workers by other childre.  

Folks are stumped, the bulldozer is gone.  I hear that, bit by bit, children continue to carry things up, adults too.

I am awaiting an update - from my local colleague, Toma, and/or the Digicel CEO, as to when the engineers might be able to start, and what, if anything, Digicel Foundation might do to ease the literal burden on these children and their parents?

The one minute video of materials accrued at the base of the mountain:

4.  All in all, it is at least testimony to the strength and dogged determination of the Haitian people of the mountains. In the face of all this,  I am humbled, and in awe.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Morality for Beautiful Girls, and the rest of us

Surely, I am not alone among friends of Haiti, friends of Haitians, and Haitians?  This quote from "Morality for Beautiful Girls," by Alexander McCall Smith strikes a resonant chord and helps me understand.

“She had often been out of pocket on a case simply because she could not refuse to help a person in need.  This is what I am called to do, she said to herself.  I must help whomsoever asks for my help.  That is my duty: to help other people with the  problems in their lives.  Not that you could do everything.  Africa was full of people in need of help and there had to be a limit.  You simply could not help everybody but you could at least help those who came into your life.  That principle allowed you to deal with the suffering you saw.  That was your suffering.  Other people would have to deal with the suffering that they, in their turn, came across.”