Thursday, April 7, 2011

How a trip to Cap Haitien can suck the life out of you

Anyone who has spent a little time in Haiti, will quickly learn that nothing is easy here. It's best just to work on that assumption and then be pleasantly surprised when something is easy - it'll save you years of stress and frustration.

On Saturday we went in Cap with a significant list of things to do for the wedding and for the apartment. Perhaps it was too ambitious, but it was all things that needed to get done in the next little while. Anyways, we set off at about 9 am in the truck. Now, getting to Cap itself is an adventure. It's only 25 kms away, but only a quarter of the road is paved (with pot-holes), the rest is gravel (with pot-holes) and very dusty as we haven't had any rain in weeks. Needless to say, I don't make the trip into Cap unless I absolutely need to. Along the way, we stopped at the wedding venue, paid the deposit and continued on.

We arrived in Cap. Cap Haitien is a city that was built or planned for about 200,000 people - it now contains about 1 million people. So, needless to say, it's crowded, busy and dusty! Traffic, is well, interesting. I know that it's a whole lot better than Port au Prince, but for the size of the city, it's still frustrating. Our next stop was the florists - but they weren't open. So we headed off to the hardware/appliance store to look for a stove and a fridge. After some talking and negotiating, we were able to settle on a stove and fridge. The stove is a bit bigger than I wanted, but when you only have 3 to choose from, you have to go with what you got. Driving to Port to find one just doesn't seem worth it. We didn't take them with us, because we didn't have the extra money for the stove. Cal went back on Monday to pick them up.

After that, we were off to the "stores" to find kitchen and household supplies. Mama was with us to help in our search and negotiations. Basically all of downtown Cap is one big open air market, but there are some "stores" along the side streets. We searched up and down, but Mama couldn't find anything that made her happy, so we to the main central market with all the food, clothes, shoes, supplies - basically anything you would need. After weaving our way through the "machanns" with their rice, vegetables, meat, etc, we found the kitchen supply area - heaven. We start picking all kinds of things we need - pots, spoons, bowls, knives, etc. We got a pretty good haul for about $50 US. We piled everything into a "kivet" (a large basin) and paid someone to carry it out through the maze of the crowded market to the truck for us.

By this time, I'm getting pretty tired, and hot. It turned hot here last week, so it's around 30 degrees during the day. We go to a nearby restaurant for a bite to eat and a drink and to regroup. After, we go back to the florists, they are open now. Made our payment for the wedding flowers and all the final arrangements. One last stop. To buy a mattress/boxspring. Here again, there isn't a lot of choice, unless you want to buy used - then there is tons of choice. We find a bed, make a negotiation and tie it to the truck. We're done!!!

By now it's about 3 pm and I'm wiped and a headache it starting to set in. We get home around 4, I eat the lunch that Marlene left for us, shower and fall down on my bed with exhaustion. My headache lingered around all night and into the morning. Finally, by Sunday afternoon I was feeling a bit normal again.

I shouldn't complain too much - Cal made the trip to Cap again Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It's tiring. Good thing I have a week to recover before my trip back to catch the bus to the DR!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Sendie Salomon
Sendie came into the clinic on Monday morning with her aunt. She is 10 years old and lives with her 4 brothers and parents in La Coup - a section of Haut Limbe. Since she was born, she has been hard of hearing. She began attending school at age 3, but has always struggled to keep up. The teachers do their best to help her, but class sizes are huge here and they simply do not have the extra time or expertise to give Sendie the attention she needs. She is able to read and write, but is very shy to speak as she has difficulties because of her hearing problems.

After Manno saw her, he called me to come and get her story so that we could send an email out to friends and supporters of the clinic to see if anyone would be willing to help Sendie so that she could see a specialist, perhaps in the DR. I wrote an email yesterday morning, not being very optimistic about what kind of response we would receive. Oh me of little faith.

This morning when I opened the inbox, we already had 5 responses from people with ideas and wanting to help financially. I was blown away and totally pumped. I showed Manno the emails and he said "this is the body of Christ - it didn't cost us any money to send an email. Can you imagine if we hadn't tried to help this little girl?". It's so true - it's so much bigger than us, God is in control and is working in the lives of people all around the world - in Haiti and in Canada and the U.S.

I'm not sure what the next step is for Sendie, but I'm excited to find out!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

And the winner is...

Michel "Sweet Mickey" Martelly.

Yesterday, just after 6 pm, a roar was heard in the area as the results of the Presidential election were announced. Martelly won with 67% of the vote over Mme Manigat. Martelly is a famous Haitian rap star who is very popular with the young people. Mme Manigat is almost 80 and the former first lady of the country. I don't really know who would have lead the country the best, but I'm just glad this election process is finally over! With Martelly winning, it means there will likely not be any demonstrations or protests over the results. These were just the preliminary results, the final results will be announced on the 16th - just a week before my wedding! I'm glad that things are quite decided and that there shouldn't be any unrest in the next few weeks.