I just marked the Fr. Jim Bretl Agriculture Center on Google Maps.
Follow the link. Bob
I just marked the Fr. Jim Bretl Agriculture Center on Google Maps.
Follow the link. Bob
Its that time of year again. We have just returned from Haiti with a great selection of Haitian arts and crafts for your Christmas present needs.
Our affordably priced collection is your opportunity to give a truly unique gift, a gift that gives three times. Once to your recipient, second to the artist who created the piece and third to the Haitian people the Haiti Project serves. All profit from sale of art is used to cover Haiti Project expenses.
This Sunday we will be at: Dowelltown Methodist Church Highway 70 Dowelltown, TN.
December 3rd and 4th we will be at: St. Joeseph Church 2300 Beasly Ave NW Huntsville, AL 35816
December 10th we will be at: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville 1808 Woodmont Blvd Nashville, TN 37215
December 11th we will be at: St Andrew Church 829 Valley View Dr. Sparta, TN 38583
December 17th and 18th we will be at: St. Thomas Church 421 N Washington Ave Cookeville TN 38501
We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible.
Thank you, Blessings, Bob and Denise
November 11,2016 Medical trip Last Sunday Bob and I loaded up eight people from our village and Gros Morne. We had four people needing surgery, two women that had breast cancer going to get chemo, a young girl needing to see an eye doctor and her mother. The truck was pretty full. We did not know when the surgeries would take place and had I to be prepared to stay in Port Au Prince for the whole week. I was struck by how little the people going for surgery brought for a week away, or should I say how much I thought I needed for a week away. The trip went along smoothly with Bob and I sharing the driving. The guest house Anita and Elwood were staying at with the Haitians did not serve meals so we stopped to buy food for them. Usually on the street a meal costs between 100 and 125 HG this is equivalent to about 1.50 to 1.90 US. Bob and I got out to buy food for everyone. We went to the stall we normally go to and ordered eight plates. They tried to charge us 250 HG for each plate. Bob had counted out enough money to pay 125 hg for each plate and handed the man the money. Then the man demanded we give him another thousand HG. We argued and were getting nowhere. I went back to the car and asked for help. Two of the people came and they argued, we ended up paying 200 HG per plate. We got into PAP and met Elwood, he took the people with him and we went to Mathew 25. Where the rest of the people were staying was much cheaper but they didnt have enough room for us too. The next morning after Bob and I got slightly lost we met up again. The little girl and her mother went in our truck with Bob and Elwood to the eye doctor. I went with Anita and the surgery patients to the hospital. The women needing Chemo went to one of their daughters house to spend the day their appointments were not until the next day. At the hospital I asked for Dr. Jack who is in charge of the team, although he was very busy he came to meet us. He was very understanding about our long trip and having to house and feed the people while we were in PAP, and had the paitients evaluated right away. They became patients 2,3 & 4. We were so thankful. Unfortunately the fourth ladys evaluation was not so successful; it was thought she needed a hysterectomy. The doctor found she had stage 3 cervical cancer and the surgery would be impossible. The treatment would be radiation therapy which is not available in Haiti. The woman was pretty devastated along with Anita and I. But she handled it so beautifully. She prayed, sang hymns, read her bible. Laid down for a while and then was fine. It is amazing how the Haitian people accept their mortality. Anita received a phone call that the two ladies needing chemo the next day needed to have lab work done. So she left to go and get them and take them to another hospital for the tests. I stayed with the surgery patients. It was a long day of waiting. The team had problems getting the autoclave working so the surgeries started late. That evening our three came out, surgery went fine but they needed to spend the night. So we all met up at the hospital and went to our guest houses. We left the hospital at 6 for what should have been a 45 minute ride to arrive at Mathew 25 at 8:30. Abby fixed plates for us, we ate and went to bed. The next morning we had to pick the patients up between 6 and 7 oclock. We arrived to find out they left their things in Anitas car. Bob had to go and get their clothes for them. We got instructions for care, and left the hospital. Bob and I needed to buy tin art for the coming pre Christmas sales so we stopped at the tin village on our way back. The patients waited in the truck for us. We arrived back in Gross Morne at 6 oclock that evening. We took all the patients home and repacked to go to Sr. Jackies and Pats for an election party. It was nice to watch the election with other Americans. They served us a very nice Chinese dinner, with chocolate chip bars for desert. Anita and Elwood joined us when they got back to town. The young volunteers had good insights on the different senate races and bills being voted on around the country. But by 11:00 Bob and I were beat and had to excuse our selves. We had to wait until morning for the results. The next day is a blog in its self so this is enough for now. Thank you for your prayers and your interest, Denise s.d.s.
We just installed drip irrigation at the demonstration double dug garden beds in the Fr. Jim Agriculture Center. We have five beds that are four feet by twenty five feet. The middle bed is being used to start tomato and pepper plants. As you can see in the picture it is covered in leaves to provide shade.
November 4th 2016 Bob and I visited Kalabot last weekend. The drive up is always quite a trip but thankfully we had no problems. Gail an American volunteer and Sr. Pat came with us. We were delivering many things that had been shipped on the shipping container to be distributed to those areas of the mission. I also had been given a donation of beads so I encourage a youth group to make jewelry so they could make a little money. They were very excited and started right away. We will return on the 14th to discuss budgets for the schools, school lunch, and clinics. It proved to be a nice visit and we were served a wonderful lunch. We have also distributed clothing and school supplies to the two chapels near us. There are so many donations but when you divide the items for all the areas there is not much given to each area. The people are very grateful for whatever they receive this is always a highlight of our fall visit. I often see people wearing clothes we have sent; St Thomas T-shirts, an elderly woman at church wears a Bonaroo t-shirt as her Sunday best. Shoes are like gold, so are school supplies. All the items become someones treasure. Last week my sister, who is a school teacher, arranged donation from the school district she works for of tables, chairs and cabinets their district no longer had a use for. These will be of great use here. I have been working on arranging for the three people that didnt get their surgeries to go back to Port au Prince to see another medical team coming from the US. Everything here is more difficult than it seems it should be. I had to email the information to a man in PAP so he could email the information to the team in the US.I sent this email seven times before he ever got it, it had to be rewritten each time because although my phone said it saved the draft it did not. It was very frustrating, and now I know we need to go on Monday so the team can evaluate the people, but I cannot get a time to be there. It is Haiti so you just do the best you can do. I would like to comment on our little household here. There is Mono he is in his mid seventies and must have had a stroke while we were home for the summer. He can read and write and is our sentry sitting on the roof watching all that goes on. Bermond he has a wife and two beautiful daughters. Fr. Gracia had asked him to be our bodyguard a couple of years ago when some threats were made towards Bob. He is about 510 and very skinny. He takes care of the gardens on the roof, and is a teacher at the school. He sleeps here every night we are here. His oldest daughter (about seven) has started to join us for supper once a week. Janet and Madam Friznell they clean, help me do the laundry, shopping and cook for us. We have become family, we all get along well and everyone is pretty happy most of the time. Mono has started this week expanding our knowledge of the hymns we sing at church, so each evening Janet and Madam join us and we sing a few hymns. This is very nice and adding to our feeling of togetherness. They all help us navigate Haiti and make us feel safe. As you can tell my mood is better. The sisters are having an election party Tuesday night. I was looking forward to watching the election with other Americans and we are all rooting for the same candidate so no problem there. It looks like Anita and I will be in PAP with patients and probably will find different Americans to watch it with hopefully. Thank you for your interest and prayers, Denise
October 27th 2016 The second week The workshops that had been rescheduled because of Hurricane Mathew were to take place this week. The first one at the Center in Grepin was to be on Wednesday but it was pouring rain Wednesday morning and we had to cancel. Thursday we did hold the workshop at our Center. It was amazing how well it all came together. We had sixty participants and about twenty staff including our selves. The Haitian Agronomist and his technicians lead each of the three sessions. There were also members of our agricultural group that helped with the presentations. The participants were engaged and asked questions. We tried a new thing by holding a raffle to encourage people to come on time (a real problem In Haiti) it seemed to work out very well. The prizes were digging forks and plug trays for starting plants. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day. We brought the ladies who cook for us to do the cooking and they prepared a delicious lunch. The workshops do seem to be a good vehicle for encouraging change in farming practices. Sometimes I feel like being here is really, really hard. Sunday I was trying to get ready for church and was interrupted several times because of some ones health concern, or other need they might have had. This goes on pretty much all the time. When I step out the door the many children that are always in the court yard want candy, on the street people want money. It gets very tiring. We are trying to move to a model that people take more responsibility for themselves, their schools and their children. We asked last spring for each of the schools to have a parent volunteer program and a garden to help offset the expenses of the lunch program. This year we have raised about half of the money we need to buy the food for the lunch program. We only know about the two schools by us as of yet but one has complied and one has not. We had meetings with the parents, we had meetings with the teachers, we had meetings with the school committees, I cannot believe they didnt understand what we wanted, I gave them all the reasons why this would improve the schools in many ways. The lack of cooperation goes on and on. I cleaned out the clinic we opened last spring. It took a year of asking Fr. Gracia for permission to open the clinic. I told the people if they dont support the clinic they will lose it. No one came for three months after I left Haiti last spring. The first Tuesday (day the clinic used to be open) I was back in Haiti, there were several people here for the clinic. Too little too late, the nurse had to travel for an hour to get here, and the clinic needed to be self sustaining to work. I understand this is a major change in the culture here. NGOs come and hand out free supplies and services. The people are very poor so it seems like the right thing to do. But nothing will change without a change of attitude on both parts. The attitude has to become instead of these are the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere to this is a developing country. The people here can make their own community better, they can contribute. Maybe not financially but they do have gifts they can contribute. I feel no one is truly free as long as they are dependent on others for their survival. But change does not happen overnight. What can you do? Support programs in education, check out who you are donating to, and how funds are distributed. Ask for Haitian products such as coffee and cocoa . Buy Haitian art. By these things you are creating jobs here. By educating you are giving a gift that cant be lost. By giving the opportunity for education you are giving the Haitian people an opportunity to solve their own problems. Bob and I ask the groups we work with all the time what problems do you want to solve? Well you can see I am feeling a bit discouraged. Or you could say I am in a foul mood. Well on Sunday when it came time for me to serve communion I removed the communion from the tabernacle and was almost taken to my knees, feeling so humble in the presence of our Lord. Who am I to whine and complain? I asked to be Christs hands to these people; I ask to represent him and here. But I guess I want it to be on my time, my way. I pray for more patience, I pray to be more compassionate, I pray to be more understanding, I pray for strength. Thank you for your interest and your prayers, Denise The second school has now started a garden. One of the parents is in charge. This is encouraging to me to see people are starting to get it.