West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Continuing Reflections from Our Team in Haiti–Thursday and La Gonâve

Thursday started with getting up at the usual time-5:30 AM. The sun is bright by then and the rooster has been crowing since midnight. The Haitians have all been up by then anyway.
After breakfast we went on our boat adventure to La Gonâve, with Jean Robert. But first I must describe the ride to the ferry station in Pere Sadoni’s new truck, with AIR CONDITIONING, and lovely music playing on the CD. Pere Sadoni told me about some of his plans for the school including several docs he is making arrangements with to work at St Vincents. Dr. Wilkins (orthopedic surgeon) plans to come to do surgeries again when the OR is rebuilt, so that sounds promising.
6 of us went with JR on the boat. Lauren asked “Where are the life jackets?” (Welcome to Haiti)
Drew thought he would not like the trip but he was transformed by the exhilarating ride across the bay, about 40 minutes. The wind was cool and the sea spray splashed our faces and made us laugh. We landed safely and quite happily at La Gonâve and after walking about 50 yards Debbie spotted a “bar and restaurant” where we went inside to have a limonade, served in the 16 oz glass bottle with a straw. 7 drinks for $5.
We walked up the only road thru town, a dusty paved road with little shade. There were some houses made of concrete block and some with skinny tree limbs propped up to hold a sort of mesh material. Motorcycles seemed to be the preferred mode of transport, with loud horns blaring to get us out of their way. A few goats and pigs were the subject of many photos, either because they were cute or more likely because that allowed us to stop in the only shade available. Drew and I agreed that these were the most interesting goats we had ever seen!
The terrain reminded me of Texas, with the rocky terrain and the scrub brush.
According to JR the temperature was 40 deg. C (about 104 F)
After a 20 minute walk we arrived at the episcopal school of St Francis of Assisi. We were surrounded by the 3rd graders at recess and Kelvin let them use his disposable camera, so he should have quite a collection of photos. They wanted to touch Lauren’s hair, despite what the wind and sea had done to it.
We were invited to sit in a lovely house where the priest lives (he was out) and we shared the sandwiches made for us by “mom” (Madame Deravil) for our “field trip” before she went off to her job teaching at St Pauls school.
We refilled our water bottles and then toured the school. Many times to say “Nou kontan we ou” (we are happy to meet you) The school and church are beautiful. One concrete wall of the school is painted with marine animals like dolphins, whales even cephalopods. I thought my husband would appreciate that.
Back to the boat and homeward bound, we saw dolphins swimming in the bay! It made us all so happy to be alive and be in Haiti.
sent from Haiti by Dr. Susan Nelson
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