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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Leaving Jacquesyl

Our last day in Jacquesyl always makes me feel sad.

I would so much like to stay a little longer. We work hard and sometimes as I walk through the village for the last time, I get get a little time just to chat with friends I've made there. It is always hard to say goodbye.

However, this year before that last walk we were BUSY!!! VOSH saw 325 people, Kris saw many people and extracted 27 teeth, and between Jennifer, Jim and myself saw over 100 kids, some sick, others not really but they were happy to receive vitamins and de-worming medicine.

Sherman met with the teachers and set up a tutoring program to help the kids who fall behind due to the large classes in the lower grades. (Many quit school after the 4th grade if they don't pass the standardized exam.) To have any hope of secondary school children must pass a very difficult 6th grade exam. We are beginning to have some success with the 6th grade and are aiming to work to help more children pass. Our school in Port au Prince has a very high success rate. Our school in Jacquesyl was the first in the area to open after the earthquake when schools throughout the country closed.

We said our good-byes to VOSH and Jennifer's team as well as the translators who worked so hard. New friendships were formed and plans for our next trip to Haiti were already in the planning stages.

As always, I receive more from Haiti than I give. This time was no exception. I received hospitality everywhere I went by people whose lives have been devastated in one way or another. I received a visit in PaP from one of the people my daughter used to work with, Jean Baptiste. He'd lost his home, but he came to make sure I was all right. The workers at the ruined guest house made us so comfortable and prepared us food in the midst of the rubble. A nurse from La Plaine came to assist us at the clinic we did there, and I learned she had been doing the best she could to treat people who weren't hurt badly enough to be accepted at a hospital although in the US they would certainly be hospitalized. At EVERY home we visited, someone found us a chair to sit in even if they had to run to a neighbor's house to get one.

I again witnessed the resiliancy of the people of Haiti. Everyone was doing something. Life was still going on. Some cleared rubble, some cared for orphaned children as well as their own. Those who still had jobs went to work even if they weren't getting paid, because the banks were closed. People still prayed and sang fervently. In the tent cities, people were banging together shelters, waiting in food lines, washing their children and the kids still played and smiled. It was amazing. Just for the record, I NEVER felt like I was in danger and I saw NO violence anywhere, and I was in plenty of RED zone areas.(places not considered safe for NGOs)

Hospitality, Strength, and Faith are the gifts I receive from Haiti.

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