Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bonswa soti Cange

After a relatively stress free day of traveling, I arrived in Cange Saturday with the crew from South Carolina. Since there are several people here from the Upper Diocese of South Carolina, this week has been packed full of meetings, which is helping me get introduced to some of the locals. It is wonderful to finally be here and begin settling in to a new home, language, and culture.
View from my temporary room. I can see the Dominican Republic from my house.
So much has been going on, it's overwhelming, and everything is such a new experience. For this post I'll just share some highlights from my first few days in Cange.

Since the summer music camp was still going on when I arrived (it ended Sunday with an awesome final concert), my current rooming situation is temporary. But here's a view of it anyway. My permanent room should be fairly similar, but will likely be in a different building.
The music camp was held at EBS, the Episcopal school here in Cange, which is in the same compound where I'm living. Kids practiced their instruments and voices all around the compound. Their dedication to their music was really inspiring. I also got to meet YASCer Ashley Bingaman briefly on her last day here. She was involved in running the music camp.
New latrine and biodigester at the ZL compound
Another highlight from the week so far was the trip to Bas Cange (Lower Cange) which is about the same elevation as the lake created from the hydroelectric dam. Bas Cange is the sight of the spring, dam and pump houses for the water system that Clemson engineers and the Upper Diocese of South Carolina installed to bring water to the people of Cange.
Steps to Bas Cange. Many many steps to Bas Cange.
Part of the filtration system at the top of the mountain in Cange.

The dam and spring at the bottom of the steps
One of the pumps pushing the water 1,100 feet up to the village cistern
The start to a new fish hatchery in Bas Cange
Though I'd seen many pictures and presentations on the work done here, I was so impressed with the facilities they've installed. They're really awesome pieces of engineering and have brought a valuable resource much closer to Cange while also cleaning the water.

Earlier in the week I got to attend a meeting with a subcommittee in the village that is trying to create a town council to help in the coordination and governance in Cange. They were very inspirational in sharing their vision of the town and the role this council can play to make improvements here.

I finally walked through the town mid week to see the eight water fountains that are a part of the water system. The town lies along route 3 and reaches up and over the mountain above the Zanmi Lasante compound. The market featured much more variety of foods and other goods than I was expecting. I also got to see the new Baptist church building that is to be blessed this Sunday. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera with me this time, but I will post some pictures of the village soon.

I can't wait to learn more of the language--people here are very patient and helpful with my learning. I am starting to at least pick up context on conversations every now and then, but I need to build vocabulary, phrases and grammar as I go along.

The locals and others I've met here in Cange have been so welcoming, and many of them were aware of my arrival before I got here. Some have put some high expectations on my presence here, which makes me a little nervous. But the thing is, people would not have asked me to be here, nor would God have so strongly pushed me to this place, if I did not have something to offer. More importantly, the change that will take place over the coming year will be accomplished through the efforts of a large community reaching from my supporters back at home, to the YASC staff and other volunteers around the world, and especially to the Haitians here in Cange. And together we will do great things in the year to come.

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