Thursday, October 31, 2013

Masters of the Dew

Masters of the Dew by Jacques Roumain is one of the books on my Haiti book list. It is one of my favorites so far, and I felt it called for it's own blog post. You can see the other books on my list here.

Roumain tells the story of rural Haitian farm life in the 1940s through the story of Manuel, a Haitian who returns home after working in Cuba for 15 years. He brings with him a perspective and skill set unfamiliar to the community to which he returns. I found the book very insightful into Haitian culture and the difficulties of rural agriculture, the presence of Christianity in Haiti, and the human element.

I highly recommend this read, and I want to share a few passages I found particularly strong and challenging. The first calls out the approach we take on the challenges we face. One Haitian proverb says, "deye mon, gen mon," which means, "beyond mountains, there are mountains." The second passage acknowledges our significance as individual fleeting lives. And the third passage briefly and poignantly describes the deterioration of our land.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Countryside Hike and Bassin Zim

October has been a busy month for visitors to Cange, which means many opportunities to visit other places nearby just for fun (maybe with a little work thrown in). This past weekend was a great break for me, providing a sort of spiritual cleansing that was much needed for my focus. On Saturday, I hiked into the countryside with Jane Chalker and a group from the University of Miami and swam Bassin Zim on Sunday with a group from The University of the South.
The hike to several rural villages took trails that reach the valley lying beyond the mountains seen off the balcony of the building where I live.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Looking Forward

Before coming to Cange, a village of about 3,400 people, I had an slight expectation of boredom--life in a sleepy little village in the mountains of Haiti would be far less active than, say, life in Sao Paolo or Hong Kong right? After all I do drink from coconuts, ride in dug out canoes, and sit through five hour church services on some Sundays. Quite the active life.

When life gives you a fallen tree, make a dugout canoe.
After spending two and a half months here, however, there has hardly been a shortage of things to do.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant

Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant (CFFL) is a vocational school in Corporant, about a 20 minute drive down Route 3 from Cange. They train students in agriculture, wood working, and construction through various hands-on projects. It's a beautiful facility with expansive fields of various crops, many of which are experiments to determine better varieties of plants to produce in Haiti.

I got to visit the school for the first time recently, and now I'll be teaching English there two hours a week! My first day is next Tuesday, and I'll be teaching the woodworking students. It should be a fun, regular task to add to my otherwise chaotic and random schedule.