Thursday, November 28, 2013

Manifestations, Bishops, Salt and Pepper

Last week, all American Episcopal missionaries in Haiti were called to Port-au-Prince for several days with a group of bishops, spouses, and staff from the Church Center in New York (including our boss David Copley!). The group was on a mission of presence--to experience just a part of the Episcopal Church in Haiti and to invigorate the ministry of the church in the country.
 I had to travel a day earlier than planned because of pre-announced manifestations in Port-au-Prince coinciding with the November 18th Haitian holiday marking the Battle of Vertieres, the final part of the Haitian Revolution in 1803. I traveled with a group from Cange on their way to a soccer game in the national stadium, and on our way we passed these amphibious UN vehicles on their way to the city for security. We were confined to the hotel all of Monday as the demonstrations blocked the main roads in Port-au-Prince. The crowd came just past the hotel, moving up the street through Petionville.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sustainable Solutions: Chapateau Water Committee

Over three months in, I'm still hearing things like, "what do you do every day?" or "I still don't understand what you do." Most of my job involves meetings--I'm provide a supportive role for various groups and projects going on in and around Cange. Meetings usually do not make for interesting blog posts or photographs, so I haven't posted much about them. But this past week was an exception, when I went to the village of Chapateau to help form a water committee for their village water system.

Engineer Brian, Colon, EDUSC visitor Gordon Smith, and I rode in a dugout canoe across the lake to Chapateau. The Clemson engineers have been renovating a broken water system there, but they wish to provide the village with a sustainable mechanism to improve maintenance and local control of the system. The water committee will hopefully prevent the village from experiencing long periods without water at their fountains and reduce dependency on outside aid.
Brian and Colon
For this process to work, the engineers have been working closely with the villagers so the developed committee is locally grown. Colon, a Haitian gentleman who works frequently with the engineers, provided his usual invaluable support by leading the meeting with the village. His leadership and presence bridges the cultural gaps left between the engineers and the community, significantly improving the potential of success for the project.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Drums, Dancing, Kleren and Sodo

On All Saints' Day, my Haitian culture and Kreyol teacher Emmanuel Milien graciously took Jenn and I on a trip to Sodo, a beautiful waterfall on the other side of Mirebalais from Cange. Sodo is a Haitian Vodou site that attracts many worshipers and visitors for services around the year. Corresponding with All Saints' Day, November 1-7 is one such large Vodou celebration, and we went in pursuit of a cultural experience. Though we actually found little activity at the falls, we had a few interesting stops along the way.