YAY! We all got a full night’s sleep last night… poor Jasmine passed out on the bed in her clothes even with the light on at 9:15pm… talk about running on empty! Guess the relief of finally having the presentation prepared and the exhaustion of the last couple of weeks finally caught up. Everyone was again up by 5:30am, and fully organized (after another amazing breakfast of omelettes and hand grated potatoes!)…
On route to visit Dr. Robert Joseph (one of the first 4 trained veterinarians ever to practice in Haiti… and the one who was in charge of the programme to eradicate African swine fever) we passed 20 armed guards within the first mile of home. After that we just stopped counting… it was agreed that at least with so much police and UN presence we were likely to be safe close to home. 🙂
We have learned quickly that appointment times in Haiti mean very little… and that given the terrible traffic, it is understandable to be somewhat late to rendezvous… Unfortunately we have not managed to ingrain that into our own psyches, and so arrive 15 minutes early for most things… and then wait for 15 minutes to an hour for others. It’s a good thing that we enjoy each others’ company, because that way we are always able to entertain ourselves!
The visit to Dr. Joseph’s clinic was enlightening, as we heard the entire history of veterinary medicine in Haiti, as well as a very different opinion regarding the best ways to assist in educating farmers and disease control of livestock. It is a real political hot potato… and it will be important to keep all of the prevailing attitudes in mind as we plan for the future. Dr. Joseph was also the professor at the College who had been asked to take Jasmine under his wing and introduce her prior to the BIG presentation… so after the visit at the clinic, he took Lelia, Rayna and Jasmine to the school, while Pierre Richard and the taptap took Rick, Michelle and Phillip up the hill to Petionville to visit with Michael and St Joseph’s boys school/orphanage (the school that Rick helped build and set up).
Once at the college, it was discovered that there seemed to be a miscommunication regarding who was in charge of organization. So despite Dr. Joseph’s best efforts at directing bodies and organizing people, the lecture that was to start at 1pm was finally cancelled at 2:30pm. No worries though, as Jasmine and Rayna had the opportunity to go on a tour of the proposed new campus (most of the standing buildings were destroyed in the earthquake of 2010) as well as meet the Chancellor, the Secretary General, and the Dean… all of whom apologized profusely for the inconvenience and asked if Jasmine was willing to return sometime the following week.
Meanwhile, Rick and Michelle received a tour of the new orphanage (the old one had also been demolished in the earthquake), and an opportunity to chat with Michael about the future plans for St. Joseph’s and the work currently being done. They then went to the market to fetch ingredients for dinner, before being called to come back and collect the girls from the College so that everyone could head home for dinner.
Once home, for the first time everyone was able to spend some time vegging out on the roof before Phillip created yet another culinary masterpiece. Dinnertime discussion revolved around the Haitian-initiated organization that Lelia is a board member of Fonkoze (http://www.fonkoze.org/ourprograms/chemen-lavi-miyo.html).
After being without power most of the afternoon and evening since being home, it is finally coming back on and despite it only being 8pm, everyone is thinking of getting ready for bed.
So good night everyone!
Take care of yourselves…