He has determined many other things as well. I'm trying to get him to put into writing just a few of his mini-rants and deep cultural observations. Don't wait for it.
I am kind of shocked at how quickly the day arrived where I am married to a guy that is saying things like, "Kids today!" I guess we he recently crossed the invisible line into the old-crotchety-people season of life. I wish I had noticed when it happened.
~ ~ ~
New Post at A Life Overseas - Here
Also, "Plays Well with Others" the August post at same site, here.
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
On. Sep. 9, Haiti’s most outspoken opposition senator and leading popular organizations announced that they would hold a national conference in Port-au-Prince on Sep. 29 to forge an alliance and map out a path to forming a provisional government to replace President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
On Sep. 3, the eight popular organizations had called on Haiti’s deputies to indict Martelly and Lamothe for, among other things, personally making threats on Jul. 11 against a judge investigating government corruption, thereby inducing his death two days later (see Haïti Liberté, Vol. 7, No. 8, Sep. 4, 2013). On Sep. 6, thirteen deputies did formally submit an indictment in Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies, buttressing two separate parliamentary Special Commissions of Inquiry which had already recommended that Martelly and Lamothe be removed from office in reports issued on Aug. 8 and Aug. 23.
Citing the President’s flagrant sabotage in a judicial investigation, as well as his “perjury” and “treason” in the ensuing cover-up, the draft indictment called for “the impeachment of the President of the Republic and the dismissal of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice and Public Security to be carried out by the High Court of Justice,” constituted by the Senate.
Unfortunately, the Chamber of Deputies never took up the Special Commissions’ reports or the draft indictment before it adjourned on Sep. 9 for four months, not to resume its work until Jan. 14, 2014. At that point, however, there are many indications that Martelly may try to dissolve the Parliament and rule by decree.
"We are in a Parliament in which we cannot exercise our supervisory powers" of the executive because "there is rampant corruption particularly in the Chamber of Deputies," explained Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles during the Sep. 9 press conference.
Sharing the stage with the senator were human rights lawyer Mario Joseph of the Office of International Lawyers (BAI), representing the Dessalines Coordination (KOD), and Oxygène David of the National Movement for Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity of Haitians (MOLEGHAF).
“We call on the people to rise up,” Joseph said. “We have to prepare to replace the Martelly/Lamothe government. And we have to finish with the foreign military occupation of Haiti. We don’t want the MINUSTAH [UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti]. We can govern ourselves by putting in place a government of national unity to organize elections which are free, honest, and above all sovereign.”
Following the Sep. 29 Popular Forum, which will be held at the Plaza Hotel in Port-au-Prince, there will be a major march through the capital on Sep. 30 to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 1991 coup d’état against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Oxygène David, who spent over two months in jail without charges last year after being singled out for arrest during a regular peaceful protest, recalled that Sep. 11 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1988 St. Jean Bosco massacre, during which armed soldiers and thugs massacred 33 church-goers after a mass held by Aristide, who was then a Catholic priest. The burned out shell of the church remains the usual starting point for pro-democracy demonstrations to this day.
“Every day, Martelly’s regime shows itself to be more arrogant and lawless,” David said, pointing out that the current government protects and incorporates many of the criminals who carried out massacres, coups, and other human rights violations. “Today we see the veritable murder of Judge Jean Serge Joseph [who was investigating government corruption], the arbitrary arrest of the two brothers Florestal [who brought the original corruption lawsuit against the government], and the attempted arrest of lawyers André Michel and Newton Saint-Juste [who represent the Florestals]. Meanwhile, the international community, through its local ruling-class lackeys, is trying to impose elections to disguise their hand-me-down democracy (demokrasi pepe), which was illegally imposed. We need a general mobilization to hold all the necessary meetings and take all the necessary steps to stop Martelly’s dictatorship and establish a provisional government capable of holding free elections.”
Flanking the speakers were representatives of other organizations joining the call including the Heads Together of Popular Organizations, the Great Space Reflection for Social Integration (GERES), the Organization of Young Progressives of Pouplar Avenue, the National Popular Platform (PNP), the Movement for the Survival of the Haitian Society (MOSSOH), and the Awakened Militants for Another Haiti (MRH).
“No election is possible with this regime at the head of the country,” said Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles, who attracted most of the capital’s media to the press conference just as he does crowds in the street. “It is charged with involvement in so many criminal and immoral acts that threaten the future of the Haitian people. It is also unbelievable that certain sectors of the international community and the traditional political class, despite all the outrages of the Martelly regime, continue to call for elections under his leadership.”
Moïse called the last-minute electoral bill being voted on that day in Parliament “demagoguery” and charged that “Martelly has a project to dissolve parliament and restore a dictatorial regime against the people of Haiti.”
Other popular organizations in the capital have called for anti-Martelly demonstrations on Sep. 11 and 12. Sep. 11 also marks the 20th anniversary of crusading democracy activist Antoine Izméry’s 1993 murder while organizing a mass during the 1991-1994 coup to commemorate the St. Jean Bosco massacre.
On Sep. 7, Nippes celebrated the 10th anniversary of its being named as Haiti’s 10th geographic department in September 2003 under the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Thousands turned out for a giant ceremony organized by Aristide’s Lavalas Family party, and Sen. Jean-Charles was one of the speakers. His sharp message that elections are not possible under Martelly electrified the crowd, which ended up carrying him away on its shoulders.
As Deputies Uncover Same Crimes and Lies as Senators: Popular Groups Demand Lower House Indict President and Prime Minister
Parliament Chiefs Hold Meetings to Scuttle Impeachment Process
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
A second Special Commission of Inquiry into the Jul. 13 death of Investigating Judge Jean Serge Joseph, this one commissioned by Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies, released its report on Aug. 23, recommending that the lower house indict President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, and Justice Minister Jean Renel Sanon for illegally intervening in a judicial investigation, threatening a judge thereby causing his death, and then publicly and repeatedly lying about the matter. The findings of the report match almost exactly those of a Senate inquiry released on Aug. 8 (see Haïti Liberté, Vol. 7, No. 5, 8/14/2013). The Senate Commission also recommended that Parliament remove Martelly and Lamothe from office. Judge Joseph was investigating charges of massive corruption against Martelly’s wife, Sophia St. Rémy Martelly, and their son, Olivier Martelly. After issuing subpoenas for several high government officials to testify before him, he had been pressured and threatened personally by Martelly and others. Finally, in a secret Jul. 11 meeting, Martelly, Lamothe, Sanon, and other officials told the judge to call off the investigation, according to both parliamentary reports. Two days later, the judge died from a brain hemorrhage caused by either stress or poison.
Martelly and Lamothe publicly claim that they had never met the judge and never attended the meeting, which took place at the office of Martelly’s legal counselor Garry Lissade, both reports say. Whether the lower house will act on the report has taken on urgency since the Deputies, who under Haiti’s Constitution have the power to indict the President and Prime Minister, are scheduled to go on vacation on Sep. 9 and would not reconvene until Jan. 14, 2014, when Parliament is due to resume to its regular session... maybe. On that date, another third (10 seats) of the Senate will have expired as one third did two years earlier, thereby reducing the body of 30 to less than its quorum and theoretically rendering Parliament non-functional. Parliamentary critics have long argued that Martelly and Lamothe have purposefully delayed holding partial Senate elections for over two years to arrive at precisely this outcome. Some argue that remaining Senate seats won’t expire until January 2015. As shock, outrage, and disgust raced through Haiti’s body politic in the wake of the two devastating reports, the Parliament’s two presidents, Sen. Simon Dieuseul Desras and Dep. Jean Tholbert Alexis, convened meetings at Pétionville’s Montana Hotel from Aug. 26-28 to meet with political parties on day one, civil society groups on day two, and Haiti’s diplomatic corps on day three. “The meetings were essentially damage control,” Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles told Haïti Liberté. “They were organized after the Senate President’s visit to Washington, DC, where they pushed him to do it. The meetings with political parties, civil society, and the diplomats didn’t focus on the grave crimes detailed in two Parliamentary inquiry reports, which are now the top priority. We can’t have a president and his new Macoutes assassinate a judge, and we just ignore that.” The three days of meetings ended with Sen. Desras issuing a bizarre ultimatum: if President Martelly does not show up to make his traditional address at Parliament’s opening session on Jan. 14 – an absence which would indicate that he considers Parliament dissolved – then Parliament would consider him as “having resigned.” In other words, if you accept us, we’ll accept you; if you reject us, we’ll reject you. Sen. Moïse called it a message of weakness and compromise with Martelly, “who should be chased from power as quickly as possible.” Moïse’s analysis is echoed by leading popular organizations who issued a statement on Sep. 3, warning against “hand-me-down democracy” (demokrasi pepe) and “monkey business” (magouy) aimed at excluding the Haitian masses from any role in resolving the crisis. Saying that the Martelly/Lamothe regime was guilty of a host of crimes over the past two years and that the Parliament’s reports present “the last straw,” the groups said that the masses were now rising up but that Washington and its allies are using Parliament “to hold a series of dialogues with the supposedly opposition political parties, civil society and representatives of the diplomatic corps to impose their own solution in this political crisis.” The eight signing groups, which include the Dessalines Coordination (KOD), the Heads Together of Popular Organizations, and the National Movement for Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity of Haitians (MOLEGHAF), denounced that “the meetings did not address the most important question of the moment: the two special inquiry reports of the Parliament on the death of Judge Joseph, and how the country can immediately replace this criminal government which has been caught in the act of lying to the people.” Therefore the groups called on “all sectors of good faith, who are looking for a national solution to get the country out of the mess it is in, to force the Parliamentarians to take up their responsibility in the face of the brazen Martelly/Lamothe regime.” To do so, according to the Haitian Constitution, the Deputies would have to vote to indict Martelly, and the Senate would then act as a High Court of Justice to put him on trial. The latest report, which was prepared by Deputies Sadrac Dieudonné, Gluck Théophile and François Louytz Amiot, charges that Martelly and Lamothe “lied because they know very well that the encroachment of the Executive Branch into the field of sovereign powers of the judiciary - which they did - is arbitrary and illegal, and therefore unacceptable, because the Constitution calls for the effective separation of the three state powers. They lied because they know they had exerted strong pressure on the judge, sufficient to bring on the stroke which caused his death... For them, the best strategy is to deny that the meeting of July 11, 2013 ever took place.” At the end of the 26-page report, the investigating deputies “recommend impeachment of the Head of State, Prime Minister and Minister of Justice for perjury, a crime against the Constitution and abuse of power, that shows the encroachment of the Executive Branch into the sovereign domain of the Judiciary.” Getting the deputies to act on the report may prove challenging. Largely through the use of bribery, Martelly and Lamothe control a majority of the lower house through the Parliamentary block for Stability and Progress (PSP). However, many deputies have begun to question their allegiance to Martelly not only due to the reports but also following his week-long unexplained departure from the country last month. When he surfaced later in Suriname, Martelly worsened matters by calling his parliamentary critics “dumb.” “Martelly is losing deputies, so anything is possible,” Sen. Jean-Charles said. The Senate, with its fragile quorum, may also pose a problem. Sen. Edo Zenny, a close Martelly ally, told Le Nouvelliste that “I will vote against [any impeachment] and if it is me who has to block a quorum, I will do it.” But Pierre Espérance of the National Network to Defend Human Rights (RNDDH) calculates that there would be enough votes in the Senate to impeach Martelly because even Senators who sometimes support Martelly “often take a distance from the regime’s illegal actions.” The President has also alienated many by appointing a new hard-line Port-au-Prince District Attorney, who threatened to crack down on journalists and dissidents. “Playtime is over,” said Francisco René, using the same phrase uttered by former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier when he launched a crackdown on critics in November 1980. “The radio dramas are over. There will no longer be any question of characterizing the authorities any old way… Slander will be prosecuted. I will strengthen the system of criminal justice.”
Meanwhile, Haitian police arrested and severely beat the man who brought the original lawsuit against Martelly’s wife and son that Judge Joseph was investigating before his death. On Aug. 16, Enold Floréstal was arrested and held for two days in an apparent domestic dispute. Afterwards, Floréstal gave an interview to Radio Kiskeya claiming to have proof that on Jul. 10, the day before Judge Joseph’s fateful meeting at Lissade’s office, Prime Minister Lamothe offered him money and a diplomatic post if he would drop his case against Martelly’s wife and son.
Isaac wrote on his blog today. Find it here.
Isaac and Noah were a barrel of laughs this weekend. We took them into a store to choose shoes because for the first time ever they both get to play on an organized sports team. They don't know the rules of the shoe store. As Isaac pointed out, "I never choose my shoes, they always just come to me in Haiti." It was a laugh a minute, I'm due to write at 'A Life Overseas' this week, so I'll share all the ways we're failing to make them well rounded consumers later this week.
Apparently Haiti's elected officials still believe, as they long have held, that they are above the laws they are elected to craft for the rest of Haiti's citizens.
You can read about the whole shameful episode in greater detail here.
Po-po on horseback in city park - #becauseTexas
When you first arrive to live life in a new culture (which doesn't, by any means, need to be a new country), everything stands out to you. Over time, as you sllllowwwly begin to assimilate, those oddities that grabbed your attention begin to diminish. Being new means noticing more.
Years back, early in our Haiti time, we were better about writing about those quirks and idiosyncrasies. (We wrote a short explanation post about it that is pasted in below.)
Now that we're sitting in Texas for a few months, we are truly enjoying a new culture of oddities. Because of that enjoyment, today we introduce a new series called #becauseTexas . Troy and I heckle our way around town trying to beat each other to the punch and point out all of the #becauseTexas peculiarities to one another. It could be said that we're TOO entertained by all of it. Laughing like a hyena feels good, so we don't care that we're obnoxious. I've posted just a few of them, our library of #becauseTexas posts has only just begun; there is an unending stream of awesome here --- #becauseTexas.
Stuff a dead snake? #becauseTexas
For posterity's sake:
FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 2008
T.I.HToday we are formally introducing you to a very important part of our vocabulary here in Haiti.T.I.H. stands for: This Is Haiti.
There are actions that go with this saying. In order to use T-I-H properly, you mustlift both shoulders up (a shrugging motion) and raise your eyebrows at the same time. It is all one fluid motion.
Now try it while saying the letters – T I H.
If you have seen the movie “Blood Diamond”, set in Africa, you might remember this saying as T.I.A. (This is Africa). It can apply anywhere really; if you live in a weird place where things happen just because it is locally accepted you might say, “T.I.S” (This is Small-town, USA)
We hail from Zimmerman, MN where having a broken washing machine, and maybe an oven on your lawn is totally acceptable. When your friends visit and ask you about said washing machine, we would just shrug and say, “T.I.Z.” Actually, as long as you don’t live in Texas, Tennessee or Tulsa this works.
There is nothing derogatory about using TIH. It is simply a way of saying MANY things. If something happens for which there is no great explanation you might shrug and say “T-I-H” If nothing went as planned and cultural norms kicked your rear-end, you might throw your hands in the air and say “T-I-H!” If you’ve just been beat-down by the way things work here - and you’re aware of it - yet slightly annoyed; “T-I-H.”
Below are just a few “TIH” examples to help you fully understand.1.
Troy buys Coke, Pepsi, and Sprite by the case in glass bottles. This pop is all produced here in Haiti. It is pretty cheap but you must return the glass bottles when you go get a new case. We go through a ton of it when teams are here, and would probably be considered a high volume customer, if such a classification existed. There is a guy on our road about a half a mile from the mission that sells it. There is also a much bigger and more reliable place that sells it about three miles away. The man on the road that sells it is named Rudy. Troy and Rudy have a pretty decent working relationship. Rudy trusts Troy to bring the empties back and will sometimes give him a new case with just a verbal promise that the empties will be brought to him within a day or two. For quite some time now Rudy has not had Coke or Pepsi, only Sprite and Teem. Troy keeps telling him that he will need to go to the other vendor to get it. Rudy keeps saying, “It is coming tomorrow.” This game has gone on for a while. Tomorrow never comes. Finally, running out of patience, Troy goes to get Coke from the other vendor. We have to drive by Rudy to get home. Rudy is very upset that Troy went elsewhere. Rudy says, “I thought we were friends!” Because this is a cultural thing, where relationship matters more than a need for Coke, Troy broke a cultural rule. Rather than be annoyed with Rudy, Troy shrugs and says, “T-I-H” and we hope next time Rudy actually has Coke so that we can be friends again.
When we’re out and about and we see something that absolutely defies logic or safety, it gets the “T-I-H” stamp. Brief examples:
- A Donkey carrying a very large Television
- A motorcycle carrying one adult and five children
- A man sleeping on the top of a bus as it barrels down the bumpy road at 50mph
- A truck so loaded down with people the back bumper drags at times
- Grocery stores without bread, meat, or cheese
We’ve learned that Gas stations don’t necessarily have gas. The name “gas” station is misleading. True. When the station is out of gas, Troy might ask them when they expect to have Diesel delivered. Their response never varies, “Demen si Dye vle” which translates, “tomorrow if God wants”. Rather than be annoyed at that response that means something all at the same time that it means nothing … you just give it a good old, “T-I-H!”
Now you are in the club. Keep practicing the motion along with speaking the letters, put your own hometown spin on it … and enjoy!
no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
~ ~ ~
Chicken Marsala, Roasted Chicken, Chicken Vusuvio, Chicken Cordon Bleu
For many years I sold and served chicken for a living. I did this job at various hotels in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the surrounding suburbs.
Chicken salesperson is just 'street' for catering salesperson, by the way.
Working with brides and grooms to choose the menu for the celebration that would follow their wedding ceremony was work I enjoyed. I cannot even begin to guess at how many chicken menus I expertly chose back in the glory days of chicken sales.
Years later after I married Troy and after Isaac and Hope came into our lives I stopped selling chicken and started serving it on Friday and Saturday nights instead. That change allowed me to be home with the kids during the week.
Serve from the left. Remove from the right. Working banquets was easy money.
When Noah was growing large in my womb it became a little less easy. Squeezing between tightly seated crowds to put the chicken down in front of them became more complicated by week twenty-eight of the pregnancy. Worse than trying to suck in a uterus to fit between tables was kicking the drunk people out at 1am; reasoning with the intoxicated is not nearly as much fun as you might like to believe.
But I digress - because this is about ?? chicken ??
~ ~ ~
The Talking Heads had a song in the 80s with many lyrics that go through my head more often than I care to admit to you. Many of those lines are on repeat, but one especially, it goes like this:
"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
(Same as it ever was - same as it ever was - time isn't holding us time isn't after us)
As it turns out the process of figuring out what I am passionate about has taken some time...Decades of time. The path here has been all together zig-zaggy and unpredictable in every way. The path has been filled with grace. (And life itself is grace.)
The one constant has been change. The other constant? I cannot seem to get away from chicken.
While in the USA this fall I will study text books and work under accomplished midwives, and I will be working with chicken yet again. This time, I will stick a curved needle into that blasted piece of chicken while I practice figuring out how to suture a vagina properly. (And then I WILL ask myself, how did I get here?)
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine all this weirdness. It is the kind of awesome insanity that regular people cannot come up with. It screams of God-size-awesome-insanity, doesn't it?
The mysterious and winding path that led us to Haiti and eventually to Heartline and later into midwifery has been a journey of slow and steady. The speed at which I arrived here was exactly what I needed. Any faster and I would have wigged out in total fear. Any slower and I would have flipped out in impatient restlessness.
When I ask myself, "How did I get here?", I am compelled to review the ways that God has been faithful and merciful and SO.very.reliable.
Isn't it easy to get frustrated when we don't really get where we are headed?
On the path we rarely see the destination. On the path the destination changes again and again. On the path fear and doubt creep in and try to take root.
You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead to? You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?
Frederick Buechner said that brilliant thing at the top of this post. He also said, "The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Sensible or not, the incongruent, beautiful and difficult place called Haiti has become a large part of our deep gladness ...
skyping with the ladies from the USA on a prenatal Thursday
... And when I ask myself - How did I get here? - I can recall His provision and faithfulness - and draw on the deep wisdom of Buechner and the Talking Heads.
What about you? Do you ever ask yourself "How did I get here?"
IN THIS ISSUE:
Cover Art - "Hands Together"
UNDERSTANDING HAITI - Nia Imara
POPULAR DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK - Ben Terrall
THE DEBT OWED TO HAITI - Nia Imara
USAID UNDERMINES DEMOCRACY - Leslie Mullin
A STATEMENT FROM HAITI ACTION COMMITTEE
You can download the issue here at the haiti action website or a direct link here.
Here in the center of Texas, we're calling it. Summer. is. over. (not the weather, but the activities)
We've been here in 'Merica' for four weeks. I think "transition" has mainly been conquered. That is not to say that we are totally functional here yet, but it is to say that we are not quite so half-witted and dopey in our approach to this cray-cray life-style.
It is entertaining (and precious) to notice all the words and things that have no meaning or assignment inside the noggins of our kids. For example:
- While going into a tunnel in the truck, Hope said, "Oooh cool! We are going through one of these things." (No name assigned for that thing.)
- While driving in Arkansas and Missouri Lydia said, "What is it called when there is this much trees?" and "That is the most trees I ever seen in my life."
- We told the kids we were going to go to Wendy's for lunch. We had to stop at the post office, we went there first. When we walked into the post office Lydia said, "This is called Wendy's?" No store or restaurant names hold any assignment for her.
- Troy took Isaac, Hope and Noah on a quick Target store run. We don't take them to stores very often (ever) in Haiti. Of course it was non stop questions and comedy and learning inside the Target. Troy tried to introduce ideas to them, including packaging, marketing, how to determine which item is the best buy, etc. I was out of town and they called me to explain that the small individual packages of applesauce are not as good of a deal as the big jar of applesauce. They thought for sure that was information I didn't have. When they left the store, Troy asked, "So Noah, what did you learn today?" Noah said, "I learned why you never take me to the store."
Paige is living with us until October. In early October she will move into her new place. The amazing kid managed to get herself invited to live in a historic house in Waco that is now a Bed and Breakfast. Her rent is low and they've offered her a job there. Rough life, huh? We're excited that she'll have someone playing a grand-parent role and looking out for her. Britt and Chris live very close to her new B&B home too. We like living with her; we think not living with her will be very lame. We also think we'll see the floors of the rooms she has occupied and we have always wondered what lies beneath.
The car we bought Paige came with issues that morons that don't live in Texas did not foresee. Apparently a repo-ed car that has not been registered for a long time is a big hairy deal to fix. I drove it to Fort Worth twice with expired stickers. The lady informed Troy that he was dumb and a $1,200 ticket could have his name on it if it were not for her good graces and his good luck. Making all of that right meant a lot of confusion, playing dumb (not a difficult acting role), pleading for mercy, paying out the nose, etc, etc. Paige has to share it with us until we head home to Haiti, she deals with it ... It's the whole "beggars can't be choosers" thing. She mastered all five speeds of the stick shift on Sunday and came home with her arms in the air. No time for losers, she is the champion of the five-speed-driving-world.
Last week I was driving a couple hours west to work with a rural Texas midwife for the day. I was not paying close attention to how often the speed limit changed on the rural road I was traveling. I got busted going 70 in a 55 zone. The (male - about 40 to 50 year old) cop came to the window and said, "I see you have mapquest directions there, where are you headed in such a hurry?" I told him I was headed to work with a midwife a couple of hours west. I told him I was sorry, that I did not realize the speed limit had reduced to 55. He said, "What? So you are fixin to be a midwife? Wow. Well, what do you think of that water birth stuff?" We then spent a few minutes discussing the merits and oddities of water birth. He left with my license and came back and said, "I am just giving you a warning, no ticket. I think it is really cool what you do, good luck with your training." Even though it has been several days, that exchange is still making me smile.
Sunday afternoon we took a private family-only CPR class. We laughed our butts off, passed the test, and mocked Troy for getting the low score. Our son-in-law, Chris, was our instructor and we made sure he left our class appreciating his regular, non-relative, CPR students.
Lydia said, "Well. Weird. I didn't know Chris knows all about babies and pushing on thems chest like that."
Troy, Britt, Paige, dummies...
...Use of commas, important.
Monday I had a class in Dallas which also allowed me to meet up with these inspirational friends for a few hours . Both of these ladies hail from the Caribbean and are insanely wise. It was a huge gift to talk with them about everything from motherhood to racism and things both trivial and deep. The precious little man in the green greeted us with, "Sak pase?" His Momma worked to make sure the real-deal Haitian and the poser/faux Haitian felt welcome and at home.
Isaac and Noah continue to be obsessive about all wild-life. They use every second of their spare time to study animals and make lists. Noah just dropped in a moment ago to tell me which whale is the nimblest. (and I had juuuust been wondering that)
animals that kill you, and how long it will take them
Today Paige started college. Troy started his class too. I think that the older student had some pretty serious nerve issues. I've started in on all my required stuff that has to happen while here in the USA. The three middles started working with Caroline, their sweet new math tutor.There is a lot of starting going on in these parts. Here is to hoping and praying and believing for the finishing too.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The kids were asked to write these three answers:1. Favorite thing we have done since we got here?2. Most challenging adjustment?3. What do you think about or miss from home/Haiti?
Noah:"The most amazing and fun thing I've done this summer is white water park. It is in Branson. It was fun. For me the most challenging adjustment is my relationship with other *people. The thing I most miss about Haiti is our dogs, pool, and house, also, every person.
Hope:"The most exciting or fun thing I've done since arriving in America was when we traveled on this amazing trip to Branson. We had a lot of fun. We swam in the huge lake, and in the pool at the place we stayed at. The most challenging adjustment since arriving here is chores. An example- sweeping, dishes, being a good sister, it is hard. The thing I most often miss is our wonderful friends Geronne and Jenny and our sweet dogs.
Isaac:"The fun thing I think we've done since we arrived here is our trip to Branson. I went to White Water Park, which was exorbitantly awesome. We went tubing at exhilarating speeds. We also were able to spring off of a cliff. I loved our family trip. The most challenging thing that I have had to get used to is trying to play outside every day. The sweltering sun bestows a burning atmosphere making me stay inside. Good thing that today the good weather has stymied the bad weather. The thing I think about most at our mountainous Haiti home is our two dogs, the Salvants, and Geronne and Jenny. I miss and love them all.
*Noah was very ticked off about this assignment, therefore his relationship with "other people", mainly Troy, was quite difficult in the moment that Troy assigned this work.
Some people have their faith crisis as they hit age 40, some when they fail to get the promotion they worked hard for, others when their husband up and leaves them for some 26 year old. I have a good friend, a life-long follower of Jesus, that walked away from God all together this year.
FCH. Faith Crisis Happens ... To most of us.
The hardest part about a faith crisis or creeping doubt is that feeling uncertain feels scary. If you once had every answer and having every answer is where you found your security, well, not having all the certain answers means not having the security and comfort you grew to know and love. When surrounded by fellow followers of Jesus that seem to have every answer, and zero doubt, it can leave you feeling like you're a faux member of the club.
I loved a piece by Jessica Kelly on the topic. She said:
"Over the years I’ve had a lot of misconceptions about faith and doubt. I’ve equated faith with certainty. I’ve considered doubt to be a sign of spiritual immaturity or even an absence of salvation. So for most of my life, I’ve stuffed my reservations, fears, and downright oppositions toward God. I thought He was seeking certainty, my stoic profession of absolute confidence in His plans, His word, and His heart. I was afraid to wrestle."
You can read it in its entirety here.
If this is something you're struggling with, I wanted to point you (especially Minnesotans) in the direction of an upcoming two day conference on the topic ...
See THIS link for more information.
With a “refugee” camp holding over 800 Haitians in inhuman conditions, Conectas charges Brazil is covering up an international crisis
by Conectas Human Rights (for Haiti Liberte)
The Brazilian government has for months now been playing a word game – between “immigration” and “refugee” – to minimize the severity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the small town of Brasiléia, in Brazil’s northern state of Acre on the border with Bolivia, some 240 kilometers southwest of the state capital Rio Branco. More than 830 immigrants – nearly all of them Haitians – are living inside a warehouse built for just 200 people, in extremely unhygienic conditions. They are required to share just 10 lavatories and 8 showers, where there is no soap and no toothpaste, sewage leaks outside in the open air, and people have been packed for months inside an area of 200 square meters under a metal roof, with black plastic sheeting for curtains, in temperatures that can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). The local hospital reports that 90% of the patients from the camp have diarrhea. The shelter is already operating at four times capacity, and 40 new Haitians arrive every day.
“It’s unhealthy, inhuman even,” said João Paulo Charleaux, coordinator of communication at Conectas, who visited the camp. “The Haitians spend the night lying closely together, in sweltering heat, on pieces of foam that were once portable mattresses, surrounded by bags, shoes and other personal belongings. The lavatories are flooded with fetid water, there is no soap for people to wash their hands and nearly everyone we spoke to complained of abdominal pain and diarrhea. Many spend months in these conditions.” Conectas organized a mission to Brasiléia from August 4 to 6, when it recorded 20 interviews with people living in the shelter. The interviews were conducted in Haitian Kreyòl by Gabrielle Apollon, a guest researcher of Conectas. Apollon had already interviewed 27 Haitians who managed to get to São Paulo, in a total of 20 hours of recorded testimonies. In these interviews, the Haitians tell their story of how they arrived in Brazil after spending as much as US$4,000 to middlemen for the journey from Haiti. The Haitians also claim that the “humanitarian visa” process at the Brazilian Embassy in Port-au-Prince is not functioning as promised – middlemen charge fees, there is no clear information about the procedure, it is difficult to get an appointment, and the authorities have been requesting résumés to give preference to so-called “qualified immigration” to Brazil, without taking into account the “humanitarian” nature that these visas, according to the Brazilian government, are supposed to have. “I can say that what we are experiencing here in Brasiléia is not fit for human beings,” said Osanto Georges, a 19-year-old Haitian. “They may as well have put us back in Haiti just after the earthquake: the same filth, the same type of shelter, water, food. This hurts me and scares me. I knew that the journey here would be tough, because you’re dealing with criminals, but to get to Brazil and be put in a place like this is unbelievable.” In the overcrowded camp, fights are constantly breaking out among people in the long lines. “The day we arrived, the police drew their weapons to control a disturbance,” said Charleaux. “It is clearly too complex a task to be handled the way it is being handled. The situation in the camp is similar in many respects to what I saw myself when I was in Haiti, shortly after the earthquake in 2010. It is a regional matter that involves at least five countries: Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Haiti. We shall request a thematic hearing in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS, and we shall submit our findings to two independent UN rapporteurs, one on migrants and another on the human rights situation in Haiti.” Members of Conectas also interviewed, on site, doctors from the hospital in Brasiléia, police officers, staff at the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the Child Protective Services office, government officials in Rio Branco, and several residents of Brasiléia. Conectas has also used the Freedom of Information Law on two occasions to obtain accurate information on the situation from the federal government in Brasília. In most cases, the names of the sources have been withheld at the express request of the government employees who do not have the formal authority to speak on behalf of the organizations they work for.
“90% have diarrhea”
Nearly all the Haitians interviewed by Conectas between August 4 and 6 complained of abdominal pain and diarrhea. Conectas visited the Raimundo Chaar Hospital, which has 46 beds and is responsible for handling emergency cases in the town. According to members of the hospital staff, there have been outbreaks of diarrhea that have sent 40 Haitians to the emergency room all at the same time. One of the employees explained that the hospital does not receive any additional funding to treat the inflow of Haitians. “The politicians are handling this as if it were a diplomatic issue, but in the meantime, every day, we are importing misery and sickness without being able to cope with it,” said the employee, revealing some of the prejudice and rejection in the town that is cause for concern. The information was confirmed by the attending physicians who confessed to being alarmed by the inflow of new patients. They explained that they receive an average of four Haitians per day, although when Conectas visited the hospital, 10 Haitians from the camp were admitted for treatment in the morning alone. Treatment is administered without the help of translators and, according to sources at the hospital, “90% of the cases are for diarrhea, and 10% are for respiratory illnesses.” The staff responsible for administering the treatment said they had never been inside the camp and were surprised when they were told about the hygienic conditions there.
“It’ll get worse”
According to the camp coordinator, Damião Borges of the Acre state government, the camp has been receiving 40 new Haitians per day, even though the most recent structural alterations were made four months ago. He explained that the increased number of new arrivals, combined with the reduced number of jobs available at companies that used to look for workers at the camp, is creating social chaos for Haitians in Brazil. “This needs to come to an end, because we have run out of resources,” Borges said. “The state of Acre has a debt of R$700,000 (US$292,404) with the company that provides food to the shelter, and the deadline for payment is Aug. 15. We urgently need help from the federal government. In two years and eight months, we have received R$4.5 million (US$1.88 million) from the state government and R$2 million (US$840,000) from the federal government. But the real burden is being carried by the town of Brasiléia. This should not be borne a small and modest municipality like this one.” Conectas was informed, during its visit, that the state of Acre has not received any funds from the federal government to look after the Haitian immigrants for three months. More seriously, no new funds are anticipated.
Complaints about food and water
Most of the complaints received at the camp are related to the quality of food and water. The site has just one source of drinking water, an industrial filter with three taps. According to the camp administrators, the abdominal pains are caused by the chlorine in the water, which “causes diarrhea for three days in people who have lots of amoebas in their bodies.” Another common complaint was the poor quality of the food, which can be explained by the difference in palate between Brazilians and Haitians. Even though this is the reason for the complaints, little has been done to substantially alter the menu. Meals are served in aluminum containers as the military police stands guard over the line of more than 800 people. Reports of fights among people waiting in line are frequent.
Unaccompanied and undocumented children
Another place visited by Conectas was the Child Protective Services office in Brasiléia, where 20 Haitian children who are undocumented or separated from their parents have been registered. However, on Aug. 7, when the mission of Conectas had already returned to Rio Branco, five Haitian children arrived at the camp. “We are way beyond our modest capacities,” said one of the staff members at the office. “This, for me, is the worst it’s been since the Haitians started to arrive.” Despite the increased workload, said the source, there has been no additional allocation of funds, material items or employees since the start of the crisis. In all, five counselors work at the office, handling all the problems involving children and adolescents in the town. “All of a sudden, a small town like this has to cope with a phenomenon of this scale, without even receiving any training,” added the source. Among the Haitians, there are numerous accounts of theft of documents – and other belongings – on the journey to Brazil.
“Brasiléia is a powder keg just waiting to explode,” an official from the Acre state government told Conectas in Rio Branco. “The residents of the town have had enough, and this could result in acts of hostility.” The statement reflects the state of mind of the inhabitants of this small town of just 20,000 people. Although the residents have expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Haitians, their weariness and discontent have been growing more apparent. The inhabitants of the camp compete with the local residents for places at the town’s public health clinics, supermarkets, bakeries, banks, pharmacies, post office, and other public services.
Another element of concern is the disproportion between the number of employees and the number of inhabitants at the camp. Over the course of the three days that Conectas spent in the town, only two employees were working full time at the camp, catering to 832 Haitians in a small trailer with a computer and a fan. Despite their dedication and willingness to help, the employees are local residents who do not speak Creole and do not have the necessary training or any prior experience in handling humanitarian issues. As such, they apply to this complex situation the same logic used to settle small town problems. Despite the constant trips to the town by members of the Acre state government, which is based in Rio Branco, a group of employees familiar with humanitarian crises is urgently needed to oversee the camp.
Neither the camp nor the hospital has a translator. The employees try to speak Spanish, but the vast majority of Haitians only speak Kreyòl. Instructions for waiting in line or submitting documents are shouted, which increases the confusion and anxiety of the Haitians, who very often crowd around and fight for a place in front of the small military police trailer that serves as the camp administration office. There are no electronic ticket or loudspeaker systems at the camp. The few posters in Kreyòl are handwritten. There are no posters with information about STD/AIDS or hygiene, or leaflets about their rights, or any other communication material with orientation for new arrivals.
Refugee Status vs. Humanitarian Visa
All the inhabitants of the camp are officially applying for refugee status, following the orientation given by the Brazilian government. However, after spending six months analyzing the applications, and extending this period for a further six months, the same government denied refugee status to all the Haitians. This legal arrangement, part of a policy that the Brazilian government has called a “humanitarian visa,” prevents Haitians arriving in the country from being deported, since the law bans the deportation of refugee applicants for the duration of the application process. However, this improvisation is allowing a serious humanitarian crisis – triggered by a situation of internal violence, followed by several natural disasters, the last of which was an earthquake that killed some 220,000 people in Haiti – to be treated like a simple immigration problem in Brazil. “The main consequence of this is an improvised, amateur, and uncoordinated approach that has overburdened the small municipality of Brasiléia and its population, when, in fact, it should be being overseen by specialists in humanitarian emergencies of this complexity,” said Charleaux. “From a humanitarian point of view, the name of the visa for these Haitians is now less urgent than the brutal conditions they face in the camp. Indeed, this humanitarian visa policy is anything but humanitarian.”
Conectas is a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization founded in São Paulo/Brazil in September 2001 whose mission is to promote the realization of human rights and consolidation of the rule of law in the Global South - Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It seeks a more just world, with a truly global, diverse, and effective human rights movement, where national institutions and the international order are more transparent, effective and democratic.
A view of the warehouse where 832 Haitians are presently housed. More arrive every day.
In the overcrowded camp in Brasiléia, fights are constantly breaking out among people in the long lines.
Link to article: The Violent Poor or Bastions of Hope
"They are people, living in a country with one of the most tangled social and political histories you will ever encounter. It’s just a country that often requires time and patience to access."
Troy helping me with the space pop machine
It might be true that I had other stress going and it might be true that I am having a hormonal "situation". It might be true that I need a counselor or something. But, it is also true that this ^ space-age soda-pop machine made me tear up over the weekend. Can't a girl just go push her cup against the little lever of the kind of pop she wants in the same old regular fashion that she has always done it?
No. No. She can't. She has to make six separate decisions to get one glass of pop.
In other America news filed under "What Tha??"...
On a quick trip to search for math books, I was found, totally disoriented, mouth agape, staring at this piece of "art". The first verse from Proverbs is translated this way: "Unending riches honor and success are mine to give..." from there it got a tiny bit better. It's not a translation I'm familiar with, we decided it must be the brand new TJUV (totally jacked up version). Also, as my brother-in-law pointed out, if Mary and Joseph didn't have the unending riches and success to get some orthodontia for that underbite Je$u$* is sporting, at least we know that we are not the only ones doing it wrong.
If you can explain either of these 'Merica weekend discoveries to me, I beg of you, please do.
*(Thank you Corrigan Clay for the Je$u$ comment that led to Dr.Pepper (from that space age machine!) coming out of our noses.)
We have not been here (in this blog-space) writing things out very much this summer. It annoys me that there hasn't been space and time to write much because writing is a lot like running for me, it provides a method/vehicle that allows me to process my crazy. Lawd knows all about the copious crazy up in this house.
The neglect of the blog began in July when we were trying to figure out how to leave our home for five months. We were busy planning and trying to tie up loose ends at work and home. We put stuff into one room, we tried to decide what things to hide and what things to leave out when renting out the house. I confess here and now in this public space that I hid a few things. When I sat down to imagine what items a renter could break that might make me melt down in white hot rage and/or utter despair, it really came down to two things: the Vitamix Blender and the treadmill.
I'm not that great of a sharer.
There I said it.
I left other options, though. There is still a $19.99 Oster that is awesome at making already liquefied items stay at least as liquefied as when you begin blending, and a driveway to run in place.
We made lists and tried to explain in writing why each and every person staying in the house will get to spend a night or two or twenty surrounded by mosquitoes, without electricity and maybe even water. I thought the manual of instructions Troy wrote was over-kill. I wanted to say, "This is your life now, people. Embrace the suck.", or, "You get to pay rent to lie awake sweating your butt off. More expensive than a gym membership, but SAME results. See, you don't even need the treadmill! You.are.welcome."
My partner in life is much kinder and far more gracious. He wanted to write a manual to explain the infrastructure and how it all works (or doesn't) and help the renters and guests understand how to be smart with their battery power. If you ever need a merciful friend, you know whom to call upon.
Here I sit, all cool, comfortable and dry, typing all of that out and thinking about the soupy hot sleepless buzzing-bug-filled nights and feeling more than a little bit sad. I love that miserable place so much.
The point of all that ... First it was too busy getting ready to go and now it is to busy going and ever since we got packed up and left four weeks ago, everything is too disjointed and unorganized and there hasn't been great wi-fi and and and.
(People, middle America doesn't have as much Wi-Fi access as you might think. Branson, MO is pretty much an unwired technology-free-wasteland.)
I wish I could go back and write the things that were wonderful and glorious and painful and mind-numbing from the month of July. That stuff is blurry already as we've been speeding full force into this five months of America time. This photo below was used to jog my atrophied and aspartame soaked cranium - so with this, I am trying to say something about the month of July, to catch up just a little.
Chelsea (from Austin, TX) came to Haiti and taught the kids for seven weeks. I barely wrote a word about it, but they loved summer school and we are now a summer school family from here on out and forevermore. Haiti doesn't allow us enough summer activities to stay sane, so more school it is. They'll thank me some day. Surely they will.
Chelsea, thank you so much. We were blessed by your love and service this summer.
Another July happening...Rachel Burton showed up on the scene. Born in Texas to Jimmy and Becky Burton (for new readers, they are two+ years in Haiti working at multiple things - including teaching this crew of kids).
Last night on our way home from Branson we stopped to meet the newest Burton. Here are the five current and one former Heartline Academy students along with Abbi and Rachel Burton ...
We're not certain how we can possibly be worthy of this much goodness and provision, but the 4 Burtons will return to teach and live in Haiti again in January.
The five remaining students count their blessings and the days until then, they truly love their teachers and love learning under their direction.
~ ~ ~
We get emails from Geronne and Jenny that make us smile. We get to hear about the random, exciting, mundane day to day things and sometimes the emails say, "Please tell the American that I need to go to a funeral/the market/my friend's house tomorrow, I would tell her myself but she doesn't speak Kreyol." The system works surprisingly well. Geronne emails us in Kreyol, we email the person standing next to her in English. Voila! Everyone is in the know.
~ ~ ~
Troy and Paige are all registered for their respective classes. They have one single required (for new incoming students) class together. Troy's plan is to head to class and see how long it takes before someone asks Paige why the creepy old-bro always sits near her and talks to her. They already had a fun moment during their test and registration day when the registrar asked Troy for his license and he said, "Oh, sorry, I didn't know you needed it", she replied, "I don't, I just wanted to see how you are old enough to have a daughter registering with you."
Made me reeeal proud hearing that story. That there my baby-daddy! A daddy, who is just a baby.
Troy's two classes are part of his long-range planning that will someday allow him to get further into formal dentistry stuff. (That's fancy academic talk right there, try to stick with me.)
I have so much stuck in my head that needs to be let out...
...But I also have a Midwifery paperwork deadline that will require miraculous and merciful supernatural strength to meet. So wish me luck, vastly reduced ADD, the discipline of an Olympic athlete, and a very nice Fed-Ex customer-service person on Monday morning.
Until next time, Kenbe fem.
~ ~ ~
Reposting from facebook - currently in search of:
Waco, TX friends and acquaintances that are not registered or unregistered sex-offenders: We are looking to hire a math teacher/tutor for five age Kindergarten to sixth grade students. (They all use Math-U-See curriculum.) This position could be 3 or 4 days a week depending on the tutor's availability. The pay is lucrative, you'll be famous, powerful, and held in high esteem. Only not all those things. Just the last one. PLEASE, if you know a student at Baylor or a graduate of 8th grade or just someone that LOVES doing Math morning, noon, and night and LOVES being asked to explain things dozens and dozens of times, send them our way, stat!
(This is a one semester job, but the rewards will last a lifetime. Or the memories will. Or something.)
Maslow's Hierarchy of needs photo - posted on Twitter today by @mdcounselling - and Brene Brown
carelp posted a photo:
A droite du couple présidentiel, l'artiste Rodrigue Milien et le Père Antoine Occide Jean (Père Sicot). A gauche, le musicien Raoul Guillaume, la Ministre de la Culture, Mme Josette Darguste, et le Dr Didier Armand, représentant de Mimi Barthélémy.
carelp posted a photo:
Vue partielle de l'assistance à la cérémonie de remise de décoratiion au Palais National
carelp posted a photo:
Le Père Antoine Occide Jean (Père Sicot), Sociologue et Ethnologue, est décoré de l'Ordre National Honneur et Mérite au Grade de Grand Officier pour sa contribution au développement communautaire
carelp posted a photo:
Photo souvenir entre le récipiendaire et le Chef de l'Etat
carelp posted a photo:
M. Raoul Guillaume, premier compositeur de chants de Noël et grand Mapou de la musique haïtienne, est décoré de l'Ordre National Honneur et Mérite au Grade de Chevalier pour sa constance dans le milieu musical.
carelp posted a photo:
Photo souvenir entre le Président de la République et le Maestro Raoul Guillaume