Christmas Eve Day

On this Christmas Eve day my heart aches. The pain is in layers and like an onion when I try to cut them apart and sort them out a burning occurs, though not just in my eyes… but my heart as well. Needless to say I am missing my family in New Hampshire and the depth of my need to see them runs deep. It is of the other pain I wish to speak to you of today. On this day I once again have taken to walking around the village of Bercy. It has been some time since I have walked this village that I fell in love with five years ago, my work and living locations made it difficult to do. I am now living here again and my time is my own.

My heart and mind are in anguish at what I saw and heard on this walk. Things are little improved, if at all for a majority of people here in Bercy. Houses remain uninhabitable since the earth quake, families unable to cook even one meal a day, children unable to attend school for lack of funds, children wearing barely any clothes and those clothes dirty because the is no money to buy soap and water to wash said clothes or the bodies they barely cover.

When I started visiting Bercy five years ago I brought clothes, medical supplies and seeds… after the earth quake a brought tarps and more medical supplies. But I felt and still feel that hand outs are not the way… that a hand up is. I have worked to raise one family at a time… but this is not good enough! I need to find a way to raise a village! I am tormented by my obvious lack of ability to have made a greater  impact for the people of this rural village. In the depth of my anguish I cannot see a path to raise up an entire village. The people in Bercy have looked to me all these years as hope for a better future and they have become my friends. I have lived with them and like them: no electricity, no easily available water, shower out of a bucket; even as I write this I have not eaten yet today. They have prayed for me and with me. I have failed them, even though I promised them nothing, I am tormented by this apparent need. I have helped up so few and too little.

If I cried now the tears would burn my face, setting fire to the dry earth that they would land upon.

Tout moun bezwen bagay! Everyone needs things!

Tomorrow no one in Bercy will be sitting down to a large meal or an orgy of opening gifts. They will be working, they will be thankful if they get the opportunity to eat at all.

January 29, 2013

My thoughts turn once again to how to raise up a village. This thought has not been far from my mind since Christmas Eve. Bercy, a village full of people desperate to work, learn, fed and shelter themselves and their families and to move out of poverty. I believe my conclusion is Empowerment through Employment. My stance on not handing things out has not changed… and if you have read my posts on Facebook or in this or my other blogs… my view on non-profits/NGOs has not changed either. I still want to do this without the 501c3 status. Starting businesses in Bercy that will not only employee people but will offer products and services needed by the people in Bercy and the surrounding areas. I have one business plan right now that will employee 15 people by year three (if not sooner)… short term employment for the building of the structures. This business, once established and supporting itself (by year three) could then be the foundation for other businesses in Bercy. Other ideas are floating around in my head. The stumbling block is the start-up money… as it is when you’re starting a business anywhere in the world. Backers are needed, partners who see the validity of the business and the importance of building up a village through the Empowerment of Employment.  A business, built by Haitians and employs Haitians… no American teams coming in to do the work. American teaching may come into play… if the need goes beyond my skills.

Think of this: A business that employees local people will not only raise the employees and their families up, but the other small family run businesses will do better because people have money to spend and then those people will have money to spend… we are raising up a village!

I know… now you are wondering what the business is and how do I know it will succeed. Stay tuned… another post to come!

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Wedding in Bercy

The house is a buzz, a wedding is in the making and we are all attending. Geurline’s sister is getting married today and everyone is in a tizzy. But why they are in a tizzy is beyond me. I was told we needed to be at the church at 2:00, it is one o’clock and I am sitting here all dressed up and know one do go anywhere with, everyone is out.

For the last week everyone has been busy busy busy with wedding plans. Geurline has been at her mothers house working on wedding decorations and put the finishing touches on the soon to be newly-weds new house. This morning she was off again to work on last minute wedding preparations and the beginnings of cooking for the reception. It is now 1:30 and still I sit alone… wondering if the laid back scheduling that I have become accustomed to in Haiti, also pertains to Haitian weddings as well.

My dress is starting to stick to me… my shower… out of a five gallon bucket served up in a cup… seems like five hours ago rather than one.

Finally my date for the wedding arrives on his motorcycle. I am pleased to see him at the same time the thought of riding the motorcycle in my dress crosses my mind… Oh darn this will be interesting. Just then Edens walks in the door, seemingly in no hurry at all. He said he had to stop and have his motorcycle washed in case they needed him to deliver people to and from the wedding. 10 minutes later Geurline and Marlynn arrive and the house becomes a loud tornado of preparation. Midy and I escape out the door and head for the motorcycle. My dress pulled up to mid thigh we takeoff for the wedding.

The five minute drive was enough to dry the sweat on my dress and give everyone a chance to see how much whiter my legs are than my arms! We were lucky to find a place to squeeze into the large church. We were just in time for the beginning of the wedding.

I have watched a video of a Haitian wedding before… But it certainly didn’t show the full story! It was beautiful and bewildering at the same time. The church was full… people were watching through the doors and windows. The dancing in the isle was wonderful as were the clothes. What surprised me is how relaxed everyone watching was… People came and went at leisure. We stepped out to get some air, and to dry the sweat on our clothes. Out side peopled milled around, yes during the service. One man a relative of the bride had a large bottle of rum in his suit coat pocket and was serving people, a walking bar! Two hours later everyone rushed to the windows and doors… I was bewildered… what was all the fuss? Midy grabbed my camera as he headed for the door and into the building. On Midy’s return I found out that the rush was to see the bride and groom kiss… but the ceremony was not over yet. But what fun it was outside! Meeting up with friends I hadn’t seen in a few years and the candid pictures were just asking to be taken!

Enjoy!

Oh and Edens, Geurline and Marlynn were late by 1 hour! But the wedding started only 15 minutes late!

Watching the kiss

Watching the kiss

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Chilling

Chilling

Old friends connecting

Old friends connecting