I’m the leftover teammate, but only left for one day. How fortunate I am!! I shudder to think what I could have missed if I hadn’t found my passport that I had guarded extremely carefully, until about ½ hour before departure at 1:30 am, Saturday. With the moving of MANY items in a relatively small space, the passport found itself easy to hide away except for a very tiny corner that was noticed after many looks around in the same suspected, most likely area. However the “find” didn’t happen until the return trip from Deer Lake to Springdale long after the other six had left Deer Lake. Earlier, with 10 of the 14 “Stuffed Full” suitcases already in our van, time was at a premium , and we had to get these to Deer Lake Airport for the remainder of the Team. In short, the other six had to go and take all those most valuable items to Haiti. As for me, after rearranged flights later that day and the next I was also able to go and miss only one day – I feel so lucky to be here with them on location in Haiti.
Last night, we were involved in the Haiti hockey finals. There were too many Montreal Canadians fans attending for Heather, “Carey Priceless” was even in the net. It also seems to be the beginning of the baseball season, Todd has good form and we suspect it will improve as the season progresses.
|“Carey Priceless in ‘net’ (wooden benches).”|
|“Todd in good form.”|
There are many important tasks to do while we are in Haiti, most of this morning involved opening and arranging all the wonderful supplies that have been donated by many people and groups from twelve or more communities throughout Newfoundland. It was very important that we bring as many suitcases along with us, filled with supplies because once you get to Haiti there is no postal service or delivery system. It isn’t possible for anyone to mail or send items to HATS. The majority of items will be put to great use within the communities but several things were sent for a fun day here at HATS with the children. Just to make sure the fun day items were up to par we proceeded with a fashion show and a wedding. As I am writing the blog Jenny and Todd are also helping Karen with her payroll, counting and sorting Haitian money.
|“Quite a spread of donations”|
|“The wonderful individuals and groups who donated items”|
|“Leader Emma and Shirley sorting dresses”|
|“Still unpacking tons of great donations”|
|“The wedding, modeling some dress up clothes”|
|“Todd and Jenny doing payroll”|
A big thank you to Heather and Lacee for their help with the technical work involving pictures and captions.
6:20 AM. Past the usual blog deadline. But I’ve been given some extra time because we just finished a busy days work including sorting out the materials of 14 suitcases. We worked right into darkness, using flashlights to organize all the donated supplies. Some will be used directly in the Orphanage and the rest into the neighboring area. To finish this blog more quickly on my part, I think I’ll include a poem or some rhymes I did a couple of years ago. It may be appropriate in that the families, friends who may be reading these blogs can get some more idea of this unique country’s special history. Except for the first and last two verses, the others are based on a book “Haiti – The Aftershocks of History” by Laurent Dubois, 2012, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Although this book has many persons and locations names, they are basically avoided here for a general history overview.
The Haitian Smile
Oh, Haiti! Ayiti! Land of beauty
What an honour for the opportunity,
To see your land with its different shapes,
From your highest mountains to sea scapes.
As the sun brings warmth to your plants and soil,
It brings that wonderful warmth to that Haitian smile.
That smile has persisted throughout much adversity,
And it deserves to outlast eternity.
Haiti was once the wealthiest land in the western hemisphere,
But those benefits went to France through repression and fear.
Brutal slavery created enormous fortunes back then,
But that was for France, not those in ‘slavery’ land.
Those slaves being nine-tenths of the colony’s population
Endured a 12 – year revolt that produced a new “nation”.
Haiti became the first black nation – but its independence wasn’t a ‘hit’
With other “slave” using countries; who blockaded, and invaded Haiti , as they saw fit.
Though Haiti won its independence over 200 years ago,
Other countries, especially France, dealt it many a devastating blow.
Haiti wasn’t given its official status, couldn’t fulfil its destiny,
Internationally taken advantage of by many another country.
Haiti finally had to agree to unfair terms to France,
Which for over 120 years kept poverty entrenched.
Its forests and fields were ravaged for Europe’s economic gain,
A historic wrongful debt that deepened the Nation’s pain.
Another external interference that produced a festering lesion,
Was the twenty years of U.S. invasion and occupation.
In 1934 when the U.S. Marines finally left,
Haiti had been ravaged again with this type of foreign conquest.
After the U.S. troops pulled out, it wasn’t freedom then.
The U.S. manipulated Haitian laws and Presidents favorable to them,
They often handled Haitians with the lowest forms of racism,
And other countries’ mockery of Haiti was an often theme.
Civil unrest often occurred as rural Haiti tried
To own its own country and to show its pride
In the ambitions of its founders who died for independence,
And not to be smothered in terror by foreign interference.
Perhaps some Haitian leaders were influenced by such foreign rule,
And thought their stay in office could be lengthened by being cruel.
For example two dictatorships that covered many years,
Took control of rural Haiti again by repression, terror, and fears.
There was a decade when large numbers of Haitians left
To escape from their own dictators who ruled with an iron fist.
They tried to make a living where ever outward they did fan;
Their bodies worked mechanically, their hearts still in their native land.
Yes, over 200 years ago, Haiti changed the course of history,
Overcoming slavery, being a beacon for humanity!
And the International Community should have honored their decision
And given Haitians the chance to confirm their vision.
Yes, within a brutal plantation system in every community,
They dreamed and died earning the right for freedom, equality and autonomy.
The devastations from internal conflict and external intervention
Haven’t stopped the ability to resist and survive in each new generation.
Yes, Haitians have survived: slavery, international bullying and invasions,
External mockery, racism, and rural dispossessions;
Massacres, genocide, and insurrection; poverty, and cruelties beyond description.
Floods, mudslides, and hurricanes; 2010 Earthquake, cholera… How deep the Nations pains ?!
Yes, the Haitian smile can remind many bigger, richer countries,
Of their overexaggerating many lesser difficulties.
A smile that indicates a deep inner strength,
A symbolic gold medal of a nation’s endurance.
Yes, a resilient Nation, though having been fully victimized,
Nothing has conquered that smile or the twinkle of the Haitian eyes!
Haiti, we hope your ancestral aspirations successfully continue.
Haiti (Ayiti), we honour and salute you.