Sunday, July 15, 2012

Video Link

I am back in the U.S. - Since I have a better internet connection now, I posted 16 short videos on to You Tube. 

I am not a professional video producers, but I hope that the videos will give you an idea of what the Fanm pou Fanm Haiti Crochet Project does and who the women are that earn a livelihood through the project.

Here are a sample of photos that you can also find on our Facebook page (photo albums):

We payed for 22 children to start school for the 2012/2013 school year 
We will need additional funds to pay the 2nd trimester & 3rd trimester school fees. But, the children have the 1st trimester paid for, received funds to pay for uniforms, books and other school materials. 
We crochet 150 doggy-poop-bag-dispensers for the Zoom Room 

We crochet 208 frisbees for the Zoom Room 
We crochet beautiful earrings! $10/pair

We crochet some additional frisbees for sale, $5 each.
We crochet pot holders to be sold at $10/pair
I taught the ladies how to crochet some items that they can sell locally

They really liked these head covers - hope that they can sell lots!
I taught the ladies to make different types of hats they can sell locally.
Johnny made another one of his (now) famous crochet bags
We distributed about 100 little girls' dresses (made of pillow cases)
We distributed about 100 pairs of flip-flop sandals

We helped support the children's feeding program. 
Approx. 50 children get fed twice per day, at breakfast & at lunch. We want to be able to help more here. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 7 & 8 - Update

I got up super early this morning to take advantage of the slightly cooler temperatures. I sleep on the second floor porch, outside, because inside the house it is always like an oven!

I inventories and counted all the frisbees and little dispenser bags, just to make sure that we made enough for the order. I am happy to report that we have 208 frisbees and 166 dog-poop-baggie-dispensers.

The difficulty in making them is that some ladies are so slow, one took almost three weeks to come up with four frisbees, that my math planning did not work out. I had given 20 women 10 frisbees to crochet...but then I ended up have to give the faster crocheters more frisbees to crochet because of the ones that were "tweedling" along...

I had the same difficulty with the little dispenser bags. One of the ladies, I did not think that she could finish her 15 dispensers in time and/or in satisfactory condition, so I had some other ladies crochet some extra dispensers, that is how we came up with 16 additional dispensers. However, the one slow/questionable lady's dispensers are not the greatest. I just did not have the heart to reject all 15 of them...

So, my bags are packed with finished frisbees, dispensers, pot holders, market bags (small and bigger ones), additional colored frisbees, earrings and stitch markers.

On Monday, I need to still go to about 7 schools to finish paying the fees. It is always so time consuming to do anything in Haiti. The streets are blocked with traffic jams, fumes and dust. It has been super windy here. The only way to get anywhere is on a motorcycle, which is kind of risky, considering all the bad and chaotic driving that happens here.

My cousin-in-law's car kept breaking down and half of my time here, it has been not working. So, I have been catching rides with friends and relatives or taking the motorcycle or walking to where I need to go. That really slows down things.

On Tuesday, I am getting together with the ladies one more time to teach them how to crochet hats. We decided on a cute style that should not be too difficult. Some of the ladies have really caught on so well to the crochet and do beautiful work.

We will be dispersing most of the yarn that came in the container from Miami. I have decided to sell the yarn at 5 Gourdes (about 10 cents) per ball/skein because I want to make sure that whoever gets the yarn is serious about making things out of it for sale. The ladies know how to crochet the triangular head wrap, baby shoes, frisbees, bags (small and bigger) and they will know how to crochet the hats. This way, they can make a little business for themselves in addition to our project's work.

Yesterday, a young man died at the camp on Santo 17. He had been in the hospital for several months and was recently released. He started bleeding profusely from his stomach, out of his mouth and nose. It was a LOT of blood! People said that he had bleeding ulcers, but can they be so bad that you bleed to death from them? It was a horrid sight! I felt so terrible for him and his family. His young nephew was home alone with him when this happened. The man left the house to get help... but there was no help for him. May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Beautiful Crochet Earrings

You MUST check out our Facebook update - PHOTO ALBUM - to see the gorgeous earrings individually and the stitch markers (a tool that knitters use) that we have made... and to think that these ladies did not know how to crochet prior to April 2012!

It takes too much out of my little Haitian plug-in antenna to upload the photos onto the blog. But here is a group photo:


Please check out the Facebook Photo Album for the earrings and stitch markers. I am so very proud of our ladies!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 2, 2012 - Update...

When I got home yesterday evening, there was no electricity. Once it got dark, I decided to lay down for a nap, to wait until the electricity came on, so I could get on the computer to give an update. Well... the electricity came on at some point, but I don't remember because I was in dreamland! I woke up at about 3 a.m. but decided that I was not getting up until morning.

We have 164 finished frisbee. We would have more, but I rejected about 20 of them for mistakes and/or sloppy work.
134 frisbees, picture taken on Sunday, we have 30 more now

We also have 40 finished dispensers. We would have more at this time, but I told the ladies to crochet all the dispensers first and then I would show them how to crochet the rim around the opening with the button loop and the button. All in all, we had 90 unfinished dispensers.

I started showing three ladies how to crochet the earrings. I made two and gave Cleanne Blaise credit for them (she is our oldest participant, at 68, and she is not only of poor health, but she also lives in dire circumstances). Wana Deliscard finished her first pair of earrings. Elizett Mercilus along with Edith Jean were working on their first pair yesterday afternoon.

There are beads in the outside rim, but the photo is not the best

They are loving the earrings. I want to make stitch markers too, if there is enough time.

By the way, I rejected 20 market bags for being too loosely crochet and/or bad yarn connections. Martha had six of them! Mary Ann's Haitian daughter (Roseline Marcilus) had one, as did Hermitha Dessource. They took it with humor and got busy frogging the bags. I reminded them that when yarn is thinner, you use a smaller hook. But it seemed that their focus was on making big enough bags. I did a little demonstration with Rosline's bag where I did pretend shopping and put a several things into the kept stretching and stretching, until Edith started laughing and said: "If you take this bag shopping, it will end up on the ground!"

Edith's sister had two bad bags too. Edith took them to her. The rest were from ladies who never finished a bag before and who actually quit the project on their own. Nonetheless, Quelange knows the ladies and she too the bags back to them, I doubt that we will see any of them fixed and/or back.

Johnny, Roseline Colas' son made a new bag. Remember, he is the young man who insisted on learning how to crochet. He is really smart and I am looking forward to him starting school this year, FINALLY! If he can be given the opportunity to attend school, he will be a doctor someday. He has so much potential and intelligence.
Johnny's Creation :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

School Sponsorship for 2012/13 school year...

I just posted the photos of the moms whose kids we are hoping to sponsor for the 2012/13 school-year. Moms are busy collecting the necessary documents and next week, I will have to do some running around to the different schools to pay fees.
Here is a link to all the photos on our FACEBOOK page. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012 - Haiti Update

Our ladies are kind of at a loss for words as to why all of their market bags haven’t sold yet. Some were almost in tears when I told them the news of our lack of market bag sales. “Why don’t they want our bag?” --- How do I explain that? But we cannot have the ladies crochet more bags when we still have over 200 unsold bag...
Today was extremely hot and muggy. You sweat just breathing! :) Finally, it just now started to rain. We have not had rain for several weeks in Haiti and that is unusual.
Yesterday, several ladies started crocheting the doggie poop bag dispensers. I posted photos on facebook. Four ladies crochet potholders today for Sandra at Help for Haiti, Inc. I dropped them off to her on the way home today. She is such a sweet lady, I am really liking her more every time I have contact with her. I gave the potholders to her as a gift because she not only shipped our yarn cargo for free in her container, but she held the container back for two days when three of our packages had not arrived yet.
Please see our photos on our Facebook photo album page.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26th - Toilet Quest, Feeding Program, etc.

“Toilet Quest”: Today was an interesting day of sorts. I went on a treasure hunt of sorts for a useable toilette at the displacement camp at Santo #17. This camp, by many standards is one of the best and cleanest around, however, for the over one thousand residents, there is ONE (yes you read correctly), there is ONE useable toilet!
I actually met four lovely children on “my quest” to find a clean toilet at the camp. I took a video of them as I asked them where I could use to the toilet. Immediately, they told not to use the ones that were available for the camp residents because they were “nasty”. One of the little girls warned me that I could get cholera if I went to use the toilet. At first they told me that they themselves never go near the toilets. Upon asking some more as to where they would use the toilet, they pointed me toward a tree. One of the girls advised me that behind the tree was a great spot because it was “clean”.
Open Hole that leads to sewage
I will have to wait until I return to the U.S. since I will need a faster Internet connection to upload the videos that I took on my toilet quest. Eventually, there was one that was locked with a young man as the “gate keeper”. At first, he told me that he had the key to let me in, but then he said he had to get it, with that he disappeared, I think that was the point when he realized that I was filming.
Bottom line, there is ONE useable toilet for the entire displacement camp!
In the video, you will see several structures that were built as toilets, however, for some reason, the NGO that constructed the toilets insisted on the newest technology that promptly broke down, making the toilets unusable.
As you can see from the photos, there is a brightly painted wall that states (translated): WASH YOUR HANDS. What a joke! Where should I wash my hands? After I fall into the big hole in the ground that is open to sewage?
"Wash your Hands" - That's what the wall reads, but where is the water? Let alone the toilets?

At the Santo #17 camp, the tents were replaced by semi-permanent housing. The housing has a cement base, plywood walls and a tin roof. There are no glass window, once the blue shudders are opened, there is an open hole in the wall for a window. The houses are one-room duplexes. This means, two families are assigned one duplex. Since there aren’t any shower or bathing facilities, families carry bucket of water to the front of their house to wash there. No privacy at all. Some families have used old tarps to build some semi-private bathing facilities but with the strong winds, most of them have been blown away. So, at any one time, you will see semi-nude people washing themselves in front of their houses. That includes women who have developed a system of wearing short while being topless, washing the exposed body parts. Then the women will wrap themselves in a towel, take off their shorts and wash the other parts that stay covered under the towel. When I asked some of the women if it did not bother them that anybody who walks by sees them pretty much naked, they responded that they have to clean themselves somehow.
Lady washing herself in front of her house.
Okay then…
Feeding Program: Also, I spend some time with Peter, my cousin-in-law, who runs a feeding program for some of the resident children. The Haitian government has started a canteen where residents can buy a meal for 10 Gourdes (approx. $0.25) per person. One of the ladies in our crochet project got a job cooking at the canteen part-time. However, the food that the children get through Peter’s feeding program is free to them. The kids have been trained to sit nicely and to wait for their plate of food. I did take some video, that I will upload later, but I do have photos that I am posting on our facebook page. The program is supported in part by the same organization, called “Help for Haiti”, that helped us ship yarn in their container to Haiti. However, most of the program is supported by Peter himself.
Mid-Day Meal for the Kids in Peter's feeding program
Patiently waiting for their Plate
Crochet Update: We now have 97 finished Frisbees! I have started to work with a couple of ladies on the little dispenser bags. This is a much more complicated pattern than the Frisbees and I am going to only be able to teach about 10 of the best crocheters to make the bags. I took two full days with some of the ladies to try to teach them the Frisbee and stayed on trying to get round 1 and 2 finished. Two full days of round 1 and 2, then not moving forward beyond those two rounds… I don’t think that I have the energy or patience to go through this again with the dispenser bags. I know that the ladies want the work, but there also needs to be a reality check. Am I being too hard on them?
You can see more photos on our Facebook Page.