Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25 (Monday) – The weather has been really strange! Normally this is the beginning of the rainy season. Days are hot and humid and almost every late afternoon there is a downpour of rain that gives some temporary relief. Because it has rained, the next day gets even more humid as the water starts evaporating. Additionally, rain is a haven for mosquitoes and they eat you alive every afternoon before the rain and then at night after the rain.

This time though, there has not been any real rain for several weeks. There are horrid gale force winds that blow up dirt, ash (from people burning trash) and other debris that it carries. Most of the time you have to squint to protect your eyes. Because it has not rained, the air is so polluted. The other day, my lungs literally hurt. I feel bad for anybody with any sort of allergies or asthma. This must be hell for those people.

Since there has not been much rain and the winds have been blowing non-stop at such strength, the weather, in terms of temperature has been great.

Crochet Update:
We have a lot more Frisbees finished. I am too tired to get up to count, but we are at about 80 frisbees. Unfortunately, I have had to discontinue the three of the four ladies whom I gave a second chance to today. Fortunately, one of the ladies is getting it now and is doing a beautiful job. One of the Cenobe sisters was turning in horrid looking Frisbees and I refused them. She argued with me for a little while, but they really are not up to par. Mary Suze came with three frisbeess today that were too loose and had mistakes in them. I rejected them and at first she got all huffy and puffy, but then, she sat down, frogged them and crochet beautiful Frisbees.

One thing is that a lot of the ladies crochet way too loose. I do not have anymore size US F (3.00 mm) hooks for them to use. A regular crocheter would use a size US H (4.5 mm) hook and crochet tight with the Red Heart Super Saver yarn that we are using for the Frisbees. These ladies are crocheting so loose that they need to go way down in hook size.

I took several videos today. Three of them of us driving the compound where we meet to crochet and two of us crocheting. I am never in any of the photos or videos because I am the camera-woman! I think that I will have to take some photos at arm’s length of me in it. The ladies thought that it was so funny for me to take videos. I will see about uploading them.

On Saturday, the ladies who have school aged children will come to have their photos taken. I am planning on taking a “family photo” with mom and her children.  This way, we can show the individual families better for all of the generous ladies in the U.S. and Canada who are supporting the children’s tuition payments.

Okay, there is something funny that I wanted to share. Electricity is supplied on an irregular and random basis. Some people have generators (that cost a lot of money to run), other people have inverters with batteries ( as system that stores extra electricity in batteries that look similar to car batteries, again this is very expensive to purchase and to maintain), thus most people just rely on the public electricity. Like I mentioned, it comes on at rather random times. Especially when it has gotten dark (which is earlier than in the U.S. or Europe since Haiti is located closer to the equator), things tend to quiet down some (though it is never quiet in Haiti).  It could be in the middle of the night when the electricity comes one, it does not matter what time because the entire neighborhood comes alive with music, TV, etc. I am just as bad as all the neighbors. When I got home today, I was tired, no electricity, no light except from my cellphone, so I decided to just lay down for a nap. As soon as the electricity came on, I sprang back to life…. alongside with all the neighbors! I ran into the house (since I like to sleep on the second floor porch) to get my computer to download videos, photos and to write this update.

While we crochet, when I am not checking or counting ladies crochet stitches, we chat a lot. I have been taking an informal survey of sorts to get opinions on the NGOs (non-governmental organizations that are here to give aid, etc.) Shortly after the earthquake, I worked for a couple of the NGOs, one not so good, and one pretty good (in my opinion). The ladies are sharing with me that OXFAM is giving a lot of support as is HELP AGED. Both NGOs are based in Great Britain, I actually had a job offer to work as the country director of OXFAM’s personnel before I left Haiti. I did work as the director of personnel of HELP AGED for their Haiti staff after the earthquake. I had a pretty good opinion of HELP AGED while I worked for them.

The one organization that got a unanimous “thumbs down” was UNICEF. (Most people who know me, know that I hold an extremely poor opinion of UNICEF, I could write a book about the damage that that organization has done in so many countries. But, I kept my opinion to myself as I was informally gathering opinions of the ladies.) One of the ladies said that all that UNICEF does is to drive around in fancy SUVs and that is about all they do. (I wanted to say: “Amen to that!” but I kept it to myself because I want to honestly hear what our ladies have to say, after all they are the ones living in the displacement camps with their children.)

I asked the ladies if any of the organizations were helping to create jobs for people, but aside from an occasional “Cash for Work” week, there was really not much done. Cash for Work is where crews are hired as day laborers for a day or a week at a time. But that is not happening frequently. One of the ladies said that many of her neighbors just sit around all day long waiting for a hand out. At this point, they are, in her opinion, getting too lazy to work. In my opinion, what is happening is that people are getting used to getting hand outs versus working for something. I think that is a terrible shame and that also means that the NGOs are doing more damage than good. How come there cannot be more programs like out little crochet project? The women are so proud when they finish their project and collect their pay. Do you know what I mean?

What is that saying: Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Okay, enough blabbering… Let me see if I can upload those videos somehow.

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