Today we headed out for the Saintaard Parish, one of our twins located by the sea just north of Port au Prince. It was a long bumpy and dusty ride through the city and then out past the port. Traffic at times was quite congested and we passed a bustling, if dusty, market on the way out. Many motorcycles on the road weaving in and out of the traffic. Eventually we ended up at our destination, and were surprised by all the students milling about on their lunch break in their neat purple uniforms. The young people we’re shy but curious about us and stayed back as they followed us around. We first headed out to the shore past their radio station and through the retreat centre to the beach where we saw a number of boats. Fr. Frank and our host Pere Johnson explained that during the hurricane this village lost all of their fishing boats which were the livelihood of the village. Thanks to the generous support of donors OTH was able to raise funds to purchase about 20 boats. The smaller boats were $500 and the larger $2000. The agreement was that they would purchase these 20 and the men receiving them would donate a portion of their catch each day to go towards purchasing boats for the others. In this way they worked together and were able to give back in a way that helped even more people. We were able to meet with one boat of fishermen and to inspect their catch. It was an assorted group of net-caught fish and one angry crab.
We had a tasty lunch of beet salad, chicken, Picklies, fried plantain, macaroni and popcorn, courtesy of Pere Johnson. If you haven’t tried them picklies look like benign coleslaw but they have quite the kick! We then drove back and due to traffic took almost 2 hours to reun. Though hot and tired, we were able to see much of everyday life in Haiti.
Once back we met with the Senior Staff and asked them about their dreams and visions for OTH. If the resources weren’t a problem what would they like to see happen over the next 5 years, we asked. After some good conversation over wine and cheese, we headed out for dinner with them. Tomorrow is also a busy day, again with some more experimental thinking in the morning and some visits to the clinic at Krist Roi, with the staff and with the builders.