Thursday, September 22, 2005
These past week or so has been eventful and productive. I spent last Tuesday and Wednesday in Port-au-Prince working with Fr. Joseph and the group that is arranging internships for our University students. On Tuesday I had a long afternoon session of troubleshooting and problem solving with Fr. Joseph at his home, which inevitably led to more work to be done in Fondwa. Fr. McKnight, a 78 year-old Spiritan priest from the US who has decided to retire to Fondwa, arrived that day and had lunch with us. On Wednesday I worked at the APF office and visited SUCO, a Canadian NGO, with Anne and Laurent, a French couple who have lived in Fondwa for two years. The three of us caught an afternoon bus back to Fondwa; the 2-hour drive took about 4 due to ‘technical difficulties,’ but we were happy to be back in one piece. I spent the night at Anne and Laurent’s house in Tomb Gato, where I lived during my time here in 2003. While we were descending the mountain the next day, a powerful thunderstorm rushed across the valley and overtook us before we could reach the APF Center (see the photo above). We were fortunate enough to take refuge in a friend’s house along the road before the worst of the storm hit.
On Sunday I visited Léogane to promote a two-month English conversation class that I will be offering in October and November. During the course I will leave Fondwa Thursday and stay in Léogane through Saturday, teaching on Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Wednesday I started classes at l’Ecole St. Antoine, the APF’s school in Fondwa. I’m teaching Wednesday and Thursday mornings, 7th grade and 9th grade. On the weekends I also have an hour-long conversation class with the novitiates I live with, and there is no shortage of people asking for more lessons. Once the University students start their internships in October, I will be visiting them with another professor to evaluate their work. At that time, my schedule will officially be chok-a-blok full.
For now, I find I have a fair amount of time to read, relax, and spend time with people. I have become particularly fond of Djet and Julie, a pair of 2 year-old orphans who are too young to live in the orphanage, so they live in the APF Center with one of the sisters. They are together 100% of the time, and know few words other than each others’ name. Djet is especially fond of having his picture taken. He knows I’m taking his picture when the initial flash on my camera goes off, so in each photo he is squealing with glee at the flash that went off a moment before. Julie is less fond of pictures, but is starting to pick up on my name and the fact that my lanky frame makes for an excellent jungle gym.
The coming week will bring many English lessons, a friend’s one-year marriage anniversary party, trips to Léogane and Port-au-Prince, a meeting with USAID, and an over-night stay with a group that does cultural diversity training.