“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Hi! Tropical Storm Isaac is heading through the Caribbean and is expected to hit Haiti tomorrow. It may reach hurricane status before it hits on Friday. The environment ministry has declared a red level watch for the country. There may be heavy rains associated with Isaac and some wind as well.
Last week we purchased a Nu-TV digital television receiver and we can receive channels from Europe, Canada and the United States. It is relaxing in the evenings to watch Canadian news and keep up-to-date on current events. I also bought a small stereo that has a cd player/radio. I have decided that it is good to take some time at the end of the day to not focus on the challenges of Haiti. I am not a person who goes out to places and thought that these luxuries would be a good way to relax. I didn’t use Coram Deo funds to make these purchases or for the exercise equipment purchases. I never thought I’d see the day when I could watch Hockey Night in Canada here in Haiti but this will now be a reality as we can now watch the CBC!
We have been monitoring the progress of the storm on the weather channels from Florida and last night they had an entire program on Isaac and the storm is still far from Florida! One point of advice was to remove the coconuts from the trees as these could be flying projectiles during a storm. I told the children about this and they elected Reginald to climb the coconut palms and remove the coconuts this morning. This is our effort at improving safety in our community in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac. Pray for Haiti, especially for those who live in low-lying areas. Flooding is always a possibility during these storms.
The government is getting serious about the environment and the big garbage problem here in Port-au-Prince. Effective October 1st the government will be prohibiting the importation and marketing of polyethylene bags. The last few years small bags of water have been sold on the streets and the empty bags are dumped everywhere. These bags are not biodegradable and can take 400 years to degrade. It is common for Haitian cooks to use a black garbage bag to cover a large pot of rice. Marie, our cook insists that these black garbage bags help the rice to cook faster. It is great that the government is now educating the people that this cooking practise is wrong and unhealthy. As a foreigner it is difficult to make changes to a culture but a Haitian president sure can create a change fast! The government is also banning Styrofoam packaging as well. In the canals and on the streets of Port-au-Prince, Styrofoam and plastic are everywhere! Pray for these changes. They are good changes for the country and the government is leading to establish these changes.
In March 2013 a green energy project costing $250 million US$ will be started. International Electric Power is an American company that will be building an energy –from-waste plant on land provided by the Haitian government, 10km north of Port-au-Prince. 30 megawatts of electricity will be generated by converting garbage into energy. 2,000 tons of garbage is generated each day in Port-au-Prince. The company is planning to collect all the garbage from the streets of Port-au-Prince and truck it to the plant. Effective March 15, 2015, Port-au-Prince will finally have a way to dispose of garbage in a good way!
Our exercise/living room is being well used! The exercise bicycle, treadmill, gym set, abs roller and weights are getting good use. Last night it was 8:00pm and supper hadn’t been started yet. One of the older guys had to make supper and he enjoyed the exercise room so much that supper was delayed. We now have a new rule for the exercise room.... all chores including supper need to be done before the exercise room is open :)
I came back from Canada with a digital video projector so that we can host a community cinema. Christian and children’s programs will be shown on Fridays once the school year starts. This digital video projector will also be useful for parent meetings and also for the clinics that are held here.
Floridalaine is a young girl who was born with congenital cataracts. She lives with her family in the mountains of Kenscoff. Yesterday we brought her to the eye clinic at General Hospital to see if they will do surgery to remove these cataracts. Pray that a solution can be found to improve her sight and that surgery can be performed.
Johnny Jean was one of 24,000 people to write the exams for entrance into the police academy. The results were posted and he wasn’t selected. He really wants to be a police officer. I am praying that one day he can achieve his dream of being a policeman or in the Haitian military. In the meantime he loves working out in the exercise room in his spare time. This week the guys saw the police at work on our streets. They were sitting out front of the house chatting on the street when a police car drove to the corner, stopped, and a policeman descended from the vehicle. He shot in the air 2 times and then got back inside. That made everyone jump. Manu decided it would be best to go to bed. It is great to have policemen as curfew enforcers :) There have been some problems with street crime in the neighbourhood. Sadly one of the guys we helped after the earthquake is involved. Junior has been stealing cell phones, chargers and other items from people and then tries to re-sell them. Pray for Junior to leave his life of crime. The police were shooting in the air to let thieves know they were in the area.
We have been getting good electricity lately. For most of the day we have electricity and only use the invertor for the evenings. For the last 6 months though the electricity line on our street has been sagging and is now just below the barbed wire on our walls. We have contacted EDH several times requesting them to come out and fix their line. Pray that they will eventually come out and fix it. Yesterday afternoon, around 4:00pm we heard a bang and then there was no more electricity. We figured that a transformer blew but the cause was something worse. In the Cite Aux Cayes area, a man was on the roof attempting to steal electricity. I don’t know if he tried to connect to a high tension wire but the ending was not good for him. He was burnt from head to toe and taken to the hospital. I don’t think he survived his injuries. Regulating electricity is also a big task for the government to get control of. People are constantly stealing electricity from the lines and sometimes dying in the process of their quest for electricity.
That’s all the news for today. We are preparing for a stormy weekend! Have a good storm-free weekend.
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo