Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Journey continues

When Thomas stepped out of the car and into the bustling main hall, little arms grabbed his legs reaching out for the loving that volunteers invariably shower on the children. Fortunately, they come on a regular basis.  For Thomas Robinson, it had been three years since his first visit and he is still wearing the bracelets made by Mano or Kervens. From that first moment on, he spent his days, holding one baby or another, kicking soccer balls, teaching English , supervising craft activities and sharing game filled moments with all those that reached out to him. On his previous visit, there were only forty some beds, no running water, no bathrooms for the children and only thirty dishes which meant that the children had to eat in shifts.

For our One Special Day: the major meal of the day had in addition to the very generous portion of rice and beans, meat, vegetables and mangoes for dessert. We also bought three pools for the littler ones.  

 This time again, we rewarded best students, best caretakers of little ones, members of the band for their efforts, most helpful, best paintings and most creative young Fenel for his initiative of making a drum.


Fostering micro-entreprises.
_ RVH funded a start up in the slum of Cite Soleil. The mother of three of the children at the Foyer has been living in a tiny shack unable to find a job. She came the day before I left to show me the manicure/pedicure kit we facilitated her getting. There was joy and hope in her voice when she showed me all her supplies. She will offer her services in a section of PaP where women can afford them. It is not unusual for women to get home manicures. Marielande will report to Maud every other weeks to get the mentoring she needs to hopefully start a better life.

_ We are continuing in our support and mentoring of Fenel, whose little shop we have help start, is doing a balancing act since responsible for the care of his eleven year old sister and going to vocational training for metallic structural work run by Terre des Hommes Switzerland. He is excelling in the practical aspect of the training but struggling with the theories. In the evening he runs his stall and sells basic necessities. He will be entering twelve grade in the fall, is anxious to finish and start working full time. RVH is helping him with a grant for half his rent for a year. On weekends he goes to the Foyer and helps repair what is broken. RVH would like to help him purchase soldering equipment so he can find work once he graduates in November.

Manje Lakaye”, the restaurant that opened in March is now managed by a young woman whose children attend the Foyer’s school and who caught Maud’s attention, because she was unemployed and desperately trying to find a job to support her family. She is using the boom box that RVH had brought down in March to facilitate evenings of music and dancing.  The business is slow, with irregular customers but it has only been opened four months and might need time to establish itself. The neighborhood seems to have developed a few other businesses since the last time I was there, which is encouraging. 
ABC mini-market with Bully as manager opened its doors in March 2016. We are very proud to follow the progress of the hard working young man who is regularly sending reports and is being mentored by Andy Robinson who provided the seed money for this whole sale start-up. We are seeking the additional investment of $ 1,200 to facilitate Bully fixing a truck for deliveries and to invest in a larger inventory.  We see the potential for growth and significant income for Bully and his future family.

Future plans:
_ A Teacher Training workshop scheduled for the last two weeks in August is all set to go. Thanks to the generosity of RVH supporters, funding has been obtained to pay for the airfare and stay at the Foyer of Madame Claire Beauvais whose field of expertise in France is elementary school teacher training and who has extensive experience working with schools in Haiti. Eight teachers with their directors will attend this workshop and get paid while they do so. This should give a strong head start to the new school year. 

Next goal is to find funding for an after school tutor that could supervise a few hours of homework everyday as well as online English instruction.  A budget of $ 160 a month is sought for the duration of the school year. $ 1,600

The purchase of a Taptap minivan would facilitate transportation of children to the schools where special training or events take place.  RVH has $ 6,000 already but is looking for another $ 11,000 to purchase a vehicle in good condition.

_ Maud’s next goal is to rent a portion of land next to the Foyer to increase production of vegetables and spices not only for the Foyer’s consumption but also to be sold either at a local market or to other orphanages.  RVH will look for a volunteer who could come start this project and train some of the children in basic agriculture. We will look to fund a trainer’s salary, tools, field rental and seeds.

_ Looking for sponsors for the children that don't have one, volunteers to teach English, micro-entreprise, to mentor young adults and to make short video clips of success stories.

Without the help and generosity of the friends of Rendez-vous: Haiti, none of this would be possible. It is a journey : a journey of solidarity and hope. Thank you.