Dental Work at a Reasonable Price

A Spanish Dentist and three eager student dentists arrived in Jean Rabel on Friday to offer the local people dental treatment at very reasonable prices.

They will be here living in Kay Klodin and working in the local clinic each day for over 2 weeks and are expected to treat a large number of people.

Dental Costs

     Dental Costs

 

Here are the costs for routine dental treatments for the people of Jean Rabel during the stay of the Spanish Dentists.

Ignacio treating one of the patients

Ignacio treating one of the patients

Here Ignacio is treating a patient.

 

 

 

For 17 days a group of 3 Spanish Dental students worked 6 days a week in the Dental Clinic in Jean Rabel, treating close to 150 patients in total.

Maria, Victor and Ignacio under the tutelage of Dentist Carlos Gracia-Soler undertook abstractions, teeth cleaning and reconstruction work on those who presented themselves each day. They brought lots of equipment with them from Spain to carry out the work and enjoyed the experience o f helping so many people despite the many difficulties they encountered onsite. Initially there was a problem with the compressor which had to be fixed in order for them to carry out their professional work to the standard they wished.

Carlos treats a patient while Maria and Victor look and learn.

Carlos treats a patient while Maria and Victor look and learn.

Next was a problem with the dental chairs which caused them untold stress as it meant they couldn’t always have the patient at the optimal height for comfort. And then to top it all off, a problem with the water supply reared its head 2 days before they were due to leave and head back to Spain to continue their dental studies.

 

But they took the upsets in their stride and even managed to see a little bit of Haiti while they were here, visiting the beaches at Môle-Saint-Nicolas and Bord-de-Mer at weekends.

 

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Home Alone!

I had the opportunity to visit a newly built home in Jean Rabel about 2 weeks ago and was really impressed with the location and the beautiful garden it offered its owners. The garden already has a year-long supply of mangos from the well established trees that shelter the front of the house, making it an ideal spot for relaxation or play for the two young girls living in the house.

The family has already moved in and the only furniture I saw while viewing the house was a large dining table and chairs. In the children’s bedroom there was one single bed which the girls shared; there was no sign of any bed for the parents in their room. I wondered where exactly they sleep, but perhaps like so many Haitians, maybe they are content to sleep on the floor. The floor by the way is made of concrete and I doubt very much if any covering will be installed any time soon. There was no kitchen or a place to keep food or crockery, that I saw. All the cooking will be done outside using charcoal, so this does away for the need of a cooker and an electricity supply.

The toilet is housed in an outhouse, the weather is hot or warm all year round so there is no need for plumbing for heat or a water supply, they use the local river water which is pumped through a canal which runs very close to the house.

The only storage I noticed was a ‘wheelie bin’ which held much of the children’s clothes and a suitcase or two which most likely was used for the parent’s clothes.

The walls were still in their rough concrete state and might remain so for a lifetime. But the owner of this particular house was truly content that his home was now almost finished and he could now enjoy living there.

What struck me most was the fact that his two young girls, perhaps about 4/5 years of age and 6/7 years of age were just sitting on a low wall at the entrance to the site when we arrived and were happy to go back to the same location when we left, waving their dad goodbye,

Typical home in Haiti

             Typical Haitian Homes

homes in haiti2

they were home alone, but not unsafe, I felt, as there were other householders nearby, going about their daily tasks of washing in the canal, preparing food or tending their gardens. These two little girls were part of that community and by   assumption, therefore, were cared for while their parents were out at work!

Homes in haiti

 

 

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Summer Camps for all!

Every summer during July and August a number of Spanish volunteers arrive in Jean Rabel and help out at summer camps for the children.

This year Beatrice arrived on 7th July with Gabrielle and Maria arriving on the 12th and their enthusiasm to get going at the camps was infectious.

Once the preliminaries were out of the way the girls simply got on with the task of planning fun activities for the children in Colette and those from the immediate vicinity of Jean Rabel itself.

Along with Middia, a Religious Sisters of Jesus and Mary Postulant, they entertained up to 100 children each day with two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

In between the two sessions they also assisted Naza with her work in the Atelyer where beautiful handmade crafts are created by 25 local women, often using recycled material to create useful accessories, jewellery and home-wares such as aprons, handbags, pencil cases, lap-top bags, cards for all occasions, wall-hangings and ear-rings.

Beatrice is a final year student of Pharmacy in Madrid, Gabrielle has just finished a degree in Engineering and Maria teaches kindergarten, both in Seville, Naza’s home town. Middia is Haitian and has completed a degree in the Science of Education in Port-au-Prince. She came to Jean Rabel to improve her Spanish while the Spanish girls were here before she heads off to the Religious Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Cuba in the coming weeks.

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Voodoo

Since coming to Haiti I have heard a little about Voodoo. It seems to be still very much in vogue here among everyday Haitians, who put a lot of store in practitioners and what they have to say.

I haven’t come across it personally but the night before I left Jean Rabel to travel home to Ireland (23rd July), I was awake all night. There was music and chanting going on the whole night, with the noise coming at me from the near distance.

Voodoo paraphernalia in the Marche en Fer, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Voodoo paraphernalia in the Marche en Fer, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

I was aware of it but it didn’t really register with me as to what it actually was. I was just aware of noise going on in the distance and I just wished it would stop so I could get to sleep.

The following morning Sr. Nazareth said she hadn’t had a good sleep either and put it down the Voodoo ritual that had been going on the whole night long not far away.

It’s a funny thing here in Haiti that it presents itself as very much a Christian country with references to Christianity everywhere, but yet on the grapevine you come to realise that even practicing Christians in some cases are also practitioners of Voodoo.

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End of Class Presentation of Certificates

Last Friday and Saturday 10 students who have been attending our classes in Jean Rabel received

Week long IT class in Jean Rabel

Week long IT class in        Jean Rabel

certificates having completed courses in Libre Office Text and Libre Office Calc. On Friday the group, mostly teachers Colette, completed a week long course in these subjects which will help with administration and organisation of their classes and the overall running of their preschool and primary school in Colette. Pictured here are Marie Elie, Charite, Altagracia, Erick, Louise and Amonise.

In the next picture are Rose, Veronique and Estaphanie who have been attending classes since the

2 months IT training in Jean Rabel

2 months IT training in     Jean Rabel

middle of May. These three ladies along with Marie Judith (pictured below) attend Atalyer Thevenet run by Sr. Nazareth in the town. They make beautiful craft and sewing items by hand and sewing machine and hope to learn how to use an electric sewing machine in the near future.

Marie Judith

Marie Judith

 

The IT skills they have learned over the past 14 twice-weekly classes will assist with the running of the Atalyer into the future.

Below here are 4 of the teachers from the school in Colette, Altagracia, Louise, Amonise and Marie Elie.IMG_0462 (1)

IMG_0467 (2)

 

IMG_0468 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Learning Kreyol

11th July 2016

Arriving in Haiti with little more than the French I left school with was not the best plan. I found it difficult to speak to people and only for Sr. Rose and Sr. Nazareth spoke to me in English, I really may have just as well gone back home again. I certainly would have found it impossible to fit in.

Learn Kreyol with You Tube

Gradually over the course of the past 3 months (almost) I am now beginning to understand some of what people say in Kreyol. It seems to be a bit like French alright although my Kreyol teacher (I simply had to find someone with whom I could practice – all other efforts were proving to be just too slow. I wanted to understand what was going on and be able to speak with people, even if it was simply to bid them the time of day), told me it was a mixture of French, Spanish, Latin and Greek.

[Read more…]

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Refugees, Illegal immigrants, People fleeing their country for a better life.

Such stories are always in the news and like most things in life there are at least 2 sides to every story – if not as many stories as there are illegal immigrants.

Each person has a unique story to tell.

But do we want to listen? Do we want to hear what they have to say? Do we care about others’ dilemmas? Or are we so caught up in our own little worlds and lives that the plight of others goes over our heads.

Here in Haiti, an island country, mostly surrounded by water, efforts to leave everything they know and set sail for a better life are ongoing.

[Read more…]

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A Guiding Star

As summer continues and school is out here in Northwest Haiti all those involved in the six schools where the Religious of Jesus and Mary (locally known as Sé Rose e Sé Na) are involved are looking forward to the coming school year, when each of the 600 children attending these schools will receive a brand new school bag.

guiding star school bag

[Read more…]

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Long Awaited Computer Training at last!

New Technology in Colette, Jean Rabel, Northwest Haiti.

Getting to grips with computer basics

All concentration!

From 27th June to 1st July, the teachers and friends of Deux Jesus School in Colette got to grips with basic computing skills using the brand new computers recently installed by Camara. Six students proudly     received certificates of completion having attended all lessons and gaining practical skills in text processing and spreadsheets which will help with future administration tasks and class planning in the school.

Summer school in computers for teachers in Colette

Teachers in Colette take on computer training

Rose Kerline Innocent, a student of a previous class ably assisted with explanations and Kreyol translation.

Below are the 7 people who completed a full week’s training in IT in Colette, Jean Rabel, NW Haiti.

Director of Deux Jesus School Mentil Joseph Michel, Derise Louis, Dorilus Veniel, William Benito, Vernot Jhonwalker and Supreme Rose Andre.

 

Teachers in Colette achieve Certificates in IT

Teachers in Colette achieve Certificates in IT

Jhonwalker Vernot

 Vernot Jhonwalker

 

Vernot Jhonwalker was so happy with his achievement he wanted an individual photo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Food for the Poor Arrived!

4th June 2016

Food for the Poor

           Food for the Poor arrives

I woke this morning to the sound of heavy vehicles manoeuvring in the yard downstairs at about 5.30 a.m. I knew what was happening; the truck we were expecting since Thursday had arrived with food for the poor. The driver was trying every which way to back it up as close as possible to the storage depot. I looked out and thought, ‘No, there’s no way it’s going to fit!’

Eventually the engine stopped and it was going to be opened where it was. There were quite a few men standing around and I thought, ‘News travels fast.’ They were certainly on the ball, ready to get the food on arrival.

[Read more…]

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Solar Power

Thought you might be interested in how things work here. This is a chemist shop in Jean Rabel. There is no electric light inside. Any electricity they have is generated from this solar panel outside the door!
Any phone shops or others that want electricity have a similar arrangement along the side of the street, generating their own electricity supply from the sun.

Solar Power

Solar Power

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Free Delivery

3rd June

New mattress bought locally

Free Delivery

This is how most large items are moved from place to place in Haiti. This man has most likely purchased a mattress and is just about to go into his home with it now, having carried it from the marketplace to his home, along the main street of Jean Rabel on his head.

That’s what you call ‘free delivery’.

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Hopital Notre Dame De La Paix

Hospital in Jean Rabel

Local Hospital in Jean Rabel

Primitive!

That’s how I had heard the local hospital here in Jean Rabel being described and having lived here now for a whole month I wasn’t expecting anything plush when it came to visit the hospital.

However, I was not prepared for what I experienced. We walked through the waiting area of what seemed to be the outpatients department to get to where inpatients were staying, as we were visiting a specific patient who had been admitted 2 days ago with malnutrition.

Our patient was a 4 year old boy from another area about a half-hour’s drive away who had attended our outreach mobile clinic. He didn’t look too bad, having been in hospital a couple of days now. He was out of bed and happy to chat with us. His mother was staying at the hospital with him and she had her youngest child with her, a 5 month old baby who she was breast-feeding.

[Read more…]

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2 weeks here!

14th May 2016

I’m in Haiti now 2 weeks and spent the last five days in Gros Morne, about 3 hours drive away. I had an eventful week, getting lifts to school and back on the back of a quad, along with two others. Matt, one of the volunteers currently living in Gros Morne with the Sisters of Jesus and Mary, Jackie and Pat, drove the quad while one of the teachers from the school and Geri another US volunteer and I got a lift on the back. It was my first time to ride on a quad and as the road surfaces are so bumpy I was hanging on for dear life! But the second day, I wasn’t quite so scared but held on tight just the same.

Matt said I’d probably find riding a motorbike taxi was actually easier but I’m not totally convinced.

[Read more…]

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First impressions of Haiti and Jean Rabel

 

The airport in Port au Prince was striking: its bare walls, lack of colourful advertisements, notices or placards enticing visitors to buy their wares, struck me forcibly being in stark contrast to most airports I have visited. Very few people were allowed into the arrivals hall to meet their loved ones and family and friends wait outside under a covered area.

A young man came muttering towards me gesturing that he would collect my bag, get me a taxi etc, but I was being met and didn’t need his services but found it difficult to ditch him. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful but really wanted him to leave me alone!

Thank God Sr. Rose arrived to greet me and was able to convince my ‘helper’ that we were OK and she knew what she was doing.

[Read more…]

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A week already!

Side view of my new home

New home!

6th May

Well, I’m here a week now in Jean Rabel, North West Haiti and it’s a busy place with lots happening. After a bit of a shock to the system on the first evening when visiting the ‘facilities’ on arrival, I have become quite settled and used to the cold shower (which has warm water if you wait till the afternoon to shower) and it’s so hot the cold shower is welcome! The toilets I thought would take a bit of getting used to, normal to look at but no flush on it, we just fill a bucket of water to flush down the toilet after use.

At this stage I’m well used to it and it’s not a problem!

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Dress to Impress!

7th May

Every day brings a new experience! Today we attended a funeral of a lady who lived quite close to where I’m staying and Sr. Rose and Sr. Nazareth (Naza) knew her.

Despite not being well off everyone who attended was dressed in their best clothes, much more respectable than generally seen at home! Looking at the congregation you certainly wouldn’t think the people were short of money, and there seemed to be a big coffin, which seemed to me to be spray-painted a lightish blue colour. The family of the lady who died were wealthy enough and one of the sons lives in Miami but had the body brought back to the home place for burial.

Just as well Rose and Naza had explained to me the ways of funerals in Haiti. The ‘wake’ goes on all night the night before, with lots of keening and howling and music, and we could here it right up to maybe 2 or 3 am as we’re close by. It was raining through the night and only for that the ‘wake’ may have gone on till morning.

At the funeral itself in the church the keening started again as soon as the priest finished the sermon, and spread among the womenfolk. Some of their singing drowned out the sound of the howling but not fully.

Afterwards a band leads the funeral procession to the cemetery which isn’t far away and the congregation walks behind, much keening and howling again, although the music is happy music and that’s important to the Haitians as they want to see their beloved ‘sent off’ happy!

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A day at the beach – Môle-Saint-Nicolas

 

Sunday, 15th we went to the beach, the exact location where Christopher Columbus landed when he discovered the Americas.

Mole-Saint-Nicolas

               Mole-Saint-Nicolas

It’s a little place called Môle-Saint-Nicolas and if it was anywhere else in the world I reckon it would be thronged with visitors, day-trippers and tourists on a Sunday, but not in Haiti.

Moll St. Nicholas, Northwest Haiti

A little piece of paradise founded by Christopher Columbus

It is a little cove where you can access a wonderful white sandy beach that leads to a most spectacular, turquoise, warm to the touch, tranquil sea.

I’ve never set out for a day at the beach at 8.00 a.m. before but due to heat later on that was the best time to go. It took us about an hour and a half to reach the beach, but it was well worth the journey – it’s a little paradise in the north west of Haiti and could be a gold-mine for entrepreneurs willing to set up shop in this location if access was better. As always in Haiti once you leave the immediate vicinity of a town, you have to navigate the rocky roads, rivers, mountains and pulverised surfaces to get to your destination.

[Read more…]

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Flag Day – Haiti

18th May was a national holiday here in Haiti; it is what they call Flag Day. And here in Jean Rabel the celebrations began the day before, with all the school children parading through the town to the sound of brass bands, drums and singing behind their flag of red, white and blue.

The Haitians love to sing and play music and can make a real celebration out of the little they have. Everyone was smiling, cheerful and proud on Flag Day, and rightly so, the Haitians have a lot to be proud of. Not only are they the first black nation to have declared themselves independent, in 1804, after tremendous abuse and slavery, they also have a determination and strength of character to persist and persevere in the most difficult of circumstances and tragedies that have occurred in the country since colonial times. [Read more…]

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Began Teaching the Ladies in the Workshop

Rose, Veronique and Benitha

Rose, Veronique and Benitha – the most dedicated ladies attending our computer classes in Jean Rabel

19th May: I began teaching the ladies in Sr. Naza’s workshop some basic computer skills today. I began with teaching them the basics of touch typing, as it was the easiest thing to do with not all the computers available being uploaded with the educational software we had received from Camara, an international charity that supplies old reconfigured computers to people throughout the world who otherwise wouldn’t have access to such technology.

The 6 ladies who came along showed great enthusiasm and a real interest in learning how to use the computers. Some I would say have had a little bit of experience but others haven’t. And in my very limited Creole, I got the impression from them that none of them was used to the Internet.

I believe once they get a grip on how to use these machines and see the potential for their own development through using them and with access to the Internet, their lives and those of their children will make steady progress. I certainly hope so!

They live in such a remote place here in Jean Rabel. Hopefully access to the Internet will be able to offer them a means they currently don’t have to make a living or augment their current income, which is very minimal.

These women deserve a chance to have access to opportunities currently afforded to us in the western world. One of the main things that restrict them at the moment is the lack of and cost of transportation infrastructure.

Currently, these ladies have no way to get their produce further afield than their local area – and they make beautiful hand-made goods and crafts in the workshop – the road system is really non-existent, taking at least a few hours to get to any of the nearest towns and 6 to 10 hours to the capital of Port-au-Prince, so exporting their wares is completely out of their reach.

But if they can progress in the area of computer office applications, perhaps there will be a way into the future where they can work from home or a designated area in Jean Rabel, for clients outside of the country. This would mean they could enjoy the good aspects of their local lifestyle and earn a decent income for themselves and their families.

This is the hope of the project here in Jean Rabel, that opportunities will increase and a better way of life will emerge for the youth of the area, where up to 50% of the population is under 16 years of age.

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