Sunday, November 3, 2013

Let’s Start a Music School! Go Team!

As promised, here is post number two this weekend to tell you about the preparation going on with the music school and my other little adventures!  

During my first week back in Cap-Haïtien, I was given the time to get settled in the new apartment and learn about the city.  My fellow missionary and roommate, Kyle has been living in Cap for a few months and has been extremely helpful in getting me acquainted with my new home.  We were all over the place in my first few days to meet people, see places, and get a few more things for the apartment.  As you can see, I was short a pillow and had the joy of carrying it down the streets of Cap (every taxi and moto thought I needed a ride!).

On my first Friday back in Haiti, myself, Kyle, Bishop Ogé and Serette drove out to Terrier Rouge to visit St. Barnabus, the Episcopal agricultural school.  They were having a graduation, so as expected my flute skills can in handy.  It was a wonderful ceremony and it was nice to see many of the priests from the northern region again.

My second Monday back I was hard at work with the music school.  As I have explained, I have been relocated to Cap-Haïtien to assist the northern region of the Diocese of Haiti with starting a music program.  Eight Episcopal schools and three villages were donated band instruments from the NGO, Food for the Poor.  Now that the schools have instruments, my job this year is to help provide administrative structure to the program and to train the music teachers at each site.  The sticky notes on this map that hangs in my office shows all the different locations of the schools and where I lived last year.   

This means that I not only work here in Cap-Haïtien, but I also travel to these other locations to meet in person with the priests, school administrations, and music teachers.  My first visit which covered three of the sites, Port-de-Paix, Gros-Morne, and Gonaïves were planned a little sooner than I had anticipated.  This led to long hours, and as you can see from the pic my co-worker took I was just a little worn out (I promise I was just resting my eyes)!

Along with the preparation for the music school, I did have the chance to do a fun trip one day.  About an hour outside of Cap-Haïtien lies the town of Millot.  My co-worker has family in this area, so we took a trip to visit them.  It was a lot of fun because it was the first time I really got to experience Haitian country life.  While there I was asked if I wanted to see the “garden,” to be completely honest I would call it a jungle.  All sorts of great things were growing there including chadek, cocoa, plantains, coffee beans, and bananas.  

After our walk through the “garden,” I also had the opportunity to try my very first coconut.  It was delicious!  The whole trip was a lot of fun and wonderful way to get some fresh air away from my office.  I also really enjoyed experiencing a very different side of Haitian life that I didn’t see last year.  Music school preparation continued throughout the week and in my next post I’ll tell you all about my first trip to do teacher training!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Last Week in the US and Back to Haiti Round Two!

Hello from Haiti again!  I realize that it has been awhile since my last post and I thank all of my supporters back home in the states for your patience!  I must apologize for my silence on the Haitian front; my internet situation is a little more challenging this year.  Of course though, I will do my best to catch you up on everything that’s happened.  So for this post let’s rewind to my last week in the United States and my travels back to Haiti.

As many of you know, thanks to the Episcopal Church Center and slight change to return date to Haiti, I was able to attend the reentry retreat in New York City.  The reentry retreat brings back all of the YASCers from the most recent year into one place to process our year of service and share stories.  The retreat is held at the Episcopal Church Center, also fondly known as “815.”  

I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to see everyone from my YASC class and loved hearing about everyone’s experiences.  Although each of us had our own unique experience, it was comforting and interesting to learn that we all experienced similar battles and triumphs.  Overall it was just wonderful to spend time with my fellow missionaries and the 815 staff.  

Upon returning from New York, I headed back out to Winchester to spend one last Sunday with Christ Church before flying to Haiti for another year.  After the service, members our youth group and other parish families all joined together to say goodbye to me in a very special way.  This is when I now admit that my favorite movie is Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, so for my send off we all saw Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.  Got to love my parish!!!

After spending all night packing (I really should learn how NOT to be a procrastinator), I hopped on the 5:55 am flight to Miami to then take the flight down to Port-au-Prince.  Travel this year was a piece of cake and I can’t tell you how good it felt to actually know some Creole at the airport!  After landing in Port-au-Prince, I then took a small regional flight up to Cap-Haïtien and was greeted at the airport by my fellow missionary and roommate Kyle Evans. 

My first evening was spent unpacking by head lamp (electricity goes out a lot more here).  I couldn’t resist showing you how much fun that is! 

It was a great way to arrive back in Haiti and as you can see, the view from my new place is stunning!  Thank you again to everyone for all of the prayers and support!  Come back soon, I promise there will be at least two more posts this weekend highlighting the adventures from this month.