Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some random pix of Jeremie

There are paintings all over Haiti, particularly of celebrities. Here are a couple of American kids. I may not know who the kid is in the lower left, if not for Senatorial-hopeful Chris Murphy who tweeted about "Biebs" last year:This is the path that leads from my place to La Ville:A view of the neighborhood from the path that goes downtown. It's basically a neighborhood built upon the cliffs of a ravine that towers at least 75 feet from the base to the peak:Some quadraped transport:The local cemetary:A resident of the cemetary who wasn't too thrilled with my presence:Unfortunately, the cemetary doubles as a dump:One of my colleagues, Martha, with two kwash (malnourished) sweetie-pies at the Center of Hope:A view of the Jeremie beach:An abandoned ship at the Jeremie beach:The Education Ministry:Some of the rusted tin roofs of Jeremie:The ubiquitous "Digicel" sign. Digicel is one of the large cell phone service providers in Haiti:Some more random roofs:And one of the many churches:Tim White

A day in the life: Going farther afield

Since I finished my online studies at Connecticut's Charter Oak State College -- an experience I enjoyed -- I've been trying to get some exercise. Typically that means I go for a walk around Jeremie. But this week I decided that I needed to go farther afield and leave Jeremie proper.

With my successor, Amy, in tow, I headed for the farthest point I had previously walked and set forth beyond the confines of Jeremie's paved streets. The corner I visited today was the school we sponsor, St. Pierre School. You see it here in pastel orange at the bottom of the Haitian Cliffs of Dover:Our adventure to visit the peak of a nearby hill began simply enough. But we soon realized that crossing the river was more than meets the eye. With expansive flatlands surrounding the mouth of the river, I guessed the river was fairly shallow. How wrong I was. There was no walking across this river. And since we each had a camera -- and were still concerned about water-borne cholera -- we decided that it would be best to take the ferry across. And having haggled our ferry service price for two people from 100 gouds down to 50 gouds, we finally jumped in the boat.Across the river, down the beach and up the hill we went:Here's Amy enjoying the Haitian sun:And me also getting my share of cancer rays:Some flowers along the way:And some scenes you'll see play out across Haiti everyday. Daily life:Tim White

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A day in the life: Missionaries of Charity

In 1950, Mother Theresa founded the Missionaries of Charity. This morning I stopped by their Jeremie mission with a group of dental students from Temple University:The kids were adorable:Especially the one in red plaid. He wouldn't stop grabbing my arm. After all, it was a real live blanc he had in his grasp!Tim White

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A day in the life: Abricots beach

We had made it all the way from Jeremie to Anse du Clerk to the artisans enclave. We had seen Abricots from on high and we were now headed to Abricots beach!

After hiking from the artisan enclave to sea level, Amy and Martha led the way through a cemetary:

Behold the beach!Which doubles as a handy dandy fishing port for boats that are both constructed:and carved:Aside from the obviously necessary retainer wall that spanned part of the beach, I thought this beach and cove couldn't get much nicer:As the day wore on, the trading boats began arriving froom the rivers near Jeremie. They collect goods along the rivers, then set sail for Abricots -- and further west in Dame Marie -- drop anchor in the cove, then walk their goods ashore to be sold to the throngs awaiting their arrival:Before too long, the entire Merchant Marine Armada had arrived:After a dip in the warm, turquoise waters, Martha and Ed couldn't help engaging a crowd of the local ti mouns (translates as little people or kids). They were singing He's Got the Whole World in His Hands for probably ten minutes. So much fun that I had to run out of the water and snap a few shots:What they really seemed to enjoy though was when I joined them and added my own Haitian Kompas dance to spice it up! But I made sure there was no photographic evidence of my tomfoolery!

Tim White

Monday, March 19, 2012

The artisans enclave in Abricots

March 17, 1012 - Abricot, Grand Anse, Haiti

The beach of Abricots was not the first stop for Martha, Ed, Amy and me. Our first destination was the local artisan shop, Projet Indiens. Both a craft school and a craft store, we wanted to visit it both for our own interest and for work.
The Director of the school wasn't there when we arrived, but we had only emailed her two days prior. And in these here parts, two days is nothin' for email. Nonetheless, the French and Congolese -- who were visiting her in this artisan enclave tucked into the hills -- were very hospitable, inviting to take a load off and enjoy her petit commune.

As we entered the main building, you can't help notice the view... including the cannons from the French colonial days:

Then I wandered about, noting the views from the open-air windows:The ironwork display art:My friends, Ed and Amy, chatting with our new friend from Congo. Coincidentally, our Congolese friend and Martha had both spent several years in the small town of Bongo, Chad.Never thrilled with seeing caged wildlife, I still enjoyed seeing my first Hispaniolan Amazon in Hispaniola. They've extirpated from Jeremie.It was a lovely view from the porch of this French Riviera / South Pacific Tiki fusion home:The grounds were filled with tropical birds:and tropical flowers:And the artwork was everywhere. Whether it was the colored glass globe or classic Haitian bowls:These bowls are made from some type of gourd that grows on the local trees. People don't eat the gourds that grow to a substantial size. (I've seen them nearly 18" in diameter.) Rather, they use the hardwood shells for bowls and carve lovely designs on the outside.After an hour or so, we left and began the descent to Abricots beach. This is Amy leading the way down the fairly steep path:

Tim White

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Anse du Clerk and the approach to Abricot

March 17, 1012 - Abricot, Grand Anse, Haiti

I've been in Jeremie, Grand Anse, Haiti for about a year and a half now. But I really haven't seen much of my temporary home. The reality is that for the first 14 months I was here, I spent most of my time working to achieve my next goal in life: environmental grad school.

In that time I've taken four classes: Statistics 101, Chemistry 101, Earth Science 101 and Environmental Science 201. I got As in all four classes. And I got a not unrespectable 680 on the GMAT. In order for me to achieve that, I needed a great deal of study time. How much study time? I describe it as somewhere between giving-up-all-aspects-of-my-non-work-life and my-colleagues-thought-I-was-hibernating.

Regardless, around Christmas 2011 this butterfly moth finally emerged from its cocoon and began experiencing the sights and sounds -- the waves and whooshes -- of the Caribbean, Grand Anse style! I'm glad I did. There are some really beautiful beaches in southwest Haiti. Beaches of which much of the Caribbean would be jealous -- if they only knew....

Yesterday I continued my adventures by passing through Anse du Clerk (Clerk Beach), before getting to Abricots beach. It was a group adventure organized by Martha Reynolds. Joining Martha and me were Martha's husband, Ed, and my successor as Chief Beancounter, Amy.

We made a pitstop and caught our first glimpse of Anse du Clerc. I love these one-lane, dirt roads. At times I wondered how even a four-wheel-drive could pass them:Slightly up ahead, you can see a man who was vigorously working to expand the "road" so that it was passable. At several points on the road, including here, I wondered how two-axle vehicles could ever pass? I'm guessing that this section of road may have experienced a collapse at some point because even with this widening, it was barely wide enough for our narrow pickup truck to cross this stretch:Despite the fact that the sailboats were filled with Earth-denuding charcoal bound for Port-au-Prince:The mountaintop vistas of Anse du Clerc bay were beautiful:Moving at about 5mph much of the way, we eventually got past Anse du Clerc and began the final ascent over more mountains and descent toward Abricots through more rugged terrain:Before getting to the vehicle-friendly, cement-paved roads of Abricots:

Tim White