Hi to all back home,
Doug, Kirk and I have had a very interesting time here in Haiti on this trip. We arrived on Friday without incident and had a good meeting with Frantz to organize Saturday. We then looked at 4 properties in Carrefour varying from $500,000 to $45,000, but all unsuitable. I felt a little like the fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears–this land is too small, this land is too expensive, or this land is too steep! This led to a discussion between an NGO rep for “Beehive” ,when I went to the hospital, who informed me there was abundant land located in the countryside for free. After discussing this with Frantz, it became apparent that the desires of the Bastien family had changed to include the requirement to keep the orphanage in Carrefour!!!
We then returned to the orphanage, where the Pajama Jams from Erin and Tony and the girls in Canada, harvest of pj’s was shared with the kids much to their delight. The temp was about 90 outside and much warmer in the orphanage which failed to deter the kids enthusiasm for keeping the pj’s on most of the day. They were ecstatic with the new gifts and soon soccer balls and the basketball were careening off the walls of the orphanage.
To attempt to have a clear understanding of the desires/needs of the family, we had a meeting with all of the Bastien family and soon learned that they did feel strongly that they did NOT want to leave Carrefour for a number of reasons. After crunching the numbers, it became apparent that the ability to become self-sufficient by running the school was not practical. At this point, a weight of despair was upon all three of us as we contemplated what to do next. A lengthy discussion occurred amongst the 3 of us late into the evening to consider all of the possibilities with the final decision being made to go to Jacmel the next day (today) and at least look at this property. I must say many prayers were said last night and on the road to Jacmel today. Upon arriving there we turned into a gravel road, picked up a gentleman who would guide us tho the land and then drove ahead to turn around the car. As we stopped to turn around I looked at the land were next too and thought to myself, “this spot would be perfect”. We then drove forward about 50 feet and Frantz said “we are here”. Sure enough this spot seems to be perfect! Frantzcesse accompanied us on this trip and it was great to see her light up. Almost immediately Frantz told me that she loved it at which point I queried him as to what about Mama. He replied that if Frantcesse liked it, mama would like it. We will give all of you details when we return, but it became immediately obvious to me that this was the spot we were to be. The price is fair, the spot is great and has MANY possibilities for us to provide much more than only a school and orphanage–details to follow.
We then visited the beach, had great beach fair, had a great celebratory swim and headed back to Carrefour. On the way we stopped at the hospital in Jacmel to check out the services and I was able to make preliminary contact with the ortho surgeon there. The possibilities seem to be endless as we now sit back at the hotel having a hopeful victorious Prestige!! And YES, upon return to the orphanage Mama said if Frantzcesse liked it she was also all for it.
Yesterday I was able to test the orphanage water with the chlorine test kit we got from Randy Van Dyke and found the water tested safe. The food for the kids has been stored up so that now Mama has been able to increase the stores of rice, spaghetti, corn meal, etc. They have even built a storeroom. They have added on a 2d level at the back of the property over the big boys sleep room, that is now Mama’s penthouse. All in all, this was one of the most joyful days I have had (with the exception of meeting Barb and the birth/arrival of our kids). We will be meeting Eric from Architects for Humanity tomorrow and will show him the photos of the property.
More info to follow. Thanks for all of your support and prayers!
Rick, Doug and Kirk
PS We have to sign off now-Doug wants to get his spaghetti and ice cream.