"Parish the Thought" Blog
- Written by David Puckett
Since Gary, Don and I made a trip to Haiti in July I've gotten a bit of grief for not doing any blogging. I'm never sure if anyone actually reads the stuff, but just in case I'll try to provide some updates on our adventures! A bit of background ... When Gary, Jack Lydon, Bob Glaser and I came in March, the primary Tek4Kids objective was to set up a classroom at St Terese Montesori school. Jack and I also found time to meet with Fr Marc-Arthur, Pastor of Cathedral St Louis, regarding a project to repair a building where they feed the "neediers" - homeless people in Jeremie. I think we had some pictures and dialog in the March blogging.
When Gary and Don Kavanaugh returned in May, a meeting with the Bishop of Jeremie resulted in an offer of access to the third floor of a building that is part of the Sacred Heart College ... which is actually a group of several buildings for pre-school, elementary and high school enviornments. Gary has been wanting to develop an advanced technical environment to prepare students for better job opportunities, so that was a surprise blessing!
Then in July, Gary, Don and I spent most of our energy in initial stages of preparing the third floor space ... actually 6 rooms that require electrical and network wiring. Don and I did find a short time to meet with Deacon Jean-Rony of Catheral St Louis to reiterate the committment of the Cathedral of the Assumption to provide the repairs. We found there was actually another project underway in the Rectory space that was delaying the work we hope to do.
So, now it's September! And as we're leaving, Louisville is about to have a taste of fall weather and we're heading into the Caribean heat and high humidity. Pray for the battery power to last all night so we can have fans to move the water laden air.
Travel to Haiti with Tek4Kids is inevitably preceded by planning meetings and suitcase packing parties ... well party ain't exactly the right image, more of a chaotic juggling of things into suitcases, with weighing every 10 minutes to make sure that each suitcase weighs just under 50 pounds! Over 50 pounds gets really expensive with the airlines! It's bad enough as it is ... $25 for the first checked bag, $40 for the second checked bag ... we generally travel with 2 checked bags per person .... plus our personal carry on bags and back packs.
On Friday, Gary and Cathy Boice, Rose Yumker and I are flying in to Jeremie. Rose will be staying for several months teaching remedial English and French to students.
On Saturday, Yemi Sulaimon, Bob Glaser and Eric Hoffman will be flying in. Yemi will be staying for a week to help set up the network teaching lab. Eric will be staying for several months with Rose teaching French and English to several Tek4Kids staff personnel, writing teaching documentation and creating some video material.. Bob will be working with me to finish up a lot of the network wiring, cameras, network equipment.
Gary, Cathy, Bob and I will be staying for 2 weeks.
As I wrap this up, we've just had supper, hoping the city power comes on to charge the batteries.
To all a good night.
- Written by David Puckett
Thursday - We are home!
It was a good trip. All the connections clicked ... in fact, Roger arrived in his plane at Jeremie a few minutes before Fr Ernest got us to the Jeremie International Landing Strip. Sidenote: a UN Helicopter was landing when we arrived at the strip ... they make a big deal ... armed security vehicles and guards all around. No idea who the passenger was, but it was impressive!
Gary had lots of meetings with staff, teachers and school principals.
Electrical work at St Terese is complete.
We have the classroom at St Terese set up and it will be ready to go after some painting in the next day or so.
We have ideas for the technical school classroom sort of formulated.
We spent quality face time with Fr Marc-Arthur discussing needs at the St Louis Cathedral.
Mia feed us chicken, beans and rice, picklies (sort of a spicy cole slaw), egg dishes and fresh fruit (pineapples, grapefruits, oranges).
Had a few issues with water, power and the Internet connection ... Bob couldn't get a live stream for the UK game. By the time UofL played Friday we were all resigned to the periodic score updates.
As always it was good to spend time with the people we have worked with in the past and meet new Tek4Kids teachers. Also spent time with James who is a pretty good interpreter and part time helper with construction jobs.
Our prayers and blessings continue to be directed toward the people of Haiti, particularly those in Jeremie.
- Written by David Puckett
It's now Friday night in Jeremie! Hard to say TGIF!
Jack and I met with Fr Marc-Arthur Emile of Cathedral St Louis on Wednesday morning. We are trying to find a way to rehab the building in which they feed street people 3 days each week. He has several projects, most all of which require lots of money!
Jack has had email correspondence with Fr since last fall and it was good to meet him and talk ... with an interpreter of course.
Passion\Palm Sunday will be a new experience ... Mass begins at 7:00 AM at St Therese Montessori. We will process from there to the cathedral with palms. Mass here is typically 2+ hours ... this may well be 4-5 hours.
Today we were at St Therese preparing things for the computer classroom. The German group that added the second floor classrooms did a fine job.
The computer class room has a light open feel to it. The kids were out of school today, but from the singing we heard they must have been practicing for Sunday. And then Fr Marc-Arthur popped in to say Hi. He seems reserved but very interested in things going on.
Typically while we are here power is an issue. So far this week power has been good ... that means fans run all night! But then we've had water issues. Seems like there is a running toilet ... maybe even two. Wednesday and Friday we came in to find no water for showers! We think there are 2 toilets that are culprits. Needless to say, we will be checking closely after each flush! When the tanks on the roof are dry, we have to fire up the generator to pump water from a well to the tanks on the roof. Gary and I have been doing some creative repair work! Hope it holds! Had to send for diesel fuel the first time. When we've been out sweating all day and then climb the hill coming back to the house ... a cool shower is the quickest way to get right! Although a sort of cold bottle of Prestige is always good after work, a cool shower before the beer is much better!
We've been working with some teachers to help with their technical matters, conducting site surveys at the various schools where Tek4Kids has water treatment, battery & inverter equipment and computer classrooms, along with the prep work for the computer room at St Therese.
Last night, Bob Glaser was dead set on watching the UK game via the Internet. Things didn't work out and Bob thinks there may have been a conspiracy on the part of an unnamed UofL supporter who is involved with providing the network access. Tonight we are getting the scores of the UofL game like last night ... so Bob is a bit less suspicious! Looks like UK and UofL are both in the Elite Eight!
I hope to add some pictures later, my eyes are tired and getting this much done is about all I can do tonight.
Peace to all, David
- Written by David Puckett
Palm Sunday in Jeremie
About 3:00 AM a rather rambunctious thunderstorm decided to enhance the atmosphere. Lots of torrential rain, several claps of thunder that cause one to reflect on one's actions. Not to be deterred, Jack, Bob and I decided to head for St Therese school shortly before 7:00 AM. The rain was down to just a light sprinkle. Gary was going to follow 15 minutes later.
Things didn't start at 7:00 and that's not unusual, but the experience of participating in the blessing of the palms and the procession to the cathedral brought tears to my eyes.
As predicted, it was long ... Benediction was about 10:30, but it was a blessing to participate.
May we all rejoice in God's unconditional love and mercy!
Not to complain, But today the 24th. Is my birthday so we start work at 7:15am. One good thing it is not as hot as it could be.
After a morning of mapping out projects Dave and I returned to St. Therese School, you never go to the same place only once in the same day. There are always reasons to go back and forth. Sort of like a home project thinking only one trip to Home Depot will do. I am always in awe as I watch Dave work on a project. He thinks everything through and always comes up with a solution and makes things happen. Having me there is a sort of Lenten penance for him. (Dave adding ... most of the time, aside from needing multiple visits to the supply store, the solutions have to be rather creative ... not the right tool, broken drill bit, 2x4's that really are 2" x 4" that are too thick for many things we do. And Jack's wry wit always brings my sweaty head back into perspective ... irrespective of Lenten penance for either of us!)
We have been here two days and have witnessed a second funeral. There is a procession through the city with hymns and the mourners following the casket. A touching site that brings the suffering to reality and really part of the community. Tomorrow the 25th. We are going to witness the feeding of the homeless community at St. Louis. Another witness of the two Cathedrals so far apart in distance and resources but striving to be disciples of Jesus.
It is almost dinner time and having primed myself with a couple bottles of Prestige it is time to bid good night and thank the Lord for a good birthday and having a very small part in the work of the Lord.