Thursday, June 30, 2011

Seven Weeks and Counting

Haiti Update June 29, 2011

Haiti may not be in the headlines everyday now, but it is certainly in the forefront of our thinking. Susan and I will leave for Haiti in just about seven weeks. There is so much to do still. Because the five hour drive home from Los Angeles is just too much to take after a week in Haiti we will be flying out of Fresno this year. To us the additional airfare seems well worth the four hours less drive time home. This will be a real treat. We’ll leave Fresno on Sunday August 14th to Fort Lauderdale, spend the night near the airport and fly out early Monday morning to Port-au-Prince. Our return flight will be on Monday the 22nd. Both Susan and I were hoping to stay longer this year and scheduling conflicts put an end to that thought. While in Port-au-Prince we are hoping to get a tour of the University and to see some of the reconstruction progress that has been made over the last year. When we are in Port-au-Prince it will have been 19 months since the earthquake struck. We are hoping, but not holding our breath, that there has been some serious work done on rubble removal and reconstruction within the city. It has been a painfully slow process.

Because of everyone’s generous donations over the last year we will be taking three times the school supplies that we delivered last year. We’ve also been able to send more funds for additionally needed desks and school uniforms. We also plan to purchase textbooks on this trip. Pastor Carsel has told us that next school year he is expecting close to two hundred students. We will again spend some time with the folks at Haiti Outreach in planning for the water well to be drilled. We believe we may be able to accomplish this goal without grants from Rotary International. This will speed up the completion date for the well and free up grant funds for future projects. Over this last year we have had numerous people that have expressed interest in making future trips with us to Haiti. To this end Susan and I will be exploring housing options in Pignon that would be suitable for taking small groups with us. Stay tune for more on this. We are excited about sharing the experience and there is nothing that comes close to seeing things in person.

There is so much more to share with you all but this is enough for now. Susan and I both are so thankful for the support and encouragement you all have shared with us. We feel truly blessed to be given the opportunity to help out in this way. The friends we’ve met and experiences we’ve had through the work of Be the Power of One has enriched our lives far greater than anything we’ve done for others. Thank you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting Closer to August

We had a great conversation with Pastor Carsel the other day regarding our upcoming trip to Pignon. Looks like this year Susan and I will have two teaching assignments with the main focus on English language skills. As we did last year, we'll be teaching the primary school age students ages 3 to 13yrs. What is new for this year is that we'll have a class of students 18 yrs. and older. We are not sure if the two classes are at different times of the day or if each of us will teach one class alone. This will be quite a challenge. Our respect and admiration continues to grow for all the teachers out there. Susan and I are both very touched and amazed at the number of people who are stepping forward to help with Be the Power of One. We put the word out and you all continue to make things happen. The level of commitment and contributions people continue to make is a real testament to all that is good in the world. Our local Rotary Clubs and the District office have contributed financial support, donated high quality fruit and vegetable seeds and continue to supply school supplies. Our friends Beth and Art at Rhythm and Hues Studios along with daughter Lauren are planning a July reception in Los Angeles to introduce Be the Power of One to friends and co-workers. Things just keep on moving! Many times Susan and I will comment to each other about how this has taken on a life and momentum of its own. It will be quite a ride. Huge THANKS to you all for your help and interest in this project.

P.S. We are looking for a creative, French speaking person to design English/French flashcards. Know anyone??