Here we are in May, with about a month remaining in our ten-month stay. We're scheduled to fly out of Ranquitte on the 14th, and out of Port-au-Prince on the 15th. We'll spend a day in PAP doing some paperwork (more details below...), then arrive in Detroit, MI, USA on the evening of the 15th. We'll spend a few days in Bowling Green reconnecting with family before heading back to Ft. Thomas, KY on the 18th or so. Hope so see many of you very soon!
|The "100 biosand filters program" (described in the previous hellos) is now
underway. We've got two dozen filters on campus, and a dozen installed
(tomorrow the guys plan on putting in five in a single day). One filter went
into the clinic, where we anticipate that they will be getting cleaner water in
about a week. The filters have to be "seasoned": that means that we disinfect
with chlorox, then pass some water through each day for two weeks. The sand
that we used will be cleaned by this process, and a beneficial layer of
microbes will be in place after two weeks. At that point, it becomes a bio+sand
filter, with two levels of cleansing.
Roger Honore, Mister Biosand Filter Ranquitte 2007, has been gathering names, and we're going into the community to deliver the filters to the poorest of the poor. Lots of people have been pestering me for filters, and for the most part I have to tell them "No!", rather emphatically. In this culture, all of my friends and acquaintences expect that they're going to be getting a filter; in fact, we're focusing on the poor and those farthest from a source of (relatively) clean water. That's a hard thing to communicate, however. Our buddy George Derval, recently elected Mayor of Ranquitte, asked me to put him on the list. I don't think that he was expecting my "No!" (I try to be diplomatic, actually;) Fortunately George can understand where I'm coming from on this, and did, but it's not an easy sell.
Rosemanie and the mohawk look.|
The big news is that we're in the process of adopting this nine-year old young lady.
It's especially hard on Roger, because he's got a lot more friends and acquaintences in Ranquitte than do I, and he's being harrassed from all sides. I've told him to gather about ten Bible verses, starting with Matthew 25, verse 40 (KJV):
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
So I coached Roger to say that Jesus said "the least of these...": not "the greatest of these...", or even "the middle class of these"; and then I tell him to ask the person if they'd classify themselves as one of the least of Ranquitte. And if they will, then maybe we'll give them a filter. If they're also far from a source of (relatively) clean water....
I'd like to have a "phase II" of this program: after we give out filters for $3 to the poorest folks around, I'd like to have a subsidized program where we let them go for $15. Then I can tell my friends "in high places" that they can have a filter, at a price more in keeping with their elevated stature (and yet still affordable). That will depend on the status of the Peace Chest after a few other things, including the dry toilet project for Ranquitte.
There's exciting news on that front: we've made arrangements with the folks of SOIL (Director Sasha Kramer, of Stanford University), and she's amenable to coming up to Ranquitte to help us make a slew (eight!) of Dry Toilets for Ranquitte. I'm very excited to have their experienced team coming up to help: it's always nice to have a little expertise when these things get underway. They have a great webpage that shows how a dry toilet was actually constructed, so you can see the process and the result for yourself.
The plan right now is to put two in a market town about four kilometers away (where every Tuesday a horde descends on the town, leaving their mark upon the market place). Then we'll put two in Ranquitte's market, and finally four more on the campus. The last four won't be completed before our departure, but we'll hope that all will go well with their construction and that soon the students here on campus will have a nice place to take care of some of their most pressing needs, shall we say.
As I mentioned in the caption to the photo above, we've asked Rosemanie to be our daughter, and she said "Yes!". So we're in the process of wading through a pile of paperwork, trying to convince the Haitian authorities that we're capable of giving her a better life than she's got in front of her right now (a pretty easy sell), and then convincing the KY and US authorities that we're capable of raising her.
Thad and Rosemanie have hit it off since we came, and are now acting exactly like a five-year old brother and nine-year old sister pair (uh oh....). We think that Rosemanie is a really special little girl, and that she'll make a wonderful addition to our family. She won't be able to come back with us, because it takes awhile to process all the paperwork. We will have to adopt her in Haiti, and then get clearance from KY; finally, the Feds will have their say. If all goes well, we hope to have her with us by March of 2008.
I don't know how many of you have had to deal with the INS (now part of the Department of Homeland Security), but it's never easy. Wish us smooth sailing, but expect some savage weather.
That's it for now. I might have one more Hello in me, and then again I might not! In any event, thanks for visiting, and following along. Take care now,