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After a trip back to the U.S. for a couple months, Joan returns to Haiti . . . .

Joan returns to Haiti: notes from August 2007

-- 1 Aug 2007

Dear everyone,
Just wanted to let you know that I arrived safely in Port-de-Paix about noon...that was about 30 minutes early!!!   Sr. Adeline showed me around the new house---I still have trouble finding the bathrooms.    She has given me a room with a private shower and toilet, but it may be too fancy for me.   We will see.
They had black bean sauce with dumplings for lunch, one of my favorites, since they knew I was coming.  Followed by Haitien coffee.    We will have to work on a veranda to drink the morning coffee.    
More later,

-- 6 Aug 2007

I have finally settled into a room.  I decided the large room, with private toilet and shower, was too big and nice--it would be better for 3 visitors.  So I have moved to a small room with the other sisters.   Three little problems:  1) when it rains, water comes in under the door;  2) most of the rooms have the possibility of having electricity, but not this one, at the moment; 3)  the room has a door to the outside and one to the hallway inside.   The one going out has no doorknob, at the moment. So I move little table in front of it when I leave. . . . . . . .

Have to end.  More later.  Thanks for your prayers.    Joan

-- 8 Aug 2007


Dear everyone,

It is 8PM on Wed. August 8, and I am sending you this email from the new convent.  The first wonderful thing is that we have electricity tonight; the second wonderful thing is that the Fdls congregation installed an email dish on the top of the building;  the third wonderful thing is that a young friend of Sr. Adeline's connected the email cable to the computer tonight so that the email is working!!!    This does not mean we will have electricity, email signal, or a working computer tomorrow---or even for the rest of this evening.   But for the moment, we are very happy to have this.
I just returned at noon from a 2 day visit to Chansolme and Bassin Bleu.  Fr. Prophy at ND du Lourdes in Chansolme and I had a very good discussion about the water filtration system, a goat project, the continuation of the clinic construction project, and the visit by the sister parish medical team in March, 2008.  Three of the Fdls sisters there will be leaving for a month-long class in France on August 16.
After that, I went to visit Fr. Grergory at St. George in Bassin Bleu.  He was just assigned to that parish in June (his first appointment).  He is young, energetic, and very ready to face the many challenges of the parish, the schools, and the house.
Interesting facts of the day:  I went to Fonkoze today to make a withdrawal.  They had no money.  They said come back tomorrow.   I went to the post office to send a letter to the US.  They had no stamps.  They took the letter and said they would put the stamp on when the stamps arrived.
As I was returning on the street to the convent, a short, thin older man with white hair and a stubby beard greeted me with Bon soir, Sr. Annie.  (About 1955, several sisters from the Swiss congregation of the Lay Missionaries of Fribourg came to work as nurses on the island of LaTortue.  Later, they came to the mainland and worked in the clinics of Bonneau and Gaspard.  Often, when I am walking in those areas I am greeted as Sr. Annie, Sr. Rose, or Sr. Therese---because evidently, I resemble all three of those nurses.)  I returned the greeting.  He continued to talk to me in French, so I asked him if he could please speak Kreyol or English.  He asked me why.  I said because I did not understand French.  He asked me why.  I said because I was an American.  He asked in some amazement, in Kreyol, " Are you an American Catholic?  I thought that the only Americans in Port-de-Paix were Protestant.  Are you an American Catholic?"  I said ,"Yes, I am an American Catholic."  He looked at me for a few seconds, then grabbed my hand with both of his and shook it gleefully.     He was still grinning when we parted company.
Time to share the computer with Sr. Adeline.  I am happy to be able to write to you tonight.  More later--I hope.  Peace--Joan