Sunday, August 7, 2011

Up to Fermanthe

Today I travelled to visit the home of Dr. Jacob Bernard, up in the mountains above the city.  To his great joy, I didn't even ask Franck to drive me and got a ride from my colleague Denis Frantz instead.  I send all of my families to Denis when they need to hire a driver.  He spent a lot of time in Boston as a kid.  Denis speaks perfect English, is extremely conservative about safety issues, and is the only person I know in Haiti who is early for everything.

Naturally, we arrived at Dr. Bernard's house early.  He wasn't even home from church yet.  I spent a very peaceful and restful half an hour enjoying the cool, fresh air of the mountains and the astonishing scenery from Dr. Bernard's small hotel.  Anyone wanting to experience the beauty of Haiti really should spend a night with the Bernards!

The first car to return from church was an SUV carrying eighteen small children, all dressed to the nines and obviously thrilled with their visit to church!  They are all going to bible camp this week.  It's pretty obvious that the Bernards' choice to sign them up for camp was a very popular decision.

Dr. Bernard and I had only a few minutes together as he was headed out to Leoganne, but we conferred about the one case we are working together and about the process in general.  Dr. Bernard says his cases are moving along smoothly.  Like the rest of us, he's not sure what President Martelly's statement about ending independent adoptions means.  He suspects that there will need to be a licensed creche involved in Haiti, and a licensed agency involved in the U.S.  This will affect Dr. Bernard profoundly, as he is the only creche director we work with who still works with families with no agency in their home nation.

Our brief meeting over, I went with Mrs. Bernard to visit the kids.  They're still living in a separate building at the guest house, where they are within easy reach if a disaster were ever to strike again.  As ever, the care here is very, very good.  The kids are happy, organized, and in superb health.  I may have seen the fattest baby thighs I've ever seen today.  Her upper legs were almost as wide as they were long!

I agreed to stay for lunch with a few of the guests.  The Bernards tend to serve American food.  I imagine for most people it's comforting to have familiar food in a strange country.  I've come to dislike it.  Sure, I'll eat a turkey and cheese sandwich here, but it just doesn't seem right in Haiti.  Bring on the banan prese!

Although they just had a group of sixty-five guests during the week, today the Bernards had just six visitors.  One of them was a single lady interested in adoption.  I had to confirm what Dr. Bernard had already told her - under Haitian law, she is not allowed to adopt a Haitian child.  Such a shame.  Obviously she's already committed to Haiti, and at age thirty she's probably quite mature enough to be a good parent.  I sure do hope that new law passes someday, with the changes the Creche Directors' Association has recommended.  The one we have now is just not designed around what the children most need.

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