Friday, July 15, 2016

Mirebalais

 Haiti has an astonishing diversity of micro climates.  My kids are in a desert in the north, where the earth is bone dry and everything seems to have spines and needles.  Yesterday we visited the mountains above Petionville, which are a lush, verdant, tropical rain forest.  Today we visit Mirebalais, which is green and forested with small trees.  We drive through some of the desert area to get here, and then the environment abruptly changes to farmland and flowers.  It is truly beautiful, and the views from the twisting road through the mountains are heart stopping.  Heart stoppingly beautiful for Delia, Susan, and myself, heart stoppingly terrifying for Margarette who does NOT like mountain driving.  It’s really quite brave of her to come.  Although she’ll kill a cockroach that would have had me standing on a chair screaming like a little girl with one swift blow of her shoe, she is truly frightened of driving anywhere near a cliff.  And there are miles of cliffs on this journey, most with minimal guardrails.  I’m glad we got Denis Frantz to drive us today.  He’s careful and sensible, and he knows Margarette’s feeling about fast driving on curves.

Cottage at HCH
We almost pass Haiti Children’s Home’s new facility off the new road, it has grown so much since last we visited.  But the big wall and beautiful buildings catch my eye and we turn around to enter.  HCH might be the most beautiful orphanage in Haiti.  It’s set up as a community of group homes, each of which is a whole lot nicer than my house in the States, around a common playground.  They have a school, off-the-grid solar power, and water you can drink right out of the tap.  I even try it myself, although I feel much the same as I do when I see a big, big cockroach as I take a sip…
Around thirty children live here in groups of eight with permanent house parents.  It’s like a real family, with different ages, assigned chores, sibling squabbles, and lots of love and consistency.  HCH does adoptions, but their system is so like a natural family environment, I’d be unsurprised to learn that none of them are suffering any developmental damage from living here.  Some of the kids have special needs, and I relate that ABI has pretty good luck with finding families for such kids.  I would be happy to work with HCH.
Delia and a New Friend
Delia has a few cases to go over with their director of adoptions.  Margarette is offering some assistance with completing cases.  It’s hard enough when you don’t live two and a half hours from IBESR and the courts.
We manage to miss lunch – my third day in a row! – so we decide to stop by the Apparent Project on our way home.  I’ve always wanted to go.  The Apparent Project promotes family preservation through economic independence, and the products that their artisans make are beautiful.  Anyone fundraising for anything should consider their program.  Who wouldn’t want their amazing handmade jewelry?  We have pizza at their second floor restaurant, then descend where I souvenir shop like a tourist.
We arrive home to find that the kids are all back, and what’s more two more young adult BREMSA alumni have joined us.  The house is full to bursting, and I couldn’t be more proud of BRESMA’s ‘graduates.’

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