Friday, December 10, 2010


What a week this has been! THANK YOU to the excellent energetic CREDO staff who hosted a successful conference for the Diocesan clergy and laity at one of Haiti’s most beautiful resorts, Club Indigo. People arrived in Montrouis from all over Haiti on Sunday evening to a delicious dinner followed by a Eucharist offered in French by CREDO staffer, Lee Crawford.  The mood was festive as we all looked forward to the days of nourishment, reflection, and empowerment that lay ahead.
In one memorable session, Diocesan leaders were divided into groups based on region and were given 45 minutes to construct ‘something we were proud of’ made of pipe cleaners and straws.  Our group of Port au Prince-dwellers decided to build a lovely earthquake-resistant, environmentally friendly guesthouse. By the time our wobbly construct was finished we had survived several successful confrontations between us and realized had we taken time at the beginning to make a good plan, our final product would have been better. We also found that with eight of us in the group, we had many opinions to work with. This was a strength, but also meant that our construction process took longer.
I found the experience paralleled the seemingly modest pace of rebuilding here after the earthquake. Not only the many affected structures of the Diocese of Haiti, but of the country as a whole. The challenge is seizing the opportunity to rebuild everything BETTER and to do that successfully, many factors must be considered. Thus, the process is long, but I feel that taking the extra time on the front end will pay off in the end. .. as long as leadership can encourage focus.  
Speaking of leadership, most of you who will read this know that the results of the Nov. 28th elections in Haiti were announced on Tuesday evening.  The subsequent unrest all over the country colored the remaining day of the conference.  In President of CREDO, William Craddock’s, closing remarks, he asked several poignant questions which encouraged us to think of the years ahead in flexible terms. He asked, ‘Is the future of Haiti burning tires and blockades in the streets? Is it profound loss of life after natural disasters?’ It was a great chance for all present to remember, ‘It doesn’t have to be this way!’
The conference in general freed us to imagine what can be.
This photo is of the clergy, lay leadership, and CREDO staff.... What a fine bunch of people !!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Haiti’s presidential elections are set to take place on Nov. 29th. Among the candidates are a former political prisoner and Prime Minister under Aristide, a female professor and former first lady, and a popular compa singer called ‘Sweet Micky.’ The refusal of Wyclef Jean as a candidate is all the buzz. He even composed a special song explaining why he’s not the ‘diaspora’ candidate that plays on the radio every third song. Everyone has an opinion and the general feeling that I get from people I meet is that they are not going to miss their chance to vote in this election.
Here's a link to Wyclef's new song:

I made a new friend this week. His name is William and he is ten years old and I met him when he followed me to work on Monday and asked me to marry him. When I politely declined, he thought a minute before saying, ‘Madam, what if I told you I could buy you any model of Mercedes Benz you want?’

William marches along with a bouncy step and his chin raised. He’s a great security escort. If anyone on the street tries to bug me, he dismisses them with a wave or transmits the evil eye. People smile at his nerve and they also leave me alone. When he meets his buddies in the road, he shakes their hands like a rapper turned politician and asks how their families are doing. This kid is clearly leadership material.

Today we struck a deal. He’ll provide protection on my commute each morning and I’ll pay him our agreed upon amount at the end of each week. If he misses a day without a good excuse, he won’t get anything that week. For further compensation, I’ll continue teaching him words in English. At this point his vocabulary consists mostly of four letter words.

Sometimes I have a hard time understanding when people tell me their names. I’m almost always obliged to ask how the name is written. It seems that must be a universal affliction as people call me all kinds of crazy things that sound somewhat similar to Angela. Two of my favorite new names so far are ‘angina’ and ‘enema’. Who knew my name resembles so many unpleasant medical terms.

Friday, September 3, 2010

This first week in Haiti has passed faster than a turtle on a skateboard. I've been caught in a very un- stereotypically Caribbean whirlwind of bustling activity. There has been a lot of work for me to do and more than anything I think I have appreciated feeling useful.

I finally unpacked my suitcases last night. My apartment is inside the walled enclosure of St. Jacques Church in Petion Ville - a short walk from the Diocesan office. The music school, St. Trinity, now resides there. For those of you who have spent a summer in Sewanee, TN during the Summer Music Festival, you can imagine the mostly delicious cacophony of classical sounds that I enjoy every day. Another perk is that there is a piano right outside my room for me to mess around with anytime I feel the urge.

Over the course of the past week, I've slept in Les Cayes, Cange, and Port au Prince. In Les Cayes, I translated for two terrific techies, Todd and Tony, as they worked with Business and Technology Institute technician, Denis, to prepare the computer lab there for the coming semester. Learning some much needed computer skills was a positive byproduct for me. From Les Cayes, I traveled with the Partnership Program director to the Diocesan Conference on Reconstruction in Cange. Renowned economist, Kesner Pharel, spoke to the group of 20 influential leaders within the church about dreaming big and planning precisely. My job was to take minutes in English.

One of my favorite moments from the past week:

A friend of mine, Amorce Dugé, recently purchased land which he will transform into a haven for artists of all sorts. Every year he hopes to facilitate a month long festival featuring different mediums each week. The artists will stay economically in 16 bungalows arranged around a pool and a large workshop space. Dugé himself writes novels and poetry. One early morning we scooted out to his land to dream about possibilities.