Saturday, August 31, 2013

Boys home

Morgan invited me to teach ecology once a week at the safe home she runs for boys she brings off the streets.  You can read about the home at their LittleFootprints webpage.  Most of the boys had been reunited with families since I had been there 2 weeks previously with friends Nate and Kristin!  

With the remaining 10 or so boys, the first lesson last week was about the importance of birds to people and agriculture in Haiti.  I tried to drill into the boys’ heads to protect the birds and their nests.  Then we watched a hummingbird video, and the boys got to try out the binoculars.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back at the orphanage

Friday afternoon I went to the girls’ orphanage in Simon to resume teaching ecology.  Two weeks ago Nate, Kristin and I were there so Nate could teach first aid.  After drilling into the little kids’ heads to go find an adult if they come across an accident (rather than taking the person to the hospital themselves!), Nate worked with 2 of the older girls interested in medicine, while Kristin and I stayed with the rest.  AUC student & translator Richard was great in leading them in singing, then we learned a bunch of standing-in-a-circle games.

On Friday I taught the usual bit about birds and bats.  Fortunately, when asked where do bats come from, they said trees and houses, rather than old mice!  Afterwards I had them write their names on a white board so I could take photos and try to learn all their names.  That took for…ev…er….!!!  They all wanted to draw pictures with their names, and the perfectionists of the group kept erasing their drawings and starting over.  So I ended up with photos of about 1/3 the kids and will try again next week.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Gelee Beach Festival

This week I worked an Audubon Center tent at the Gelee Beach Festival.  With American University of the Caribbean students manning the tent I was able to walk around and enjoy the agriculture and art vendors in the Agro-Artisanal section my AUC coworker organized, up the beach away from the main crowded party area.  Here are photos of some of the art that I had never seen before.  The bone art is made from goat bones.  There were necklaces, buckles, ponytail holders, wall art, and pencil holders carved from the bone.  The piece I bought reminds me of Inuit ivory carvings, with a fish and sun.

Next to the Audubon tent women were selling woven baskets, purses and dolls.  Across from the tent was ceramic art, which I had previously seen passing through the streets of Port au Prince and assumed was gaudy plastic resin.  Turns out they are ceramic and beautiful.  The vendor said they were made of lime.  Leave a comment if you know anything about this type of ceramic!  It must be mass produced somewhere in Port.

Gelee Beach was transformed to a packed, party atmosphere with a giant concert stage blaring music, trinket and food vendors, plenty of rum and alcohol booths, and games of chance tables.  The festival lasts all week, but the main day is Aug. 15, Assumption Day on the Catholic calendar.  I was told it gets rowdy and don’t be there after dark.  People in our ag/art section seemed to be there more for the festival atmosphere than shopping or education, but we were still able to talk with many about the importance of Haiti’s environment.  See this post about the Audubon tent.

By the time I left around 6pm the Gelee roads were packed at the intersections with National Highway 2, so beware if you are traveling west out of Les Cayes during festival week!  There were plenty of police directing traffic, and steam rollers blocking intersections to channel traffic.  Made the moto ride home quite nerve racking!