Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Navigating the Port au Prince airport

The PurJus stand
With only carry-on and my boarding pass printed at home, I made it through the airport in record time, from curb drop-off to American Airlines waiting area in only 10 minutes. Just walk in the front doors and keep to the left to get through security. A guy at the curb wanting to help me told me the line was very long, pointing to the line of people who were outside waiting for rides or something, not waiting to get into the airport.  There were only 3 people in front of me at both security check points, and an immigration booth was open when I got through first security point.  With time to spare I enjoyed a passion fruit-ginger juice and a spinach pate at the PurJus stand in the upstairs waiting area. The fresh juice was well worth $8US (bottled drinks cost just as much in the Miami airport).  Don't miss the Rebo stand for coffee and hot chocolate croissant!

Spinach pate and a juice

The Bon Voyage menu

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Bird lessons at the new UCC preschool

UCC in Caiman opened a preschool in Bohoc by the market, so the little kids don’t have to walk so far.  I took me 35 minutes to walk to this school from Caiman.  My translator Louiders and I had a 15 minute program for each class, PSI, PSII, and PSIII.  We taught the parts of the birds by having kids act them out, pretending they had beaks, wings, and tails.  As the kids age additional grades will be added to the school.



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The paving of Route Nationale #3

Facing west, in the direction of Pignon.
In 2008 when I first came to Caiman I flew from Port au Prince on MAF, since the 65 mile drive took 8 hrs.  By the time I started teaching at the university in Caiman in 2014, Route Nationale #3 was paved from Port to Hinche, so the trip took only 4 hrs.  The road had also been graded all the way to Pignon, as the plan had to be to pave it that far, but the money disappeared as it tends to do in Haiti.  Over the years the road deteriorated to the point that the 8 mile trip to Pignon took ½ hr.  Now (2017) the road is graded again in preparation for paving, and only takes 10 minutes (and now a good restaurant is there!).  The road crew is already putting in three bridges between Hinche and Bohoc.  Here are pictures of the one just to the west of the Bohoc market, along with a before photo showing the pedestrian crossing.
Facing east, toward the market.

Nov. 2014

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Chalydath Resto, Pignon

The drive from the university to Pignon is now only 10 minutes since Rt. Nationale 3 has been graded in preparation for paving (as it was 6 years ago before the money and motivation to pave disappeared).  So we went there for Sunday lunch to eat at a new restaurant, Chalydath (219, Ave. Notre Dame), named after the owner's daughters and wife).  It is really good and has a variety of food and drinks, so please help keep it open!  I wanted pizza but that takes an hour, so I had a cheese sandwich grilled in a panini machine.  My friends had fish, goat, and chicken, all served with picklez, fries, veggies, or fried plantain.  They gave us an appetizer of cheese melted on bread, with tomato.  The juice of the day was grenadine (passionfruit).  They even have an espresso maker for Rebo coffee drinks such as mochas, frapacinos, and a funky monkey with peanut butter.  As usual, stay away from the endangered conch.  Chalydath is a large restaurant with an upper level that would be good for a meeting or party.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bassin Zim 2017

This month I took my ecology 201 class (freshmen) on its annual trip to Bassin Zim near Hinche.  Classes are getting larger each year, so we had to divide the group up between two Saturdays.  There is now a sign at Bassin Zim with entrance fees, so we didn’t have the usual dramatic haggle of price negotiation.  Maybe someone saw last year’s blog post complaining about that?  The fee is $5 for foreigners, and 50 gds (78 cents) for Haitians, and they give us a reduce price!  The goal of the trip was for students to experience performing a bioassessment of the site, comparing the basin below the falls (where people swim, wash, etc.) to the small stream that comes out of the cave above the falls.  There is a remnant of a forest along this river – perhaps because of the spiritual taboo of cutting trees around cave entrances.  

We looked at land use, tested water quality (bacteria, nitrate, phosphate, pH, DO), and used sPer environmental meters* to measure air temp, humidity, light, and wind.  No one killed anything this time, and students picked up their liter.  I tried to give the young ‘guides’ (kids who live near the park and grab your hand to ‘help’ you, hoping for a tip) some suggestions for protecting the park, like use the paved paths.  See the Audubon Center blog for comparison of results over the years.

*Thanks to the 2016 Amazon Workshop for introducing me to these meters and guiding us through activities in how to engage students in environmental science.  Click here to sign up for their workshop in the Peruvian Amazon.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hawk, baby, mouse

The day my translator was not available to help me teach at the elementary school, I had to improvise based on what little Creole I am able to speak, and came up with this game to teach kids that hawks eat mice.  I had kids take on the roles of mama hawk, baby hawk, and mouse.  The baby asks the mother for a mouse, and the mother chases the mouse and gives it to the baby who says “Mesi manman!”  Even the preschoolers could do it!