With two vaccinations in my left arm (Hepatitis A covered with a plain band-aid and Typhoid protected by pink Snoopys), I can officially begin my series of "foreign" posts. As the Princeton motto suggests, I cannot simply stay in the United States - I must bring my project to the service of other nations. First stop: Haiti. With five team members from Princeton's PFA (princeton faith and action) and Carine Toussaint from Westerly Road Church, we leave August 25th and leave September 5th to complete necessary disaster relief work in Font Parisian, a rural town approximately 2 hours from the capital city Port-au-Prince.
Six months after the earthquake, the country is still struggling to recover: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/
38185239/ns/world_news-haiti_ earthquake/. On June 28 the US Embassy issued a Haiti travel advisory cautioning Americans traveling to Haiti to exercise caution after four US Citizens were killed in separate robberies near Port-au-Prince airport. Will this stop us? Nope, especially since the Foundation for Peace (with whom we will be working) does not feel it is a danger for Americans or any other group to travel to Haiti. Time to rock on.
Below you can see a picture of my "Haiti Survival Kit" otherwise known as "Mother Placation Kit" which includes Malaria meds for anticipated Malaria Mondays, inhaler, diarrhea prevention meds, and hardcore mosquito deterring solutions. Missing are several chocolate-peanut butter powerbars: which taste so good they MUST be the food of choice for every cartoon superhero. Oddles of thanks to Passport Health for giving me a discount on the appointment (anyone doing disaster relief in foreign countries should go there!)
The entire team will be working on building new schools for the kids. I specifically will be working with refugee kids and a local Pastor Michel Valentin who is our coordinator for the upcoming mission trip to Haiti. According to Carine, "He was SOOOO excited when I shared with him that I have an artist who is interested in painting a mural or teaching art and/or working with students. He says it’s an answer to prayer as they have been wanting to paint in the school that they just built in the community where we will be working."
Can't wait! I'm hoping to plan out a big painting (with advice of pastor and kids on what subject matter they want) before I go, grid it, and have any kid wanting to paint complete a section in their own style. Getting the supplies down there should be another adventure and a half. For now, I will practice for the 100 degree plus weather by walking to my vaccination appointments (total of an hour walk today), avoiding use of subways in the cities, and doing all of my marathon training outside...
Stay tuned for more and keep your figures crossed that the next foreign post will be on South Africa...