Archive for “May, 2013”

Well, maybe it was Malaria

So in my last post, I told you all that I had a brief scare about getting Malaria.  The symptoms kept coming and going, so I got a test…450 gourdes and a day later I found out I was positive for the parasites!  I went to the clinic in Jubilee with my test results and got the necessary Chloroquine Phosphate and proceeded to rest.  The main symptoms that were flu like finished quickly, but the fatigue stuck around for a week.  I could get up and make some breakfast, but then I was too tired to do anything else and I slept until class time.  I managed to go to class, but I usually had Valmy take over in the middle of the second class.

Today I went with my friend Frantz to another remote village.  This time it was La Branle…North and East of Gonaives up in the mountains.  We crossed some rivers, the road turned into a path, then it turned into a trail…we parked the motorcycles and walked to the spring where the community gets its drinking water.  Frantz has quite an interesting job.  We taught some of the people how to mix up some chlorine solution to sanitize their buckets and left them with a bag of granulated chlorine.

After we did our work with the water, we had a meeting with the “Town Council”  We discussed problems in the area and what they thought could help.  They loved my idea of a small trade school and an English Institute.  Wherever I end up building my school, we would have a satellite location of our “Pursuit of Happiness English Institute.”  We talked about teaching carpentry, solar panel assembly, agriculture and other skills.  Another concern from them was the lack of light…being without power limits the activities that can occur after the sun goes down…the main concern was the children’s ability to study.

Our trip to and from involved crossing some rivers.  This is a journey that is not possible during a good rain.  The rivers are too full and several dry river beds that we cross become impassible for a brief time.  It was a challenge to get there, but well worth the trip.

Later this week, Frantz and I are going to Bassin, another community away from it all with similar issues.  I hope to go back to Bayonnais soon too…it was there that I first started feeling the effects of the Malaria and I did not feel like hiking around and exploring…I am up for it now.

The most pressing need in these communities is for sanitation.  I might find myself building some public restrooms in strategic areas of the villages.  Frantz is pushing the community leaders to require that each homeowner builds an outhouse, but it won’t happen overnight.  I am going to start doing some research on biodigesters and some outhouse designs.  It would be great to incorporate clean water distribution and a small solar array into the same facility.  All of these areas that I have been traveling to are “off the grid” so to speak.

Thanks for your prayers, I know that my bout with Malaria was brief because of the grace of God.  He continues to show me so many opportunities here and now that I am up and around again, I am excited for the next challenge that He has for me.


Looking for Land!

Yep, I am looking for a place to call my own.  I am looking at places in town, just outside of town and clear out of town!  A friend of mine, Frantz St Pierre recently got a job with a NGO working with drinking water in the countryside.  Through his work, he has become friends with the mayors and governing boards of many rural communities.  Yesterday I met with one of these mayors in a beautiful area of mountains, trees and streams.  This mayor and I discussed the problems that they have in the area that he represents.  All of the young people leave the area for bigger towns to go to a trade school or a university.  He stressed the need for a trade school and an English school in his area.  He told me that he would give me the land for my school.  That is pretty exciting.

Frantz wants me to meet with several more of the community leaders in the area that he works before I make any decisions about a school in any one area.  I agree, but I don’t know if I will find a more beautiful place than where I was yesterday.  The only problem with these remote areas is that most of them don’t have electricity…at all.  So my school would have to get a generator and solar system…but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

I had a brief scare that I might have malaria, but it passed in a couple of days, so I think it was just the flu.  102 degree fever for a couple of days, sore muscles, bad headache and some other stuff.  I am glad that it is gone, maybe just a reminder to slow down a bit!

I have purchased lots of pavers for wherever my new school will be located.  They are tearing up the old streets in town and raising them and paving them over with asphalt.  All of the streets used to be made from concrete pavers.  They are being sold for quite a discount, so I am buying while I can, then my school will have some beautiful sidewalks and courtyards!

We were having some trouble with our power at the house.  At first I thought it might be something wrong at the transformer…but as you can see, everything is fine with it.  Apparently, we somehow lost our neutral.  The electrician I hired went ahead and tied our neutral to the neutral of another customer and that fixed everything.  I am a decent electrician when I am working with stuff that is done almost to code…but working with electricity here actually scares me.
Bongo – our unwanted, unloved but persistent guard dog had some puppies, three of them.  They have a strange resemblance to Grace’s rottweiler, Tug.  Oops.  I will get some pictures of them when I can.  I think we are going to keep one of them here as our guard dog and give the other two away.
Thanks for following along with my adventure down here.  If there is anything specific you would like to know about, please feel free to email me at or message me on facebook.
Please pray with me to help me make the right decision on where my first school will be located.  It is a big step and a big decision.