Monday, July 4, 2011

Last Day

Today was our last day of sewing. Many people finished up projects that they had already started. Others made dolls or small bags. Ammonia, a very skilled Haitian woman finished a beautiful quilt that she had been working on all week. She was very proud and so were we!

We also had a large group of sewers fancy stitching around the stretched quilt. They didn’t finish but we are keeping the quilt so they can work on it the next time we come down.

At the end we brought out the bubbles and had a fun goodbye with the kids. Everyone was sad to go, but they were reassured when we told them that we would be returning next February. After lunch we went for a walk on a road behind the town of Godet. The road was very narrow and we got a little worried when we saw that part of it had been almost destroyed by avalanches. We had to get out and walk from a point where part of the road had fallen away. The view from the path was extremely beautiful. 

The only downside was that it had just rained and the path was pretty slippery and muddy. While we were walking it started to rain very hard and we huddled under some trees. Luckily we were by some houses and a Haitian woman invited us into a shelter. We huddled under the tin roof with about twelve other Haitians until the rain stopped. When we left the building we realized that we had gained five members to our party. Five little Haitian boys followed us all the way back to our car. On the ride back we stopped by a roadside stand and bought a large bunch of watercress for only 50 cents. It was very tasty steamed! Once we got home we saw a light rainbow in the sky above us. It was a great end to a great trip.  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 6

Today was a day of church and rest for the Haitians so we didn’t have sewing class. Instead we went for a long three-hour walk to a large hotel for a snack. On the walk we went by a “lumber mill” and saw where people had been sawing wood into planks with a two-handled saw, a technique that hasn’t been used in America for 150 years.  The walk was pretty slippery since it had been raining on and off the whole time we were walking. At the end of a trek seeing the hotel was like an oasis. It was extremely beautiful and had un-used pools and tennis courts. There were not many people there except for a few foreigners and many dogs. For our snack we had French fries and fried plantains. Apparently the plantains were extremely good with picklies; pickled cabbage, peppers, and carrots, but I didn’t eat them because they were extremely spicy. The people who had tried them had watering eyes and noses. We finished up our snack with tea, coffee, and Haitian cake. The cake was extremely delicious and contained Haitian limes and pineapple juice. Well refreshed we returned back to the house with our pant legs weighed down with mud. At the house I finished sewing an adorable quilt that the currelly’s granddaughter Lucy had started, but had to leave before she could finish.  We also put the quilt on its quilt frame and sewed one of the blocks with fancy stich. In the middle of the quilt it was very difficult to sew because you couldn’t reach under the quilt frame. So we had one person push the needle to the bottom, and the other on their back under the quilt pushing the needle to the top. It was pretty hard work, but we are very much looking forward to seeing how the Haitians will do with it tomorrow.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 4 and 5

Yesterday we woke up early and set up to make more patterns for dolls for the little kids. Once they had finished with the actual sewing of their dolls they would go on to make clothes like skirts and shirts for them. We also made a pattern for small bags that the younger kids could make. For the more experienced sewers many finished the bags that they had already started and some went on to create their own designs for bags.

 After a long sewing morning we brought out the bubble wand for the kids to play with. They were so excited and they ran around the yard kicking and chasing the bubbles. They also rolled down the steep hills and got themselves and their dolls covered in soap and grass. They were very sad when it was time to go.

After they left we built a frame that we are planning to use on Monday to stretch a quilt top over so that they can fancy stitch on it. A woman from the village named Rosalie came to make a Haitian lunch for us called Mais Moulou avec pois rouge. It was very delicious and contained beans and cow corn, which is a very hard corn that takes a long time to cook. After lunch it poured for the first time since we’ve been here. Once the rain stopped we went for a long slippery walk to a neighboring village called Godet. We slipped down the hills and got very muddy while we laughed along with the villagers at our funny show. We walked along a beautiful path looking over a valley that could have been in Bali, then back up the very steep hill home.

Once we got back we saw that Janet had cut her finger badly and we were all very worried. The next day Janet’s finger was hurting a lot and she felt woozy so we decided to call off sewing for the morning. Instead we went down into Petionville for a little bit of shopping to give Janet some rest and time to heal. We went to two different stores and saw many interesting Haitian made items. After shopping we were pretty hot so we decided to stop at a little restaurant and get ice cream. They had many different flavors that were in between gelato and American ice cream. Yum! After our treat we drove back to the Currelly’ house and went for a beautiful walk up to Zombie Mountain. It was good to have a day of rest.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 3

Yesterday we got ready to make bags and dolls. We cut out cloth doll patterns from the fabric we had around. Then the younger kids would hand stitch around the pattern and leave a hole to stuff them. They then got really creative and drew faces on the dolls with marker and used yarn to make hair. Once the more experience kids had finished their dolls they went on to making adorable clothes for them. While the children were working the parents and more experienced sewers made bags. They sewed strips together, sewed on a back, put in a lining, and did finishing stitches around the top. The bags take a while to make so most of the people hadn’t finished them by the time we had to pack up. After sewing we went for a long walk around the nearby villages and saw some beautiful views of the mountains. So far we have had beautiful days even though we are in the middle of the rainy season! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

1-2 day in haiti

Hey Everyone,

Yesterday we arrived in Haiti in the afternoon after a long flight. It was about 85 degrees in Port au Prince when we arrived, and it was very dusty. We were very happy to see our friends the Currellys at the airport who greeted us and packed up their 2 cars with all of our suitcases of sewing materials. On the way back we stopped by a roadside market to buy fresh watermelon, papayas, mangos, and bananas. Then we drove farther up the mountainside and picked up the Curellys granddaughter, Lucy. After stopping by the house we had delicious pizza at a local pizza place. Finally we made the frightening drive up to the Curellys house that is high up in the mountains. It was extremely bumpy and the road is built into the side of a cliff. Once we reached their house the four dogs, three cats, and one horse greeted us. We went for a short walk around the property and rolled into bed exhausted. 

The next day we woke up we hurriedly got everything ready for the arrival of the villagers. We had to unpack lots of bags of material and take out stacks of fabric and other sewing supplies. The villagers didn’t come right away because they had been at a funeral for most of the early morning. But once they started arriving, they just kept on coming! We had many new sewers some of who were very good at hand sewing. We were also happy to see many familiar faces that remembered how to use the machines from our last visit. The new comers and children mostly worked on hand sewing small pillows. The more experienced sewers made potholders out of more complex patterns. They were very reluctant when they had to leave but we assured them “a demain” they would come back tomorrow.

After sewing we had vegetable soup and tasty avocado on bread. We then decided to go for a walk on the paths in the mountains, which ended up lasting about two hours! The plants were much more lush than last February and many foods like leeks and potatoes were seen coming up. Right now it is the raining season so many of the paths were slick and slippery.

 All in all, it was a great first day in Haiti! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Final Day in Haiti

Hey Everyone,
Yesterday was our full day in Haiti. We had women show up at our gate at 8:00 even though our sewing doesn't start until 9:00 because they new it was the last day! We had the most people come to this sewing session than any other day this week. We gave a packet of crayons and paper to all of the kids who came that they could use for school or fun. The kids made either pillows or small quilts. The women finished their skirts or made some new small quilts. We even had a new man who came yesterday and made a satchel. We took a lot of pictures with all of the people and their finished products. They all got very excited over some packets of play-dough, but they had a hard time sharing it. After sewing we had lunch. We had a soup made by the Currelly's because for our cooking class we made a desert called pan patat. Pan patat is a pudding made up of coconut, bananas, sweet potatoes, and spices. It was delicious but it took a long time to make!

After lunch we went down to the methodist mission where they have a clinic, a hospital, orphanages, and schools. The mission has taken care of thousands of Haitan's with AIDS and until recently treated 30 new people a day with Cholera. Now they only have several each week.  We donated the majority of the school supplies that we brought down and most of the quilts that we made at the sew-a-thons. We met with the director of the mission, Mr. Angus, who was very appreciative and said that they will be given to orphan and sick children from poor families. We then went down close to port du prince to go shopping for souvenir items. The shop sold only local Haitian made items. We were very successful and spent a log time looking at all of the beautiful and unique items. We stopped at a market to buy pickles which in haiti is pickled cabbage and different vegetables. We also bought haitian ice cream (which was very delicious) and gorgeous calla lilies. Thank you to everyone who donated time or goods to our Haiti quilt project. It was very appreciated by everyone! Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Currelly who where wonderful hosts!    I hope that you enjoyed my blog, I had fun writing it!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 5 in Haiti

Hey Everyone,
Yesterday we had a lot of younger kids come to sew. They started out hand-sewing pillows, and then they moved onto the machine sewing. Almost all of the women decided to make wrap-around skirts. Many people finished their quilts and put the backs on them. They would then hand-sew around the outside to hold all of the layers together. We ran out of cotton, so we ripped open an old pillow to use as stuffing. For lunch we had deep-fried vegetables and fruits. We had sweet potatoes, bananas, plantains, Malanga (a root). They were very tasty! (but pretty un-healthy).

After lunch we went for a long walk down a road through the mountains to a beautiful pasture in a valley. Often you will see children with baskets or men carrying bags of very heavy sand on their heads. There are cows, horses, and pigs everywhere!  When we came back there was a thunder and lightning storm. It was a little scary, but the rain was really appreciated by the farmers. At the end of our walk we came to our village. The village is pretty small with one or two room cinder block houses and most of the roofs are made of tin. There is a small store on the main road up the hill that consists of a table covered with assorted items. By the store there are always little puppies that bark ferociously at you as you walk by and nip at your heels. All the people are very friendly and always say "Bonjour" or "Salue" as you walk by.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 4 in Haiti

Hey Everyone,

Yesterday we had a few people finish their quilts! There were many new people who came, so we did a lot of teaching. There were three adorable little boys who we brought out crayons and coloring books for and they spent the whole time drawing. Many of the women who finished their quilts decided that they wanted to make skirts. We cut out fabric for them and one women took the extra scarps and made a pretty head scarf. We also made some pants for a women's two little boys and they looked very cute in them. After sewing we had a lunch of Djon-djon which are mushrooms with spices that have been boiled down and the broth from them put over rice. After lunch we went for a drive to a village called Bonga. It was extremely bumpy but the view was really pretty. On the way we passed people traveling on foot, on motorbikes, and on horseback carrying water, racks of bread, and bags of beans. It's amazing to see all of the children that walk to school 3 or more miles each way through the mountains!  In Bonga we saw a school house and a small 2 room health clinic. On the way back it was sad to see a house that had been completely destroyed by the earthquake.

After our drive we went on a walk up a hill overlooking the village and through a small forest with grazing horses and cows.  We finished the walk at the village where several boys were kicking a soccer ball. Before we knew it, we were kicking the ball back and forth with the children of the village who seemed to appear from nowhere. There was lots of laughing when we missed the ball or when we accidentally kicked it into a ditch where the smallest children quickly ran to retrieve it. It was really fun!  After a half hour of playing soccer we were exhausted and climbed back up the hill to the house. We had expected that three people from "Clowns Without Borders" were going to come and stay the night, but they decided to stay in Port au Prince instead. We were actually relieved to be able to go to bed early. We were tired and the solar powered batteries for the house were running low. We had lights out before 9 pm.