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.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 2 and 3 in Haiti

Hey everyone,

On our second day in Haiti we started our quilt making. We took three treadle sewing machines out onto the porch, and cut up lots of fabric. At 9:00 about 30 people came streaming in through the gate. 3 of the people came from the neighboring village Bongares. We started the adults on an un threaded treadle machine so that they could get the feel of using it. The machines were finicky, and a bit hard to get going smoothly.Then as the villagers got more used to it they moved up to using a threaded machine and making small pillows. While the three machines were in use other people either watched or the kids hand sewed pillows. Others sewed scraps of fabric onto a plain canvas to make their own fabric. The really little kids played Jenga or played with dolls while their parents were busy sewing. It was almost like a party! At the end of a long day of sewing we ate our lunch of black beans and rice and then went for a long walk down the road.We were all exhausted!We On our third day in Haiti we got up early and hiked Zombie Mountain. At the top it was very clear and we could see all of Port au prince and the bay. All of the kids were at school so there was a smaller, but more manageable turn out. Some new people came to sew, so we went through the sewing process with them. For the experienced people we helped them work on making a 6 square quilt. For lunch we made a vegetable and rice dish, that turned out to be all of our favorite dish so far. After lunch we went for a long beautiful climb in the mountains and there was a small rain shower. Quite magical!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 2 in Haiti

Hey everyone,
Yesterday we had a cooking class with three Haitian women. Everyday we are going to make some different type of food with them. Yesterday we made national rice, which is a bean and rice dish.We struggled to communicate with our meager french and non-existent creole, but somehow managed to laugh a lot and get things accomplished. While we waited for our food to be done we did some sewing on the treadle machines with the women. One woman was better than we are on the treadle! They made small pillows for their children and seemed very pleased.  Later we all ate the rice for lunch and it was very tasty. Then after lunch we took a steep walk up to zombie mountain. At the top of the mountain we could see a beautiful view of all of port du prince and a panorama of mountain tops. Once we came down we went to a prayer ceremony with the village people. They sang and danced and after a while we started to dance with them. They were very friendly and welcoming and we had a great time. The men used big plastic garbage cans that looked a bit like congas for drums, and kept up an infectious rhythm. The villagers even walked us back up to the Curelley's house dancing the whole time. Today we invited all of them to come up to the house to do some sewing. Today should be another fun and exhausting day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

1st day in Haiti

Hey everyone,
We got to Haiti at 3 yesterday after a total of 7 hr flight. We then made the hectic journey from the airport to the Currelly's car. As we drove through the streets of Port au Prince we could see all of the destruction that the earthquake had caused.Buildings were in rubble, and tent villages were everywhere. We stopped at a stall of the road for fresh avocados, bananas, grapefruit, and tangerines. We then traveled to a pizza place where we stopped for an amazing dinner. After eating we continued up the mountain. The higher we drove the more bumpy and curvey the roads became. When we reached the Currelly's house we were greeted by 4 enthusiastic dogs, and soon after arriving we decided to go to bed because we were exhausted after our long trip. After waking up in the morning we looked outside and saw the beautiful mountain view. We will write more later and send pictures if we can.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Haiti Trip 2011

Hey Everyone,
              We are all going down to haiti this february break. I didn't go down last year due to unrest because of the elections. Janet Daniels went down and had an amazing experience. She located treadle sewing machines and taught some of the villagers how to use them. During this trip we are going to give the villagers the quilts that we made last year. We are also going to be using the treadle machines a lot, and our goal is to create some quilts with the villagers. We are leaving february 12th and will return on february 19th. I will give updates do let you know how we are doing. We are very excited for our trip!