Meanwhile, the primary school is still “jammed,” in the words of an observer, with over 400 local children in attendance each day to receive essential knowledge and skills plus a hearty lunch (which for many is the main meal of the day). The new Internet/computer room is always full, not only with older secondary students but also young people from all over the community, just as we hoped. Also noteworthy, the school is planning a major Mother’s Day celebration, for which the Foundation will provide $700 to cover expenses. This is not a traditional Haitian holiday, but maybe it will catch on!
Doctor Ray had the pleasure of visiting with a few former residents of the orphanage during his recent visit. A young woman named Lovely is thriving in nursing school at College of Notre Dame, a beautiful campus nestled in a patch of old-growth forest not far from Grison-Garde. Two young men, Pecknel and Pedro, are enrolled in Cap Haitien’s best college. We have watched them grow from young children into bright, productive, capable adults and we could not be more proud of them. If ever one needs proof of the significance of the Grison-Garde Orphanage & School, there it is.
Some additional news:
- The RN Ford Foundation is providing support for a midwife training program in Grison-Garde. There is great need for such services, as risks to mothers and newborns are a continuing blight in villages throughout rural Haiti. Adriane Neumeister, an RN from Crozet, VA, will be the project’s “main driver,” in partnership with the indispensable Dr. Eugene Maklin.
- Electricity has come to Grison-Garde! Until now, generators were the only source, but there are actual wires running out to the countryside now. Most folks cannot afford a monthly electric bill much less major appliances, and service may not be the most reliable in the world, but this still has the potential to transform lives, since a single working refrigerator, computer, television, or water pump can serve a community.
- Finally, Doc Ford—always a sucker for local flora—is impressed by the work of the resident gardener at the “elderly village.” Relying solely on found or donated native plants, he has cultivated a flourishing, ever-enlarging garden and plantings around the cottages. This adds a rare touch of beauty and serenity to the place.
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