Stories from Fayet

Gerald, program director: I started participating in community organizing in Fayet because I was seeing people in the community who didn’t know how to read or write. They needed someone to bring leadership– for literacy, and for economic reasons. So I started to help with adult literacy programs. We decided to put together a team that would give loans to people in order to allow them to run small commerce shops. People in the community promised to be responsible for each other’s loans. This way, repayments will allow people...

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Another Phone Call with Beautiful Keri

Here’s a short video I took of Keri giving me a hug, toward the later part of my trip to Haiti! Keri is a beautiful child, and I promised I’d give you an update about him too. I spoke to him on the phone last week, and told him that I knew he took my Irish pennywhistle (we call it a “flute” in Creole) from me. I told him I understood why he would want to have one. And I told him that I love him anyway, and I want him to have a “flute” for himself. He doesn’t know how to play, but who knows, maybe some...

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Lookin’ Like Tourists

I think the purpose of this blog post is pure levity. Jeannot, in the center of this photo, is wearing my blue camping backpack which has just been washed carefully and looks brand new, loaded with clothes and gifts for folks back home. With those two snazzy American-style bags, he looks like a tourist to me. It was me (tourist extraordinaire) behind the camera; Jeannot is Haitian born and bred. I told Jeannot and Gerald (the other guy in the picture) that I wanted to swim in the ocean in Haiti before I left, so they helped me get the chance...

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Energy Efficiency in Humans

Strikes me that we humans have an instinct to be active, to let our energy out, no matter what. The trick, I think, is to let it out in ways that are constructive. I’ve been thinking about the similarities in society in the areas of rural Alaska where I grew up, and in Dabon, Haiti. In many parts of rural Alaska, there’s very little happening in terms of jobs and an economy. Most of the people do not spend their lives in subsistence hunting/fishing/gathering activities. They have a lot of time and a lot of uncertainty about what...

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Following a Hero?

I want to talk about the concepts of heroes, saints, and prophets. You know, folks like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ. It seems people find figures such as these kind of intimidating – they’ve taken such powerful or extreme measures in following what I’d describe as the “spirit of love” – that the rest of us have a hard time seeing even a possibility of really imitating them. Last night I had a conversation about having a vision for one’s life – it can be difficult to decide...

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Generosity, Love, and Need

While in Haiti, I was given one of the Reflection Circles books in Creole. My favorite story in it is a story about Generosity, Love, and Need, taken from Plato’s “Symposium”. In short, what happens is this: A god named Generosity is at a party, and eats his fill, and drinks ’til he falls into a drunken sleep. Along comes the goddess Need, who figures what she really needs is to have a child with Generosity. So while Generosity is sleeping, she makes love with him, and conceives a child, who is named Love. Love takes...

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