Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Humor in Haiti

This is my 7th trip to Haiti as a Rabbit Project volunteer and as usual my trip itinerary went out the window in less than 12 hours. The weather is pleasantly warm ! and the hurricanes are someone else's problem this year so far. The work has been good and frustrating at times, but making continual progress.Some exciting opportunities are looming and I am hopeful. Haiti as usual has me laughing again. With Clinton's big push to renew business in Haiti all the hotels and island hoppers are gearing up for the competition of hosting all of us wonderful do gooders. I now have a beautiful, brand new, fingerprint free, flat screen TV in my room with a high tech battery backup system and remote with so many options. It even has cable. I was really looking forward to CNN in my room instead of the lobby TV to see if hurricanes were coming. Alas the only images I get is a crystal clear migrating "NO SIGNAL !" ( yes with the exclamation point). The real excitement came at midnight , 2 AM and 4 AM when the electricity switched back and forth between the government power and the hotel generator ( a regular occurrence despite government upgrades).This set off the battery back up. Beep beep beep..... In the dark without glasses I didn't stand a chance finding the camouflaged power switch and unplugging it from the wall only made it worse. I never would have thought I would miss the old TVs with rabbit ears and 2 channels with corduroy like static, badly dubbed in a foreign language. The rabbits win every time.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Haiti Nov. 2009

Today finds me back in Haiti anticipating the multitude of meetings we have lined up with potential funders for several rabbit production projects. Herve and I have been also discussing chocolate production. He has been buying cacao beans and making chocolate bars. This last week in San Francisco I met with the staff of TCHO chocolate (www.tcho.com) and learned about the fermentation and transformation of cacao into chocolate. Someday Herve is hoping that TCHO will purchase beans from Makouti. Haiti is bustling with activity. There is a Sof'n free shampoo promotional event going on at the Roi Christophe Hotel and loads of charity workers increasing their efforts to help. The excitement is palpable. I am looking forward to visiting the rabbit projects which have been progressing nicely over the last three years. Our shipment of cage wire and water bottle nipples has cleared customs (YEAH!!!!!). This will put another 250 units in production. Several new projects are lined up just awaiting final budget revisions and launching. I am finding that our American obsession with paperwork is not an easily transferable skill. The good news is that it has showed us that in Quartier Morin the rabbit producers have increased the number of rabbits per producer by 300% since 2.5 years ago. The rabbits are healthier too. All we need is more Farmer to Farmer rabbit volunteers. Soon I hope to have a power point available on the project.