(post from yesterday … no internet till now)

Power and wireless are problems. Much of yesterday was charge and wait, charge and wait. The solar panels on both buildings are getting an unusually high workout. As for wireless, I wrote my usual blog post in the morning, but was unable to transmit a few kilobytes of text all day, either through the school’s wireless or my own USB modem. Luckily we had enough power for both classes, though we had to change between the treehouse and library outlets a few times. I’m thinking the portable solar panel idea was a good one, at least for the XOs.

The morning began with a walk to the market with Beth and Etienne. Haiti is truly beautiful, with views pretty much everywhere you look, particularly up here in the mountains of Lagonav. We met many people along the rocky dirt road, including Etienne’s mother, who has a bakery. We looked inside to see rectangular strips of dough lined up and waiting for the oven, which they called a “fou.” I said, “like crazy?” and everything in the bakery started laughing, nodding their heads. The market itself was pretty small, though packed with goods, including Coca-Cola and toilet paper. I bought a Coke and drank it right down, which was very welcome after our long hot walk. We went back on three motorcycle taxis, each 50 gouds or a little over a dollar US.

Back home, I tried to connect and charge again, then went to have spaghetti with Robert and his wife Janose. Each day my Creole is improving. I’m really enjoying my talks with Robert, Janose, and their three daughters, Shoodlie (8), Lorry (12), and Sophia (13). They seem to appreciate the effort I’m taking to speak Creole. It’s making me want to learn more and more, because I have many more things to say!

Today’s children class was led by Benaja. He did a great job. Sitting there listening, I began to feel that this latest effort is going to be a great success. I was also pleased to have a break from four hours of talking. I spent my time taking photos and helping when there was a problem with one of the laptops.

The mentor class went well. We covered the paint canvas and toolbox. Since I was afraid of losing power, I sped through the entire lesson at once, rather than the usual “here’s this, now try” approach. I’m not sure if retention was a strong, as we saw several mentors trying only the last few things, but I really had no choice. The power ran out shortly after my presentation.

We had our breakdown talk at Margarette’s house while Beth got her hair braided. Bill, Benaja, Beth, and I talked about the many tasks still to be done, particularly establishing the communications network using Jabber and encouraging the mentors to communicate every day.

The day ended with a challenge . . . my self-powered flashlight was stuck in my blue LL Bean bottle. I had foolishly slammed it in there to save luggage space. Magarette, Janose, and her three girls tried valiantly to get it out for a good half hour, then Janose thought of putting her purse strap inside and pulling.

I showered, tried to call my wife, then went to sleep while the family and neighbors watched a Haitian movie on Robert’s Mac outside.

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