The Advance Party – Week Five – 10th December 2012

Ailish’s final week saw a much needed equipment upgrade for the medical centre and the inevitable sad goodbyes.
‘Sunday morning is a quick meeting about what jobs are left to do and we have the first round of goodbyes as Damien heads back to Ireland for Christmas. As he headed off the rest of us headed to Sable Blanc, pou posè (to relax) after our busy week. We spent the day down there and the local lads had organised a picnic and music. In the afternoon an investor from the US came to discuss developing the area. The committee want to keep the beach open for everyone to use and run festivals and different events here but the development project would turn it into a private resort. It will be interesting to see what will happen. I agree with the committee but it’s easy talk, I’m not putting money on the table.
On Monday it was back to work on the stores to try and get these areas organised before we go. We are up and down the hill all day trying to sort out photocopiers for Fr John only to finally discover we didn’t take the right one out of the container yet so he will have to wait until January. Trish was co-opted onto the Swimming expedition. Roselie played a drum beat on the boat all the way and Johannah was shouting with excitement while Sebastien hopped in like he travelled by boat every day.
Three of the staff from the Irish Embassy bar came down for the night so we brought them for the tour. The boat captain had to come and get us as the lads spent so much time at the orphanage playing and talking with the children, they put in a great visit. They were staying in Port Morgan and we went over for a look and a swim in the pool. It has much nicer rooms but is not as handy to get around as Abaka Bay. Also the lads let us use one of the rooms and have a shower – hot water and a power shower- oh bliss!
We decided to give the staff in the orphanage a small Christmas present for their families as there is really a lot of stuff in stores. That gave us a chance to find out a bit more about them and we had the craic over one budding romance. Between that and Trish being here this week it is keeping the fete atmosphere going.
One job we hadn’t a chance to sort was the Medical Centre so on Wednesday and Thursday we tackled that. We have lots of new equipment but the Administrator wouldn’t let us change it until he checked with the Director in Les Cayes. Each item has to be accounted for even though the state of the stuff down there wouldn’t even get in the door of the worst hospital in Ireland. We managed to get some work done and just in time as the new bed was used the very next morning for delivery of a beautiful baby girl.
Thursday afternoon was supposed to be volleyball practice but it was cancelled so we visited some of our friends to make our goodbyes. We had a little going away party and there may have been singing and dancing but that’s all I’m saying.
It is Friday morning, the bags are packed and we are running around doing the last few little jobs while we are waiting for our lift. The goodbyes will be sad but we have already promised to return as soon as we can. Our friends here are sending their regards to the crew from Ireland and we have reassured them ye will all be back. That’s it from Ille a Vache. Tonight we are staying in Port-au-Prince with some of the Irish gang up there so the rest of the trip report is officially censored!!!! Mesi anpil (Thank you so much) to everyone for all your kind comments and well wishes and we hope ye enjoyed the updates. See you all soon.’

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