The Advance Party – Week Two – 19th Nov 2012

This week Ailish highlights the power of music and reports an increase in Cholera cases on the island.
‘Has it already been two weeks and at the same time only two weeks? Bringing a guitar has turned into a fantastic idea for many reasons. Thanks to Breretons Music Academy in Loughrea for the donation of the guitar and Paula in Tullamore for the case. We have a music session every day and what started out as my practicing has evolved into lessons for some of the children. A local musician, Luionel, came by today and taught me the notes for some Haitian songs. We will have live music for the upcoming Christmas concert and some of the staff can play a tune or two for the singsong afterwards. For concert practice today we brought all the children in the orphanage and spent about 2 hours practicing, it was mayhem! Everyone is taking an interest so its lots of fun.
I have also joined the choir, I got ‘ volunteered’ the first week, as a joke, but it is a great way to meet some people outside of the orphanage. Luionel is teaching me a few chords to play along with their two guitars and drums. I’ll tell you all next week how it goes. He can turn a tune on anything and I am talking to him about setting up music lessons in the local area and the orphanage if he is willing to take it on. Plus the choir really has potential and with a bit of work maybe they could enter some competitions so a Music teacher is badly wanted for a short stint!
The consultation room is done, painted and reorganised, with the new shelving and bed and all cleaned up it looks great. We are ready to start the new shelving in the Medical Centre and the stores are sorted although I’m sure all the new equipment that came in on Wednesday needs a tidy. The general approach on storage seems to be an all out effort to make it as chaotic as possible and no inventory list. The room for February is setup only to put on a mosquito net and order the supplies.
With the rain this week cholera cases are rising, we went from 5 for November to 15 in two days. We even had our first middle of the night call. There was heavy rain today so we will have more problems. Damien has done a brilliant job on getting supplies to the area, and through him Soul of Haiti have supplied a lot of emergency relief , not only in IAV but around Les Cayes and Cavillion also.
Fr John covered the cholera prevention program when we were out at Cayou for mass last Sunday. It is the little island you can see from Madame Bernard and was badly hit by the hurricane-the condition of housing has deteriorated massively.
More rain as we head into Week 3. Arts and Crafts activities start Monday afternoon while I will spend the mornings on project work. I’m sure I have more to tell, like having all the children on Skype with Ireland, facepainting etc but the electricity goes off here shortly so Bon swa tout moun (Good night everyone)! Will be in touch again soon.’

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