Haiti

Haiti is suffering from the massive Jan 12 earthquake and needs our help. Below I've posted some first-hand accounts of the quake from people in Haiti. Please consider a donation to an organization in Haiti. If you would like to give directly to a Haitian family, please contact me (anna.versluis@gmail.com).

Friday, June 09, 2006

The world cup starts tomorrow and everyone is gearing up in Haiti--since the Haitian national team isn't in the World Cup, most Haitians are "fanatiks" of Brazil or Argentina. Many cars these days carry Brazilian or Argentinian flags.I returned to the Geodosy and Cartography Office and UTSIG this morning. I bought a few more aerial photos and a topographic map. I found out that a fair amount of work looking at land cover in the Soliette River basin has been done using the aerial photographs from 1978 and 2002. It's a little discouraging to learn this--the UNDP will be coming out with a report on this land change sometime this year--but it still will be the first time an analysis is done using satellite images as the primary source. I am also trying to look at more than two points in time, which hopefully will give a more detailed view of how land cover has changed. I also found out that as a student I will probably be able to get the digital data for free, or at least a reduced price. This is very good news. UTSIG has a lot of data and some very helpful GIS technicians; it's impressive to see how much work they've done.I took a taxi to the RNDDH office and greeted everyone and ate with them--a delicious meal of passionfruit juice, rice with vegetables mixed in it and a sauce with conch meat, bell peppers and onions. The RNDDH cook, Sister E, is one of the best cooks around. I had my laptop with me so I showed our wedding photos to some of the staff.I spent the afternoon at RNDDH making phone calls, emailing and working at my computer and then got a ride home with Pierre. Woni made some juice from a granadilla that was amazingly delicious. Chrismene also picked a big corossol from a tree in their yard she had planted a few years ago; I imagine she'll make juice from it tomorrow. One of the best treats of being in Haiti is all the delicous fresh juice!

I spent some time on my "private balcony" reading the New Yorker when I got home--reading about a very different world of renting a 5-bedroom apartment with a private garden in Manhattan. D had a "step-up" (graduation of sorts) today as she will be entering 9th grade next year. She goes to an American school so the system of grades is the same that we are used to. Yesterday the family found out that N had passed her entrance exam to get into the same school and today we found out D passed her exam too. I asked what sort of exam they could possibly give to a 4-year-old and was told she had to know her colors and shapes, etc. I wonder if it is not more of a screening process of the family than the student. In any case, the school is quite difficult to get into, I hear.I haven't been able to get in touch with the professors at Damien (the ag and environment university). I was hoping to visit the school tomorrow but will probably hold off on that. I need to take a trip to my study area but need to find people to go with me. I will ask the folks at Damien, at the Bureau de Protection Civil (the Haitian FIMA).

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