Haiti Trip

•March 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ll be heading to Haiti in a couple of days assisting with some medical missions work through Grace Chapel. Not sure how much access to internet we’ll be having, although since the guest house in Mirebalais isn’t finished yet we will be staying at the Wozo Hotel, a pretty nice place from the looks of it, so if there is any type of internet access I’ll do my best to post some short summaries and updates while in country via this blog. There will most likely be shorter and more frequent updates via my twitter feed.

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Are the PC’s days numbered?

•March 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have actually been giving a very similar prediction over the past couple of months. Wonder if it will prove true or not…

Platform shifts…

Lost Tools of Learning

•November 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Just finished reading Dorothy Sayer’s The Lost Tools of Learning, an essay presented in 1947 proposing a revision of modern education methods. Sayers is quite the interesting historical figure in her own right and this essay is quite the proposal for educational revamping. I was pointed to it by a talk I’ve heard by Douglas Wilson as part of his Integrated Life series, entitled “Education that’s Christian All the Way Down”. Where he discusses this proposal as the motivation behind Logos School.

While I, like Sayers, would consider myself a laudator temporis acti, find her arguments compelling for a return to a more medieval form of education. It’s a short essay, I think everyone who has any inclination to consider the most appropriate educational constructs for our children should read this and form their own opinions. While a “medieval” method would probably be laughed out of consideration by the majority of today’s populus, I would challenge potential naysayers to carefully consider Sayer’s arguments and provide appropriate rebuttals. I myself am a product of public education, I feel I turned out alright, but upon entering the university I did find that there were many areas of thought and study in which I feel I should have and ample opportunity to at the very least been given categories through which to approach novel problems.

Sayer’s words are as potent and timely in contemporary educational debates as they were in the setting of 1940’s England. Rather than dismiss the argument as antiquated and simply the rantings of an old classicist, let us engage and learn from the sage advice and insight of someone who has thought long and hard about the foundations and presuppositions we blindly take for granted nowadays.

Haitian Creole

•November 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve embarked on a new project, being dissatisfied with much of the available content (or lack thereof) of Haitian Creole language resources online, I’ve decided to create my own. Now I’m not a Creole expert, but as I travel through the resources I am able to find online and in my local libraries (which isn’t much at the moment) I will be doing my best to sift through and present in an effective method resources to assist others in their learning of the Haitian Creole language.

http://haitiancreole.wordpress.com/

Haiti Recap Part II

•November 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I finished Part I at the end of our visit at the Port Salude orphanage. On our way back from Port Salude we took a trip into the hills to Ananicent (a bit north of Torbeck). This orphanage had been devastated by recent flooding, so they were working on building a second floor on top of the current building – to increase the orphanages capacity and also serve as a safe place during times of higher water levels.

Orphanage Construction

Orphanage Construction

We followed by visiting the orphans, who were staying at the school a couple of minutes away while their building was being completed where were treated to the orphans signing “Somebody prayed for me.” As we began treating these orphans, we noticed a viral infection that had seemed to sweep through all the orphans, many had ear aches, and many were malnourished. We found out that many of these orphans were new to orphanage and had just recently been taken off of the streets. We treated what we could and left a lot of hand sanitizer to try to prevent even more extensive spreading of the viral problem.

Our last day consisted of visiting two more orphanages the first of which was northwest of Les Cayes in an area called Dibilejee. After crossing a river in our van, we arrived at the well established orphanage, school, and church complex. Throughout the trip it was easy to see the areas that El Shaddai had been present at for longer periods, the orphans were visibly more healthy, happier, and energetic. This orphanage didn’t seem to be plagued by many of the very contagious problems of the others, few ringworm and scabies. Carla sang “hokie pokie,” with the children and we blew up exam gloves as balloons for the kids.

Carla teaching "Hookie Pookie"

We then traveled through some very windy mountain roads to Big House. It has been difficult for El Shaddai to build ministry services in this area. There was a church and orphanage but still a very strong voodoo presence with a local houngan (witch doctor). The road to Big House was a challenge, steep at parts, always narrow, and winding around many obstacles and livestock. The children here were in pretty rough shape; most were very quiet and seemed downcast. While we were attending to the children a rain storm came out of nowhere, drenching the area. This made our trip home very interesting, forcing us to get out of the van and walk across some deep ditches so that the van could cross without slipping and falling in.

This wrapped up our November of 2008 Trip, my appologies for taking a year to get any real content up. We’ll be going back this coming March, this time to visit four orphanages in Gonaives. Let me know if you would like any more information about this trip or how you can help.

The 00’s Music

•November 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I highly recommend heading over to NPR Music and checking out all their Decade in Music articles. There you will find the All Songs Considered episodes where the good folks at NPR have revisited the decades most influential and important recordings. Great material. I found myself taking a trip through my memory as they brought some of the decades great music back to my mind.

Overview of Latest Haiti Reading

•November 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Philippe Girard – Paradise Lost: Haiti’s Tumultuous Journey from Pearl of the Caribbean to Third World Hotspot

I found this book to be an excellent and very accessible overview of Haiti’s early and more recent history. Girard often interjects his own interpretation and commentary of the historical facts, which is both very helpful in thinking about how the circumstances and various happenings influenced subsequent history and at the same time somewhat constricting as it inhibits the reader from accomplishing his own interpretations and predictions. Girard is a very fluid writer and what could have been a very dry retelling of facts, dates, and people turns into a very engaging story about the very tumultuous journey of a country whose history remains an enigma to the majority of the world.

Ralph Pezzullo – Plunging into Haiti: Clinton, Aristide, and the Defeat of Diplomacy

This is a part of the Adst-Dacor Diplomats and Diplomacy Series which tells the stories of various diplomacy missions and the persons behind them. I greatly enjoyed this read, very easy read, very well written. The specific diplomatic exchange that Pezzullo seeks to describe surrounds the attempt to reinstate Aristide after his first expulsion from Haiti by Raul Cedras. I was a couple of chapters in before I realized that I was reading a historical account, perhaps it was the specific situation, perhaps the writing, but I laughed and gaped at the incredibility of the account; truth is truly stranger than fiction. The story was told by alternating chapters of the contemporary account of Aristide and Clinton and chapters telling the early history of Haiti. The early accounts were told with the same edge of the seat intense narration. My main criticism of this book was that it was written with a very clear objective and from a very closed perspective. Ralph Pezzullo is the book’s main character, Lawrence Pezzullo’s, son; a fact which may have limited the retelling of the story to inadvertently place Lawrence in a very unique position of making very few mistakes amidst a sea of inept cohorts. Criticism aside, this was my favorite of the books in this list.

Various – Open Gate: An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry

First off, I am very impressed by this idea and what it sets out to accomplish: the translation and collection of many of Haiti’s most beloved Creole poems. I’m not much of a poetry man, I’ve tried to be and I continue to attempt to expose myself to more and more poetry, but I continually find myself gravitating toward the comfort of prose. So I feel severely inadequate to review a collection of poetry. I have been attempting to progressively teach myself Haitian Creole through what happens to be the only library book on Haitian Creole (circa 1970’s) and various audio lessons (the only decent web source I could find was a geocities site which is now sadly no longer available due to the closing of geocities). I’ve found, albeit from the limited clout of my Creole, that the translations are quite superb. These poems are written by the people of Haiti and that places these accounts on a very interesting level. Seeing through the eyes of many of Haiti’s people is an invaluable resource.

Jeremy D. Popkin – Facing Racial Revolution: Eyewitness Accounts of the Haitian Insurrection

This is a collection of many first-person narratives of the Haitian Revolution. I started reading this, made it through the introduction and start of the first account, and then picked up Paradise Lost and got caught up in that book. I’ll be revisiting this soon and will have a more complete review up in the near future.