Friday, September 12, 2008

What do Hurricanes Ike, Hanna, Gustav and Faye Have in Common?

There are times I feel very lucky to been in a country as relatively well off as Nicaragua (no extremely catastrophic natural disasters to affect every corner of the country in almost 10 years!).

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

The Dominican Republic isn't far behind.

They both occupy the island of Hispaniola and they both have been hit by successive hurricanes Faye, Gustav, Hanna and Ike in the space of a few weeks.

They also both have NPH homes for orphaned and abandoned children and those homes are struggling to meet the needs of the children and their surrounding communities in the wake of such disaster.

For more information and ways you can help, go to Following is a letter about the desperate situation from Father Rick in Haiti.

The NPH truck of water and supplies.

"Hello to all,

With much difficulty and facing raging nature in the form of winds and rains and flash floods we were able to get to Gonaives to help the sisters of Mother Teresa who are friends of ours as of 20 years they have sent many children to our orphanage over the years and we have helped them with many medical cases.

Some of their patients drowned in their house and the sisters were on the roof for 3 days unable to come down.

In any case we made it to Gonaives with 5 truckloads of help.

(We supplied) Mostly drinking water which is rare we went with 21,000 servings of water it is prepared like a glass of water in a small plastic bag.

We brought a ton of food and dry clothes and a pump, generator and gas to pump the water out of the compound.

We left last night but got caught between 2 raging rivers and spent the night in the trucks wondering what would happen to us and how we would cross but we fought our way through mud and waters today and made it to Port-au-Prince where all the bridges around our hospital are destroyed and there is massive flooding in parts of Port-au-Prince, and cabaret it is a very tragic situation.

As you know our orphanage had extensive damage but no one was harmed we will be without electricity for a few months I am sure.

As you know we had the effects of hurricane Ike last night so even though we left Gonaives it is flooded again to 3 meters as i write and by cell phone we know the sisters are back on the roof.

Tropical storms Faye, Gustav, Hanna and Hurricane Ike have displaced about 1,000,000 people in Haiti due to floods from a government source I heard today.

Best regards your prayers are appreciated.

fr rick"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hot Day

hot sleepy kittens

It's so hot today not even the kittens can stand it when one body part touches another.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Staple of Beans

Dried Beanstalk

Beans and rice (called Gallo Pinto here in Nicaragua) are at least one meal a day, if not two for pretty much everyone. The kids at the orphanage don't feel like they've eaten adequately during the day if they don't have it.

On the new property where we're making the new home for the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage, we're also using the property for agriculture, including watermelon, squash and beans!

The rainy season is June through October and everything is growing like crazy. A group of teenage boys living on the property during their year of service harvested these beanstalks from the fields and after drying them on black sheets of plastic, set about to beat the beans out of their pods.

Beating Beans
NPH teenagers who are currently living on the farm hit the piles with sticks.

It's a time and labor intensive process, but for the beans grown, sold and consumed here in Nicaragua, it's how it's done because of cheap labor.

Beans and Pods

Once the beans pods are thoroughly smashed, the bits of stalk and pod have to be cleaned out by hand. Another time intensive step.

Liberated Beans!
Cleaned Beans

It sounds like a long and boring process and it generally is, but the fact is that in poor agricultural areas, these people aren't watching TV, or listening to music, or reading books. This is what they do, day in day out, all day.

Farm Kitchen
Cooking beans over an open fire (but closed kitchen)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fun with Photo Editing!

Citrus in Color

Can you tell which one is real a real Nicaraguan fruit?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where in the World is Singapore (Seriously!)

So I know what you need now that you're back at work after a long weekend! A new addictive game (if you're nerdy like me that is). Unfortunately I can't embed it directly in the blog because my column width is too small, but if you're interested in the world in general, click through!

I eventually made it to level 12, but I don't think it counts when the only reason I know where Brunei is now, is because I've played this game!

Monday, September 1, 2008