I suppose looking back one of the most interesting places we visited was the Haitian island of Ile a Vache and the village of Caille Coq. 2 or 3 nights would have been my preference but during our heading back to Jamaica, Gaby apparently felt a slower pace would create a more relaxed vibe. Between the 2 of them it did not work... tempers were flaring as usual. It did allow us to get a little more acquainted with one young man there. Jean was one of a dozen or more locals who came to the boat in dugout canoes as soon as we anchored to seek work of any kind. There is virtually no economic opportunities for people living in this lovely little village, Caille Coq. The visiting cruising sailboats are about it.
Jean first expressed his desire to be our guide. He soon after returned to show his artwork. Another younger guy Pepe talked me into having him do my laundry... It had been a long time since I'd washed by hand some clothes back during our 24 day stay in Barahona, DR. I was denied doing a load on Arne's catamaran by Gaby, though I have no doubt had I asked Arne himself it would not have been a problem. He bag I gave Pepe was small and he happily agreed to a $5 fee. A few days later Gaby arranged with another guy she openly disliked and even expected having it done for what I'd paid...$5 rather than the usual $6 per load the cruising guide mentions. So once this guy, William I believe, agreed to do them, Gaby hauled up 2 huge bags of laundry... There was at least 5 times as much clothes as I'd given Pepe! William took it and even brought them back later the same day as Gaby was insistent on that... They were a bit damp...as mine had been, but Gaby was just enraged with this guy for not properly drying their clothes. OK OK...this is about Jean..
First of all there is no running water or electricity in Caille Coq. Cooking is done primarily with wood or charcoal fires. They have a well in the village but water must all be treated with chemicals. Some homes also have rainwater collection. Candles are the main lighting in the homes. A very few in the village have generators for periods of electricity. Children do not entertain themselves with digital devices or TV... They play outside. Adults tend to all have mobile phones. Only the Port Morgan Hotel has Internet which is via satellite and marginal. The locals, other than staff are not generally allowed to come to the hotel so it's usually a 6 mile boat trip to the mainland town of Le Cayes for Internet. Owning a computer is only a dream for these guys.
I ended up arranging with Jean to walk with me to the market in near by Madame Bernard village and visit the orphanage as well. Jean is born and raised out here but has attended University on the mainland. He wishes to continue an education toward becoming an electrician but can not afford the cost. He currently is a mason by trade. Not that he works...even the extensive earthquake reconstruction efforts tend to be about who you know for being hired. He talked a lot about his dream to get a passport which would allow him to travel for work in a large number of Caribbean countries. This would cost $150 US.. That's about 1/3rd of the average annual income in Haiti.. He doesn't see it happening as it's a struggle just to earn enough money to live on. Now, I'm low income to be sure by US standards but... I'm wealthy beyond compare to Jean I suppose. I told him he should try to set up a Paypal account and maybe I can put some donation links on my website etc? I also said I would look into crowd funding websites I've heard about. I've already looked into PayPal... Haiti is a place PayPal has locked out of opening accounts.. I looked into at least one crowd funding site but soliciting for donations is not allowed in any way, shape or form? I suppose I could just donate $150 and possibly change jean's life? But I had hoped to set up something that would clearly change his life. 15 people giving $10 would get him a passport. Should I try to raise money for Jean?
What a sad, greedy world we live in... The war industry spent something like 1,735 billion dollars worldwide in 2012... Estimates are that it would cost 135 billion dollars to end poverty worldwide!
This is Jean
Some of Jean's acrylic paintings