Monday, March 29, 2010


Originally uploaded by gowithflo

This is a photo from Lakou's
Pefomance Zonbi back in November of last year.
There are a few of us working to get Lakou here
sometime this year so we are doing all kinds
of fundraising. If anyone out there is interested in organizing a benefit for Lakou please let me know.
They are incredible!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

mid febuary photos

a clinic that M.E.S.S set up ,you can see doctors sitting with patients and others waiting in the back ground to be seen
locals passing time in the evening
ivy had brought art supplies to share with local artists that had lost theirs in the earthquake , she kept some supplies to have art time with neighborhood youth
jerri above in center with the work crew installing the canvas on the dome frame of bumi sahats birthing clinic

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Early Days here in Haiti

Thank you Thank you Thank you!

I just want to send a big thank you to all of you who donated to support MESS's
incredible endeavors.
Because of your support MESS has been able to provide free medicine, primary health care
and mental health support to the Jacmel communities affected by the earthquake.

So far, we have raised almost $600 and still wish to make our goal of $35oo for MESS.

Thanks to: Anandi Wonder and Andrew McGarrell for their individual donations and to The Firefly and Miss Ruth in Chicago for setting up 2 successful benefits.
The more benefits the merrier!

This has been a hell of a week!

I have been to numerous meetings and have been able to successfully lay the foundation work for Bumi Sehat's Health Education program. We recently recruited over 50 women to become peer health educators from MESS and they have already coordinated themselves into the 6 respective groups and found a space to meet in!
Way to go ladies!!
Many thanks to the hardworking Bumi Sehat/MESS planning committee:
Darline, Ania, Esther, Dadine, Nicole and Diana.
You are a force to be reckoned with!

I had a meeting this week with Fanm Deside, a women's anti violence organization. They have agreed to train the MESS volunteers for the Bumi Sehat's sexual violence workshops.
They have over 350 active members in the Jacmel area and provide vast support to abused women including hospital visits, provide legal representation and host educational workshops on this serious and important issue.
Sadly, violence against women and girls is an ever pervasive problem here in Haiti.
Thanks to organizations like Fanm Deside and AHDESSE, a men's anti violence organization, for doing this amazing and often difficult work. They are an affialate of Kay Fanm, the organization Magalie founded.

The Health Ed workshops for Bumi Sehat include:
family planning, healthy pregnancy, breastfeeding, nutrition, joyful parenting and sexual violence.
This Sat we will have a meeting to finalize the workshops with 5 American midwives, 5 Haitian midwives and a couple of social workers!
The first three workshops will be held this week starting Monday morning.
They have also started their bi-weekly prenatal clinics up in the dome.
Unfortunately, I will not be here to attend any of them but am so pleased to have worked hard to get them going.

As I get ready to leave I am feeling the strong ties and connections I have made and the blossoming of new and old friends alike.
I look forward to returning here to work and to also enjoy time with my wonderful friends.
I am also looking forward to seeing all of my friends back at home, I miss you very much and am excited to share stories with each other.

Before I leave I am hoping to write two more posts about the vigils held during the month anniversary and about the commemoration for Magalie, Ann Marie and Myriam that I attended on March 8th in Port au Prince. I will keep you posted!!

Until then,
xo, Ivy Jeanne

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

early febuary photos

ivy on the haitian border with 150 pounds of relief supplies and personal gear waiting for a friend to pick us up and head to port-au-prince
one of many tent encampments on the outskirts of port-au-prince
jerri worked with a family that we stayed with in constructing a latrine,a group effort that filled an entire day,wish i had a photo of the finished job,cause it looked really good
waffle being shown around the town (all 4 photos shot around febuary 6th-8th)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jerry's Newest Long Update

So I wrote most of this like 3 days ago but I am just posting it now.

Hey there. So heres some updates on what I have been up to, a part of and seen lately. A couple days ago there was a knock at the door of Bumi Sehat and so I answered it. About ten people were all making a human stretcher to carry a man who had been in a motorcycle wreck up the street. I was like Holy Shit! Let them in and some of the medical folks here went to work on him. He had bad road rash all over his arms and legs. There was this one spot though on his thigh that was gashed open and some of his muscle was ripped. It looked pretty nasty.

Everybody worked on cleaning his wounds, and I got to help grab med. supplies and tape bandages on him. And I went ahead and rolled up some baby clothes and put it in his mouth while the wounds were being cleaned so that he could bite down on something and scream. I had never been a part of any kind of bloody medical response like that before. Someone offered to drive him to the hospital after the initial cleaning and bandaging here so that he could get his leg stitched up.

He’ll be okay. But taxiing people around town on moto’s is how a lot of folks make there money here though and now he will be out of work and possibly out of a bike now and that’s probably gonna be the worst part of it for him, more so than the physical pain. I really hope things end up okay for him.

Yesterday was the opening ceremony for the birth center dome. People from local government came and spoke. Sixty women who MESS helped to bring and translate for came by for prenatal appointments. The coolest part was that the night before the Haitian crew getting paid to work up there worked for 27 HOURS!!! To make the place look good. They are really proud to be a part of something for there community and be able to get some doe for there families in the process. 27 HOURS. Those guys just have a groove going that is unstoppable.

To celebrate a whole truck load of the crew went to the beach and got a lot of bottles of liquor, shish kabob, coconuts. We went swimming and were just generally really loud and really ROWDY. It was nice to get to hang out with the work crew out of the worksite. How open everybody is to take you out and have a good time, when you can barely speak and you are a weird foreigner is the best. It’s a whole different type of friendship that forms when that is the case, and I am happy to have made those types of friends in my life. It was awesome times on a beautiful tropical beach. Jacmel!!!

We visited some water falls called Basin Bleu. It’s a series of blue, blue, blue pools that lead to one major waterfall that is really powerful, and gorgeous. You can jump off some rocks near the top of the falls about 25-30 feet up. Ivy, Zacha, me, and Michael all went and met up with a new friend Cara. The motorcycle rides we took up the mountain and back to go to the falls was all part of the fun to. What a good view of the city from up there.

Bumi Sehat had it’s first birth today on site. Not quite at the birthing clinic but at the house where everyone stays. Nadedj (one of the women in the work crew) who is always bringing folks down to the house for they and their kids ailments came on down with the woman. She had labored all night and was almost ready to push when she got here. There was definetly not enough time to get her back up the hill to the dome. So right in the living room on a mattress with the assistance of two volunteer midwives she quicly and peacefully birthed her third healthy baby.

When I arrived at the house to work today they were cleaning up the blood and getting ready to get her upstairs to lay down through the night and breastfeed and spend time with her timoun (child). The baby is totally adorable. It was a great thing to walk in and hear.

Now are you ready for this. I GOT A FUCKING BIKE! Yes. Me and this kid Stanley fixed it up today. Reggie hooked me up with his old bike and I rode around a little today. I’ve been shredding this city to pieces with it. As soon as it was fixed I took an epic 5 mile ride to the beach through hilly, bumpy terrain and met folks at a beach I had not been to before. Then after swimming, eating grilled conch, and drinking a wee bit of scotch I biked back…FAST! EPIC! I have been aching to ride a bike and I’m doing my best to make a few of my own gapping potholes in the street.

Well that’s all for today folks. Take care. Jerry

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Good Days

So I have to talk about my great day yesterday. I took a break from the work I was doing to head over to the beach and do some reading. On the way to the beach I stopped off at a futball/soccer game on the street, watched that for a while and talked with some local kids. But when I turned the corner onto the sand of the beach I saw that for almost a mile up the beach there was soccer match after soccer match being played at the backside of the sand. One ball came dashing towards the ocean after a faulty kick and I got to save the day and catch it before it hit the water and throw it back.

Slowly I walked up the beach watching each game for a minute. The lighting was perfect you could have filmed a cinematic masterpiece. The sun was going down over the mountain range that jets into the ocean to the west and south was the expansive ocean North were the soccer matches and East was another mountain range filled with some homes and a huge trash fire on the beach, ready to light up the beach as sunset quickly approached. Of course burning garbage is kind of gross, but huge fires on the beach are a pleasing site. Beneath me were the black sands and smoothed stones, and curling sea snail shells that line the city beach. Pigs and dogs roamed around digging around for something to eat, and lovers sat together loving each other.

I parked myself on one of the ol’ beat up rowboats that sit on the sand to start reading and looked around at my backdrop of Jacmel like damn this place is killer. I took a different way back to the work house than I usually do and talked with a few folks briefly. For dinner we had this unbelievable Kreyol Beef Stew, with a glass of rum of course. Me and one of the other volunteers went back to the beach that night to drink some rum and kick it.

Then on my walk back to my house at night I saw some street goats playing on a staircase, butting heads and jumping from dirt mound to staircase to street to rubble pile, then to the street where two of them squared off for dominance slamming heads pouncing at one another with hooves like ten feet in front of me. The streets were totally empty at this point and the power of the street lights had been shut off and I felt like I was in a post apocalyptic mountain goat habitat. It was wild to watch. Had it really been post apocalyptic I guess I would have speared on to feed my kin but until then it was just fun to watch.

So that was it. Haiti’s awesome. I am actually now posting this two days after the fact. Yesterday and today have been full of stuff to write about as well that I will have to get to another time. Everyone take good care out there and I will see ya soon. Jerry

Sunday, March 7, 2010

MESS, LAKOU and Bumi Sehat

Hello dear friends,

Life here has been full and great, I have not really had the time to update so here it is...

I have been working with MESS, volunteering at their clinics and also as a mental health consultant. They actually implemented one of the ideas I mentioned, which is to set up regular healing circles for different age groups.
We had a meeting on Monday and on Wednesday they had set up a day of healing circles for about 100 children of all ages! It was really successful, I sat with the toddlers in a healing circle in cute little wooden chairs.

The newest project I am working on is bridging Bumi Sehat,the new traditional birthing center from Canada and Indonesia respectively,with Haitian women that are members of MESS. Specifically, women interested in peer counseling in the 5 different focuses Bumi Sehat has designated including: nutrition, family planning, joyful parenting, sexual violence and healthy pregnancy. I organized a meeting that took place last week for the two groups and over 50 women arrived at the dome! It was very exciting, and was also very successful. A few of the women who were present at the meeting have already begun to work side by side to assist in translating for the foreign midwives while they have worked in Jacmel area hospitals. The next step is to meet and plan out how to translate these group ideas into functional groups for Haitian women and where and how often they will take place.

I also helped plan a memorial for Flo that took place last night.It was a truly incredible night. First, we had food, drink, a live band complete with a giant finger piano and banjo and stories shared at the backside of FOSAJ, the art school Flo directed. We then held a vodou ceremony at La Saline,a gay vodou temple here in Jacmel. Their Mambo, Mambo Erez, is a lesbian who also runs 3 halfway houses for GLBT vodouans who no longer live with their families. It was really incredible. We had a candle light vigil in the temple and all held hands in a circle around the alter where we placed photos and other special items belonging to Flo. Yunel, a member of Lakou, sang a beautiful song and Mambo Erez then led the group in several songs of prayer and mourning. We finished off the night back at FOSAJ on the beach drinking Barbancourt and dancing while one of the FOSAJ artists Macarthur started painting a portrait of Flo.

Today I will be going to Port au Prince to attend a Women's March commemorating the lives of Magalie Marcelin, Myriam Merlet and Ann Marie Coriolan, 3 leaders of the women's movement here who lost their lives in the earthquake. I am planning to film this event as it should be yet another incredible day.

Another piece of exciting news is that some of my new friends from Jacmel are coming to the US next month.
The group is called LAKOU performance, they are an all queer dancing, drumming and singing troup. Alot of them are a part of the the gay houngfor at La Saline. Eleven members of Lakou will be in the US for possibly 3 months and I am trying to hook them up with cross country or at least west coast shows. They are coming to SF on April 18th to perform at Dance Mission's Cuba Caribe festival. LAKOU was a part of FOSAJ, but after the earthquake and Flo's death, FOSAJ kicked out all of the queer artists that Flo brought in!

They are now without a space and alot of them without homes. But they
are undeterred and they even practice in the streets! I could use any help in organizing shows for LAKOU across the US. Please get in touch with me if anyone can assist in setting up shows in the US for them, which includes hosting them. So far, they might perform at Thee Parkside in SF at a benefit my mother is setting up for MESS April 25th.

Whew, that's it for now.
Thanks so much for your love and support,

Ivy Jeanne

Jerry's newest update

Hello there.

None of us have been on the blog tip recently so here goes one. A lot has happened and changed and we are still crazy busy. I got CRRRAAAZZZY sick. Worse than I’ve ever been in my life. Seriously. Vomiting so hard that my body would propel upwards off the bed into the air with each mighty spew. I needed i.v.’s, anal suppositories and shots of Tylenol in my ass cheek. I had a 102 fever at one point. And I was pretty much horizontal for three and a half days. Whoa!!!

Luckily, I had two awesome supportive friends and five nurses and midwives hooking up the medical work. I Couldn’t have picked a better place to get sick than at Bumi Sehat, the birth center opening up in Jacmel,Haiti of which our group has taken some active roles in. I would have never gotten that treatment at home without racking up a 5 grand medical bill. Here I am in Haiti getting free and professional medical care. You’d think it was Canada. Well, with the continued occupation of Jacmel by the Canadian military it just might be the next one.

Now that that is over I have taken to returning to the birth center and am going to start building shelves for the medical supply room. It feels good to have something to do. I was feeling really homesick while I was vomit sick and uninspired but now that I am back in the game and have a project to get down on I have felt a lot better about being here for another couple weeks. And though I have critiques about the organization itself I ultimately think that it will be a positive force here. Today, with the networking done by MESS (the student group we have been working with) for Bumi Sehat, 35 women were seen for pre-natals. Ivy did an excellent job of getting the two groups connected so that they can begin what will hopefully be a long-term mutual collaboration. Way to go Ivy.

I got to see the awesome builder crew up at the dome comprised of one other foreigner and a group of Haitian guys that are getting paid to do a lot of the labor and building. What they can finish in the four days while I was sick is so awesome. A 9 foot deep by 5 foot wide hole for a water cistern, cement work around the entire dome to prevent flooding, and the supply room in the dome is almost fully done. The guys up there are totally cool. They were happy to see that I was better and tonight we all played music, hung out, and they even got me to dance, a feat that few have achieved.

Sadly, Waffle returned to the states. I have missed his presence. There is definetly a bond that forms when you travel out of your element long term with somebody, and it’s really too bad to not have him around for the remainder of my trip. Luckily, we live in the same region and will be kicking it soon enough.

The memorial service for Flo is tomorrow and I am sure that Ivy will have beautiful things to say about it afterwards and I will let her give the details. So keep watch for that blog.

I still feel that Haiti has given me more personally than I will be able to give back to it. This place is great. I already feel like it has changed my life, and my whole perspective on shit. Glad to be here, in these final two and a half weeks. If anyone knows about a boat I can catch some where off the island back to Florida let me know. JERRY