Monday, April 30, 2012


The team from the IOM went up to Las Terrenas last week with my friend Dieudonne and met with some of the Haitian ministers in town. Dieudonne reported that one of them said that I had not done anything for the Association of Haitians in Las Terrenas. And that he, himself, did not want to return to Haiti.

He said that then , one of the women from the congregation stood up and said "but I , I want to return to Haiti."

And then Dieudonne took up my cause and said that I had ORGANIZED the visit from the IOM.. that these people from the Capital in their bright shiny new van with the important logo, were only in town because I had gotten them there with my work.. and that I work EVERY DAY.. for the Haitians here.  He said that the folks from the IOM nodded their heads in agreement.

And then he said that the IOM promised that ALL the Haitians in Las Terrenas who want to go back to Haiti, will go back to Haiti. With papers.. and everything!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Food Aid Needed

We are asking that food aid be delivered here in the Domnican Republic through the Haitian churches.

We have a new outbreak of cholera in Santiago among the Haitian population.

We have had kawisikoor in Samana.

 The African Methodist Episcopal Zionist Church in Las Terreanas is the largest international church serving this population.

Rice, Beans, Oil, canned fish, sugar, dried milk, peanut butter, crackers

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An now my ancestral home island

My godfather, The Rt Reverand Kenneth Riches, was the Bishop of Linclon. He and his family stayed with us in New Jersey for a summer. Then I went over to tour the land of my grandparents under the care of his daugther, Anne.  We stayed with them at the Bishop's house behind the Cathedral. His youngest son, Christopher, used to sneak us into the church at night to run through the aisles. I called him The Bish.

Monday, April 16, 2012

One of my favorite places

I wanted to take you around my island a bit

to show you about a bit

so walk about with me

I love the border region.. the high central mountains

My favorite little town on this side is called

Matas de Farfan

it is in a flat gorgeous fertile cool high mountain valley

on a straight shoot ashpalt highway

about 20 minutes

to the border


15 minutes on a motor bike

to the border of Haiti

to the ancient capital city of Haiti, Belledaire, surely the most beautiful city in Haiti, untouched by earthquake damage

rents in Matas start at $100 a month

health care is provided by the Dominican State

You are all invited

Aid to Haiti

Before the earthquake, the South East Regional Office of the American Friends Serivice Committee was working on a school kit project here

There were two boxes collected but we we reached an impasse at delivery since the traditional method for delivery had been through visiting Friends and there are few Friends visiting Haiti. I had wished for them to be shipped so that Friends who were making the contributions could also contribute the cost of the shipping.

The Lambi Fund in Haiti, here,  works in the rural areas of Haiti, and shares Quaker values. They, had, at the time, agreed to work with AFSC in receiving donations in Haiti and helping to distribute them.

Although the primary need is always for money, I know that Friends prefer to involve their Meetings and particularly their First Day Schools in direct contact with materials and the recipients.

At the time of our initial discussions, with Patrick Lucien of the Edem Foundation, there was a request from Friends that the children in Haiti correspond with the donors in the United States. While this might be a lovely exchange, I would hope that it is not placed as a requirement upon the recipients, given their circumstances.

I would request that SERO, AFSC and all Quaker Meetings might consider this project as a way to reach out to the people of Haiti.

Thirty six percent of the population of Haiti is under the age of 14, as opposed to 13% of the United States under that age.

Mesi d'avant.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saving Turtle Island

It's only 4 pm and already it is the best birthday EVER

Woke up to snuggles of love ... hugs from all around

went with my fFriend Marcos to Unity

lunched in the Zona

ran into Luis.. MORE hugs

back to my little corner of AYATI here in Sainte Domingue

to read the wonderful news

That HEINEKEN has bought both Presidente (Dominican) and Prestige(Haitian) breweries

and that DIGICEL
from Ireland.. which revolutionized communications in Haiti a few years back by taking it wireless.. has just bought VIVA.. an internet provider there and about second in the market here


tree hugging
goddess worshipping
members of the
eco feminista
teamsters union

who would like to spend their winters in the tropics

come and join me on the hills of SAMANA

think that





many many thanks to all for the generous contributions of gold and rubies and light and love

caught the high wind from Jamaica

now running free

Friday, April 13, 2012

Report on the Current Situation

From the UN director on the ground


Why Other Nations must help Haiti.. NOT the USA

I am much assisted now by the many new readers of the blog from the international team with whom I worked on the narcotrafficante story.  Every morning I can check the out clicks on the blog here and find that they have left me a question by which blog entry they click out from , or sometimes just an uplift.. by referring me back to a time where I was more optimistic and happy.

This morning's question's from Finland, refers back to logistics.. to this post.. here wrutten by Michael Keizer. Now at the time of that post, there was essentially no functioning government in Haiti. Now there is.

Haiti has long suffered from a lack of confidence in its government and a manipulation and sabatoge of its electoral process by the interntional community.

Since I lived and worked in Haiti 30 years ago with a diving operation, I have always watched what was going on there.

When Aristide was elected President in 1990, the very first democratically elected president, I remember listening to a US State Department official being interviewed,, perhaps on NPR. He said something along the lines that the US did not like his rhetoric, his talk that perhaps he was going to nationalize the banks, and that the US was, therefore, going to withhold aid and adopt a "wait and see" attitude.

Now at the time,as it is still,  the Haitian government was almost completely aid dependent - primarily on the US. I do not know the actual percentage but the US has always been the major donor to Haiti. I do not know if the US actually withheld aid to Aristide or was simply very sloooow in paying out or simpy funded the military opposition or let it be known that it would not object to a coup against the fiery leftest priest but within a year, he was gone.

For a full run down on what happened with Aristide, with Clinton, with the behind the scenes politics that went on.. I recommend Michael Deibert's book, Notes from the Last Testament, I have read the book four times and given away ten copies, one to the former ambassador here to the OAS, although I was shocked that he had not already read it.

It should be required reading for everyone who is working in Haiti now.

Rather than fund the government, the United States delivered its funding through various non governmental organizations, who are registered with USAID, and located around the Washington beltway. We refer to them as the Beltway Bandits. They are known for extremely rigourous accounting. For a USAID grant, one must account for every pencil, every jot, every tittle.

What one does not actually have to account for is the efficacy and the results of the project -- simply that the money was not stolen and used for personal use.

I believe this is changing now .. that projects must now show that they actually had some impact - as it is for projects for the World Bank and the International Bank for Development.. but slowly.

The lastest and best idea from the US for the development of Haiti is a Korean textile factory which is to be placed on agricultural land, displace farmers, house the workers with pit toilets without running water, and put the polluted run off from the factory into the surrounding mangrove swamp.

The Haitian intellectuals very calmly and politely point out, in perfect French, in their one remaining daily newspaper, that while indeed they do not wish to appear to be unwelcoming to foreign investment, especially when the International Bank of Development is involved, but the mangrove swamps are an environmental treasure and extremely valuable for tourism and perhaps there might be another place that the factory might be located?

USAID has constructed some of the ugliest houses ever seen. Without kitchens. Without latrines. abominations.. really,  hideous.

The grant that was given to the IOM is so stringent that we cannot get the very qualified Haitian builders who are here in the DR back to Haiti with $400 worth of tools. So I would also ask the international community to give grant money to the IOM so that they might be able to help us do that.

We are penny wise and pound foolish.

Under President Bush, the US Congress passed what some would call a breach of our founding principles in the form of the Faith Based Initiative, so that funding from the government is now given to many religious groups in Haiti, the majority of whom are Christian, some of whom consider that Haiti's traditional African religion  Satanic

The Friends Committee on National Legislation opposed this legislation as a breach of the Constitution of the United States. Quaker organization will not accept government money in any circumstances.

The United States thus created in Haiti what is called The Republic of NGOs. Rather than fund the government itself, which leaned closer to Castro and Chavez than Bush, it delivered aid through a patchwork of NGOs, reportable to no one except USAID. Grants were micro designed in DC, with no centralized planning. While there was a certain courteous ballet dance around the authority of the Haitian government, it was the US Embassy which had and has the purse strings.

That is why it is so URGENT that the international community make good on its funding to the GOVERNMENT of HAITI.

Former President Aristide is back in Haiti and there has been more than one demonstration in his favor. Although many of his cabinet and close associates are in jail in the US on drug dealing, there have been no charges against him. Despite the fact that he lost the confidence of many of his former followers, he speaks the truth about the oppression and exploitation of the poor in Haiti. His apparent willingness to do business with narcotrafficers does not bode well for the future stability of the island.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

We Promised them, didn't we?

Before the earthquake in 2012, Haiti was the poorest country in the hemisphere.

It is also the second oldest independent nation in the hemisphere.

The first black republic.

The first nation in the world to break the chains of slavery.

After the quake, we, that is the rest of the world, poured out our hearts. Estimates are that one of every two Americans, for instance, pledged or gave money. You had telethons, and dance contents and concerts.

Here in the DR every single church, business, and grocery store raised collections and sent aid.

But now looking at the international pledges, the big donations from governments, I see that only 11% of the money has been given

And I ask you.. What are you waiting for? Are you  waiting for the tottering remnants of the extremely fragile government to collapse?

The Presiden is doing his best. He is perhaps conducting the country's business in a circus tent left over from Cirque du Soleil. The Nevada real estate developer who contributed it got a tax write off of five million dollars.

Is this the best that the international community can do?

A UN force that brings cholera then refuses responsibility for it, rapes both young boys and girls and points its weapons at the peaceful residents.

Grant money that is so restrictive that it does not take into account conditions on the ground.

And no money for the government....

Every Embassy in the world is there and watching.

Do you think that they can rebuild their country with air?

Please send THEM the money.

You did PLEDGE it, did you not?

TWO years ago, was it not?




Just give them the money,


before we lose the entire island to the cartels

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A note on Mother England

Lest all the blame fall on the United States for failures here in the Caribean, I would like to take my spyglass and pen to another of the  imperial power here in the basin, Great Britian. While I was great friends with the last British Ambassador here, Ian Worthington, I was appalled that the Foreign Office would send an Ambassador to a foreign country with a woman who was not his wife 

What has happened to one's standards?

In another incident, a British company, Biwater, had to leave the country after bribery allegations.

Standards, again, Gentlemen.

After my service in the Fastnet race, Lord Mountbattan was executed by the IRA and I heard the Seaman's Hymn for the second time in my life. I was tucked in safely with friends in Scotland but sorely distressed in body and soul. I went to Findhorn for a long scheduled two week sojourn. Then bought an old car and went out to search for the peace community.

On the way I stopped to load up on books on the what one title amusingly called "Ireland's English Question". At the St Andrew's bookshop, I was unable to find one single copy of the United States Constitution, despite finding shelves full of Marx and Engels. I told my sales clerk, who quite ressembled the White Rabbit, that he ought to be ashamed. He acknowledged that he was.

I then repaired to Brighton to the America's Cup trials, where my friends were sailing on Lionheart. I occupied the press tent with an ever growing table, discussing not the America's Cup, although I did do that, but rather The War in Ireland.

The Marina tried to have me expelled, tried to have my visa pulled. We Yanks did not need a visa for the UK then.

In the end, they were successful and I ended up in Holloway Prison, then, after sentancing to deportation, was transfered to Cookham Wood which was a facility long term prisoners. After the governor told me that they did not take deportees.. I really became scared. Finally I was visited by a representative of the US Embassy.

And even better, by the wife of my godfather, the Lord Bishop of Lincoln, who worked on reducing my sentance to an escorted departure, so that I might be able to return to the land of my foremothers should I ever wish to.

But, my mother land, much as I respect your sense of law and justice, you are racist.

You have produced the harshest form of racism in the world in the apartheid states of South Africa and America.

You are monolingual and unimginative. You are running a slave camp up there in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos, putting the natives in service to the white folks of the one percent with their fancy yachts.

When I chose to emigrate, I decided not to be in an English colony, because I wished not be within your form of racism again. The Catholics, at least, converted and married them.

Ah, we all have our shadows. No one is perfect.
least of all me

We are just works in progress.


Failing Haiti, encore

One view on Haiti's failure from the Left. here  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Failing Haiti

from the ground in Haiti here

Quaker Ageing and Retirement

I will be turning the big 65 next week and have to decide whether or not to buy into Medicare. I do not have the requisite 48 quarters of certified employment, having worked mostly as a volunteer and at struggling start up enterprises. So it will cost me $450 a month to buy Part A. Then another $115 or so for Part B, Then another $40 for Part D, even though I really avoid pharmaceuticals if I can.

I have no idea what Part C is.

If I do not buy the policies within the next three months, there is a penalty for each year that I do not buy.

Now I have always held the dream of ending up in one of those lovely retirement homes, like so many of the Quakers in my Meeting in Asheville lived in. There was one in Black Mountain that I visited when I was 55.. when my friends Polly Parker and Chris and Ollie Ahrens lived there. I really wanted to live there with them, playing Scrabble in the afternoon, worship sharing, hanging out in the library.

Quakers have a long history of concern of the elderly. But perhaps, like our idea of the penetentiary, we may not have gotten it quite right on the ground now and should revisit the issue. I see that the Kendall corporation, reknown in the field of elder care, has opened a new facility in NY which would be close to my cousin's family and my roots... I checked it out here

Was it worth it? I am sure it is. I am sure that everyone is paid a fair and just wage and that the care is top notch.

Could I afford it? Barely. Maybe. Perhaps.

It would mean paying into Medicare for propbably 10 or 15 years for services that I would not use. Money that I would use better here on the ground. I am surrounded by people who have nothing. And I do, indeed mean NOTHING.

On the way back from the dentist's office, I passed one of the local shoe shine boys with his shorts with no zipper.. now I have known him for five years and used to at least give him water but the local donas stopped me since they are just beggers.. he said he was hungry.. but I pinched his puffy cheeks with love. He was well fed..

But I know plenty of Haitians who are skin and bones. Death masks.

But more than that, it would LEAVE nothing in my estate. Nothing to leave to Friends Seminary which educated me so well and provided a safe haven amidst my family's divorcing, nothing for my small Asheville Meeting, nothing for Friends Journal which carries the word of Quakers far and wide.

Frankly, I just do not think that I am worth it. Not compared to good that the money could do elsewhere. This is not money that I earned. It is money that came from the genius of my great uncle, John Roebling, who engineered the Brooklyn Bridge. I have just tried to be a proper steward.

And I doubt that there would actually be any Quakers in those fancy "Quaker" homes. But I do want to thank them for their support of the Journal over all these years!

No Quakers that I know actually have any money at all. They serve as teachers and librarians and doctors. OK .. perhaps there would be a few.. but not the bulk. Many of the folks down at the Asheville Meeting are missing teeth. Just did not have the money for the dentistry what with the kids going to Earlharm or Guilford.

For myself, having lost my group Blue Cross coverage when I moved from Rhode Island to North Carolina and being denied coverage for a pre existing condition, I lived in great fear for years without medical coverage. I was actually relieved when I sold my house that they would not have anything to seize. I loathe the American health system.

When I decided to emigrate here, seven years ago, I thought my money would go further. I tought I could get someone to look after me if I needed it and whatever care I might need. Both my brother's had died young, at 52 and 69. I thought I might have a useful few years left, in which I might contribute. And that perhaps I might find a dancing teacher who looked like Antonio Banderas. Still looking for the dancing teacher but I have found all the rest.

Here there is only one medical insurance policy which covers one after 70. It only pays out $150,000 and costs $200 a month. When I asked the agent about the limit he explained that if you spend that much in this country, you are dying.

The Clinic Abreu, where the US Embassy sends its personnel, overlooks the sea and has actual suites and fine tiled bathrooms. I have been in there twice already and have already picked out my last room.

(That is if I do not actually get so discouraged that I do move to the sand spit of the Turks and Caicos where I would be provided with National Health courtesy of the British Government since I would teach English to the Hatians  // the population there is 90% black)

I live on the third floor as do lots of folks since elevators are rare. I do not have a car since they are expensive. Now I have a little place near the beach so I can be near the Haitians I am working with.. and my friends up there -- since it is hard to meet folks in the city... and my dog really loves it there since it is a French town and she gets to go into the restuarants...

They really need elders up there. Most of the population is under 15.

Apartments start at about $200 a month.

Oh How I Would Love A Quaker Meeting Here!

Please consider this as an alternate retirement option.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Ayati Game

Five years ago

I made this post

I would recommend now

as I did then

that someone figure out how to get these people on their feet

it really does not take that much





Note please that this game was on the UNICEF web page five years ago

the head of UNICEF here, who was also responsible for Haiti and who lived in a sumptous home with a lovely enclosed pool, did not know it was there

I would suggest that everyone STOP

collecting money for UNICEF

Buyng my Boat

if you follow along the time line of my blog you will see that i was working first with the Haitians up in LT who had kwashikoor last summer.. then with Interpol on the narcotrafficantes from August til Dec... so I really had had no time to check on Haiti . I just assumed what with all that talent and brains and money combined, some sort of progress was being made.

But I can never underestimate the stupidity of men sitting inside of rectangles. Instead of progress, we have moved backwards.

Now we have the sole figure of the remants of the Haitian state tottering.


About 15000 armed, uniformed, unidentified mercenary reportable to no known person roaming the streets and the entries to public buildings

and the Haitian government is launching a logo campaign for tourism

The radical leftest priest is rumbling revolution again

the drug dealer trained in Ecuador is right beside him

MINUSTAH having brought Cholera to the Island, continues to deny any responsiblity and continues to occupy at great international expense, importing its food from the Dominican Republic, occupying the best hotels in Ft Liberte, flirting on the internet, 

Relief net posts ALL the cholera treatment centers from all aid workers who are set up in place to deal with the victims who will surely come

the red cross used its 10 million dollar donation to buy prime land downtown where it plans to build a hotel to ensure its income stream

the top missionary is selling recycled garbage clothing on vogue

the best plan so far is for a korean sweat shop with workers housing with pit toilets


sure is lucky that none of that aid money fell into the hands of WYCLEF

he might have misued it

Sunday, April 8, 2012

it doesn't feel much like Easter here

despite this being the first Christian nation in the hemisphere

and a supposedly devout Catholic country\

it doesnt feel a lot like Easter here

no bonnets  no celebrations at dawn  no hidden eggs no chocolate no bunnies no empty tomb no secrets revealed no astonishment and wonder

the city is dead

there are no church bells

of course it did not feel a lot like Christmas here either

no Kings came through town in majesty and wonder

astonishing the litte children at dawn with the gifts for the sacred child

as they do on the neighboring island of Puerto Rico

Saturday, April 7, 2012

For Services Rendered

For those Dominicans and Haitians

who would prefer that I stay here on the back on the Turtle

and work with you on your island

my BanReservas Dollar Account

number is 290 dash 243 dash 8

I already submitted a bill to Ron Anejo for services rendered in defense of his tattered flag in identifying both the narcotrafficantes in Las Terrenas and Pedernales and Constanza

It has not been paid

I have amassed  a $10,000 debt on my American Express Card in doing that work and in feeding the Haitians in Las Terrenas who were coming down with kwashikoor.

So if there is no gratitude from you for my service, I shall make plans to depart.

who is speaking?

sometimes in the Silence

I channel the voices of the ancestors

like my 10 great aunts

from Shropshire


from the 12th Century  Meeson Hall

Bermuda Triangle

The back story behind that race was that Condor of Bermuda sailed by men in the water. The skipper refused to stop and resuce. The crew was on the verge of mutiny when they docked. None of the Class A boats either stopped or returned to sea to rescue. None of the yachties volunteered with the Royal Navy Lifeboat volunteers. They simply sat at their hotels and got on with their race stuff.

I manned the volunteer desk in French. The British, I believe, set out to conquer the world due to their inability to learn another language. By the end of the second day, I was turning over operations to the night crew.

We had 19 deaths.

It was the largest peace time sea loss ever registered.

In lieu of the awards service, we had a memorial service.

There was no press on the docks.

The only reporter who even came out was someone from the Reader's Digest.

One woman that I spoke to.. when I asked her what would happened to the skipper of Condor .. if the allegations proved true...

"well, it's all true. We all know it is true. But it will all be forgotten."

And I said

"Not as long as I live"

So I would like to call on you... you of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, of the New York Yacht Club, of the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit.. you of the 1%

You -- \Ted Turner

who has the gall to be showing MAIN SAIL

on CNN and

devoting you entire news channel to the dog and pony show of the US elections instead of bring the American  people the news of the world and visa versa]

why not bring the boats to Haiti?

There is so VERY attractive real estate here...

I mean some very serious and beautiful land

And some gorgeous people

Jamaica, for instance.. only has 3 million people on it... check that one out...

only three million people on an island that size

now if we were to have a yacht race that went from ..



key west




santo domingo

could we not have a party

in jacmel

Hyde Park Corner

I have been sitting here in my very comfortable apartment in Santo Dominigo, comtemplating my very lovely upcoming birthday party on the beach on the Samana Peninusla.
Sadly, however, I have just had to write to my friend, the former Ambassador from Great Britian, to ask for the protection of the Crown to assist on my relocation, that of me and my dog, for I do not believe that this island will be secured in my lifetime.
My reflections brought me to the start of my career, back in 1979, when I started serving as a volunteer for God, offering myself for service in whatever way I could be most useful. I was first sent to report an oil spill in Oyster Bay harbor on the fourth of July in 1979 and then directly over the England for the 1979 Fastnet Race.
Being a child of great privilege, I knew the men of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and they had invited me to come sail with thim in Cowes. I had worked my way up to an invite down to Cowes, by crewing on a boat in Themes Ditton. I was invited to crew on a following boat .. from Cowes to Plymouth. We started the race in Cowes and spent the storm in Salcombe Harbor.
I was thrown off my bunk at 2 Am. The entire boat woke up. The French boat next to anchor down us. Being a British boat, we made tea. And turned on the wireless. Reports came in. Dismastings….. sightings… weather reports.. it was the storm of the century.. it was three days before any of the men on our boat went to shore. And all of the men on our boat had crossed the Atlantic. And we were two miles upriver.

When we got to Plymouth..
There was a party.
Ted Turner was celebrating his victory in winning the toughest race of the century
And the men of the royal ocean racing club were having cocktails up at the duke of York hotel

While people were dying at sea
And now

As I sit here in santo domingo

And look out over

Port au prince
I would like to say

You are fucking up
Hyde park corner
Once again

Monday, April 2, 2012

White Hispanic Treyvon and Zimmerman

Welcome to my world, America!

I heard George Will on one of the Sunday morning talk shows (yes, I get the three major networks, plus CNN, plus HBO plus the news from France, Germany, Italy, and what there is of it from Venezuela)... referring to George Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic" -- he did so with a sneer in his voice, as if such a thing were not possible.

George Will is usually an eloquent commentator. I respect him even though our political points of view are radically different. But with this broadcast, my opinion of him dropped a few notches. He  has not met many folks from Argentina. Or perhaps he simply does not consider Spaniards "white". United Staters really need to travel about more.

Francis Robles, an excellent journalist now at the Miami Herald, did a wonderful series on Afro Latinos. The piece on the Dominican Republic, here, might help inform Americans about the delicate and broad issues of race in the hemisphere.. and particularly the Spanish - African  issue that is now coming to light in the States.

Undoing the bonds of slavery is our collective legacy, our history since Africans were first imported to the hemisphere - starting here on Hispaniola in the early 1500s.  We have discussions here over who left a worse legacy - the British, the French, the Spanish, the Portugese?

Heretofore, we collectively have only dealt with the British legacy, which created the apartheid like structure inside the US colonies.

Here is a primer on the French system, put in place in Saint Domingue.

Never too late to learn, George. Never too late.

It is not just black and white ... but rather shades of brown.