Haiti: Day Four

The posts that follow are a brief description of daily events surrounding an organized trip to Haiti in the summer of 2010. There were 12 of us total plus one reporter from the Daily Journal in Farmington, MO. I have relayed each post as it was written in my journal so please overlook any grammatical errors or crazy talk. I will also try to include pictures along the way.

Thursday, July 8th

WOW! What a day today!

Early rise as always – around 6am today. We are still having problems with tarantulas. I think we are camping in the tarantula field because every morning you will find three or four large holes with tarantulas in them. Zack has started killing them each morning. I forgot to mention that yesterday morning I came out of the tent and went to brush my teeth. Right after I came out of the tent mark came out and then he started hollering. Right by his foot in the corner area outside of the tent was a very large tarantula. Evidently they like that little cubby area because Zack killed one in the same spot this evening. We’ve only seen them in the morning so tonight’s showing was unusual (I hope!).

After breakfast (eggs and bread again – I didn’t eat anything except a protein bar this morning because my stomach was a bit “rumbly”) we had our devotional time. Another good session – I’m enjoying them a lot.

After our devotion we loaded the van to head back to the land. Little did I  know what was in store! We arrived at the land and had to gather materials from a “tent house” that had let us store some cement and rebar there overnight. then from somewhere in the trees they brought out the lumber we had left. Amazing how this process worked. there is a small tent community and an orphanage nearby. We have come to enjoy our conversations with many of the locals. One boy and I have really hit it off because his name is also Michael. He and I are “zamis” – friends.

The guy who let us store stuff at his house is named “Wilson” and he is an incredibly hard worker. Some of the men help and work with us, but others just sit in the shade under the tree and watch. It’s very strange sometimes. Almost as if some of them don’t want to improve their life situation. Very sad.

We knew today that our goal was to pour the two concrete slabs. It sounded easy enough, right? Well…first off, it was extremely hot today and the humidity was absolutely killer. And of course we have only one small shade tree so we had to work in the hot sun all day. Everyone applied TONS of sunscreen (even me!) and everyone seemed to survive that part of the day.

We had to pour the two concrete pads but had very few tools. We had to mix our concrete by hand on the ground – an interesting experience! At the bottom of the land (it’s not too steep, but it does grade down toward the dirt road) was piled the sand and rock. The cement was at the top near the area to concrete. So…we had to shovel the sand and rock, wheelbarrow it to the top of the hill, add concrete and water and then mix. I’m not sure how many batches we made, but my guess was about 20 batches or so – that’s 3 sand and 2 rock to every batch. My job for most of the day was to shovel each wheelbarrow full and sometimes I even carried the wheelbarrow (actually push it) up the hill to the mixing area. I’ll let you do the math, but that’s nearly 100 wheelbarrow’s full! In the heat of course! Everyone really worked hard today and by the end we were all beat tired and totally worn out. Many had blisters, pulled muscles, etc. We did manage to pour both concrete pads and we also set about 40 wooden posts in concrete. A few of the local boys took crowbars and dug each hole 18″ deep! With a crowbar! WOW!

Then we put posts in and added cement. Tomorrow we are supposed to go back and add razor wire and complete the rest of the posts to have a small fenced in area. that way it can be a safe area to put the toilets in. We’ll also have to add some concrete blocks to the pads so that we can set the toilets on top of them. No one is quite sure if we will actually be assembling the toilets or not. It would be cool to finish that portion of the project before we leave. Gerson also mentioned moving some toilets from a mountain side orphanage to their new home in Leogane. Not sure if we’ll have time, but we’ll see.

We got back to camp, unloaded our equipment, and one-by-one we finally showered. It felt amazing tonight. The water wasn’t too cold and of course it felt great to be clean after a long day. We didn’t arrive back to camp until 5:30pm or so. Better late than never!

Dinner tonight was the same as lunch for the most part. Which, by the way, since we couldn’t stop pouring concrete they had to bring lunch to us. So we had rice, beans and chicken twice today. Notice we have rice and beans everyday right? Good thing I like rice and beans! We also ran out of water twice today – not good in the heat! Hopefully that won’t happen tomorrow.

I did get to talk to my family tonight. That was AWESOME and I can’t wait to see them on Monday night. Another group has arrived tonight – a group of 20…we’ll see how that goes!

MORE TOMORROW!

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