Haiti: Day Three

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.

Wednesday, July 7th

Up at 6:30am sounds good, but around here, if breakfast is early (it was today) then you missed out. People don’t wait around to see if you’ve eaten. So, late to breakfast, I ended up eating a granola bar – perfect for the morning. But guess what? All the coffee was gone – NOOOOOOOO! Dang!

We gathered for our morning devotional and as we did – VOILA! The cook lady brought over a new container of Haitian coffee! Man, was this stuff good! Rich, dark and full of flavor! We’re going to try and buy some before we go. After our devotional we headed out to “the land.” It was basically a large field full of small sugar cane plants. Gerson had rented a backhoe for the day (not cheap or easy to find!) and fortunately Matt is a machine operator with tons of experience – perfect for this job.

Matt started clearing a road while the rest of us grabbed machetes and began “whacking” down all the plants. All this in 100 degree heat and 100% humidity – it was hot! There was a large tree on the lot that provided quite a bit of shade and as we finished one section all of us took a break.

By this time many of the locals had come over to help or just watch. I didn’t mention that yesterday the girls went to an orphanage and did a small VBS unit with them (I’m hoping we get to go this week sometime). Today the girls went to a local church by the land to do another VBS unit.

While we were resting under the tree, the girls came back with several of the kids and we all stood around and talked for quite awhile. It was so cool to try and communicate with them. A few could speak a few words in English, but mostly it was trial and error and a LOT of hand signals!

We had to wait for some supplies so we all went back to the compound for lunch. Today was rice and beans and leftover soup stuff from last night. It was enough for lunch especially given the heat. Did I explain the dishes? Each person was to wash their plate, rinse it, then dip it in a bleach solution to sterilize it. Then in a tub it goes or on a plate for drying. Quite interesting!

After lunch we went back to the land and cleared out spots for the two concrete slabs for the bathrooms. It took quite awhile to dig them out, build a 2×4 frame and lay out the rebar. Then we hauled rock to both concrete slab areas. We had planned on mixing concrete today (by hand of course!) but just as we were getting ready, a thunderstorm rolled in and rained us out. Dirty, muddy, tired and flat worn-out, we loaded up and headed back. Tomorrow we’ll try to finish pouring the slabs.

When we returned we had to wait on our backpacks which were in another car. We take our packs everywhere to keep them safe. Many have their money/passports inside along with snacks, etc. So far no issues – let’s hope it stays that way!

When we got back Gerson decided we would also put in posts for a perimeter fence tomorrow, so we cut the rest of the 2×4’s in half and then made “points” to try and put them in the ground tomorrow. We had to cut many of the posts with a hand saw since our batteries were out and the electricity doesn’t do to well with the electric saws. Talk about a work out! We’re supposed to hand dig 82 post holes tomorrow! Yikes!

We finished cutting posts and then most of us showered and then it was time for dinner. Yep – you guessed it – rice and beans with some leftover chicken legs in some type of stew. It was okay I guess. I really like the rice (esp. when they add the corn) but to tell the truth, most of the food really tastes the same. I think it’s because they cook it the same way with much of the same spices.

After dinner I read my devotional for tomorrow and am now finally catching up on my journal writing. We’ve heard that a new group from Kentucky is coming tomorrow. They are with a water purification team – a total of 25! That should make things interesting around here. Especially with space – where will they put their tents? There isn’t much space left. What will happen during meals? The poor cooks already work most of the day. And finally, what about showers and toilets? (Did I mention that there are only 3 toilets? One guys, one girls and one open – no paper in toilets – it goes in a box – yikes!)

It should be another interesting day tomorrow! I sure do miss my family. I think of them often and hope they are doing okay!

To be continued!

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