Haiti: Day Two

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.

Tuesday, July 6th

We woke at approximately 5:15am – it was already light outside and lots of activity – chickens, cars, people…to name just a few. It was shower time and I know there wasn’t any hot water, but DANG! The water in the morning was COLD! It was a quick shower, but definitely needed.

Dressed and back at the tent we found several good-sized holes in the ground right outside our tents. Guess what? Tarantula holes! And yes, they housed live ones! they didn’t like to come out, but occasionally they did come out and I was able to snap a few pictures. Pretty crazy to see them in the “wild” sort of speak. Later they told us to go ahead and kill them. They will bite and I guess it swells up and is pretty painful.

Breakfast is at 7am every morning. There is also a generator that runs a few hours three times a day, usually around meals. Breakfast today was some sort of egg concoction with some fresh bread. Pretty decent. the cooks are extremely nice and do a great job. Unfortunately today there was no coffee, but they promised some tomorrow.

After breakfast we had a short devotional time and a time of prayer – a great way to start the day!

Today it was decided that we would stay at camp and build two “quadro-poopers” as we affectionately called them. They will be four bathrooms (2 guys/2 girls) in an 8′ x 8′ building:

Finding the proper tools was interesting. We brought several saws and other tools which was a  lifesaver. Otherwise you make do with what you can find. Electricity was supplied by the generator today – they left it running all day for us to work.

By the way – there are several other groups that stay here. Some that are interesting. One group is building a small housing structure out front of our compound. It’s a new type of structure designed for hurricanes. It’s made primarily out of styrofoam with hardened panels. I think they are trying to sell them down here. But hey – if it helps the people then it’s probably a win/win for everyone.

Okay – back to our work. Matt and I cut most of the wood today. The wood is actual 2 x 4’s – full size instead of the smaller ones we have in the U.S. Other guys were framing walls and then we had a roof structure. We had to build things in sections because it has to be transported to the land later. Not sure if we’ll move them or not. It will depend on how much we get done at the land (hopefully tomorrow).

After a quick lunch (rice and beans and some sort of meat – goat? – and then a red sauce. There was also cabbage, but I passed on the cabbage) we were back at the building project. We ended up building two structures (8 bathrooms total) ready to be assembled. There was a thin plywood on the sides and they will add the roofs later.

Several of us made a quick walk down to the local gas station. What an interesting journey! Of course everyone looked at us strangely, but most were friendly and some even waved at us. This (Leogane) was similar to Port-au-Prince but not as busy. Still lots of trash, broken down homes and vendors on the street. And of course, don’t get close to the road or you’ll probably get run over!

The gas station was very cool. It had AC inside – schweet! There were lots of “American” items for sale. The girls bought chocolate bars but the guys didn’t get anything. the money rate is approximately 8 Haitian Dollars (Goulds) to 1 U.S. Dollar. They also had things like corn flakes, SPAM and lots of baby products.

It got dark at 6:30pm again followed by dinner at 7pm. Tonight’s course was “Pumpkin Soup” – pretty interesting and was okay to eat. It had pumpkin pieces, cabbage, noodles and the “mystery meat” again. Not a bad meal, but not my favorite either.

After dinner everyone was exhausted so we headed to bed at 8pm! Some of the guys took Nyquil to help them sleep but I went without any. Unfortunately I didn’t sleep very well! About an hour into bed I had to go pee, but decided to wait it out because a storm rolled in and it was raining again. I finally woke up about 4am and head to the nearby woods for some relief. 🙂 Probably not the smartest thing that early in the morning, but Jake obviously had to pee as well since he found a spot nearby. Ha! I went back in to bed and slept pretty decent and finally got up at 6:30am. More tomorrow!

PS – I remembered my fan – what a blessing! I just hope it lasts for a few more days before running out of battery!

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