Friday’s Activities

By Diane.
One of the other things we did on Thursday was to stop to buy a battery. The plan was to use the truck battery to run the equipment that would purify the water in the irrigation ditch. But Janette wondered how they could run the pump until the battery ran down and then drive the truck back down the hill with a dead battery. So we thought it would be prudent to go buy a separate battery. That did actually turn out quite well on the day that we did finally get to pump the water, which was Friday. So Friday the first team went out and started pumping the water. The second team came on the second load in the truck and went on up to another school further up the road. When we got up to where they were pumping the water, we stopped to see how things are going for a while. They were having some trouble with the pump. The filters were filling up really quickly and so we discovered that people could stick their hands in the water to keep leaves and twigs another degree from going into the intake.

Holy Saturday

March 30, 2013Holy Saturday

As with many Christians in the US, folks in Haiti rest on this day.

Broke fast with oatmeal. Most of the team headed into the market to look for a dress &/or to get ingredients for the meal we will prepare for the staff on Sunday. It is challenging to try to cook a “typical” USA meal in Haiti because they don’t have many of our “typical” kinds of foods :)

Returned to the compound to drop off food then headed to Moulin Sur Mer – a resort up the coast. Each team member paid for ourselves and one guest to go – so we didn’t use money for Haitian relief for our day off. :) We rode in two “tap taps” we hired for the day – about 14 people in each – some in the cab, most in the fancied-up bed of the truck, and a few on the roof.

We stopped to visit the museum. As we waited for the fees to be paid we wondered about a bit and took pictures of the stautes and the plentiful peacocks & peahens which were on the grounds of the resort. The museum had information about pre-Columbian life, about the oppression enforced by the Catholic Church, the revolution which won their independence, and various artifacts from Colonial times.

Next, we- staff & families and the team – enjoyed a large buffet, swam in the pool, swam in the ocean, played ping pong, did synchronized swimming, floated on noodles, played mini golf, played a dice game, slept, showered, shaved, washed hair… Was a wonderfully relaxing day.

Got back to the compound. We did some prep work for the Easter lunch we would make the next day. Using knifes we peeled carrots and potatoes. We washed them in bleach water then left them in saltwater over night. We washed beets. We boiled eggs.
We had team devotions while the beets boiled.
Some went to bed, and others worked together to pickle the beets and set the boiled eggs to marble in the beet juice (except about a dozen set aside to color and hide with kids tomorrow).

We left everything soaking and headed to bed about 11:30 pm.

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Good Friday

By Janette

March 29, 2013Good Friday

Got everything together and headed up the hill to the irrigation ditch to test the idea of making clean water for free for the people there.

Arrived at the site, told the folks there what our plan was. They immediately began to gather
Took a while to get the generator working.
The water is truly gross – small dead animals might float by – mosses, plant debris, garbage, dish soap, laundry detergent… This they drink when they don’t have anything else.
Pump wasn’t receiving power, even though the battery is new! Turned out to be a blown fuse. Fortunately Jilson, our driver, had on in his charger we could use.

Got the pump working. Had a great time making water for the folks. They had to work out some details like how to make the line – where, whose first, what to do while we wait. We were able to get local people to help run the equipment and try to keep the equipment clear of debris.
People sang, flew kites, did flips, compared pedicures, stacked rocks, played hand games, washed clothes, washed themselves, combed hair, stood by the buckets, swapped stories, learned to ride a motorcycle,

About 1:30 we headed back to the compound to have a special Haitian traditional Good Friday. (Here they call it Easter Friday,) The meal is dried fish that has been stewed in a special sauce, rice with white bean sauce and salad. This is the only time in the year they have white bean sauce. EVERYONE in Haiti has this meal – even non-Christians. They buy the fish several days in advance because the markets sometimes run out before friday, or jack up the prices.
After lunch EVERYONE fasts until Saturday morning’s breakfast. We spent dinner time sharing about Easter traditions in our families and what Easter means to us. We joined with the staff of the compound for this conversation.

Later our team had team devotions while the Haitian gathered for worship. They sang and spoke until well after midnight! I was tired enough to fall asleep any way :)

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Thursday

Posted to Facebook by Janette on Thursday, March 28. Re-posted here.

Got some more painting done, and a few repairs. The power went out in the night because the 6.5 hour pre-funeral worship service held in the chapel in the compound drained all the solar batteries. Set us back a bit in the a.m. Ha! Then the staff of the compound was attending the funeral, so we had time to put on another layer of paint. They were TOTALLY dressed in their best clothes to attend the funeral. We were dressed in paint spotted clothes – we tried to stay out of the way! Ha! Got a light rain later in the day, but the paint seems fine. It is “tropical” latex paint. Who knew they made that? So cool!

What we did on Wednesday

By Janette

Some folks left to go to market. They are buying groceries for the next few days. Without refrigeration we only get enough food for a couple of days at a time!.

Others took a run into Cabaret to use the internet cafe. Diane & Corrie stayed there to post the blog and pictures from the first couple of days.
Others, me included, then headed back to get propane in Archaie. Got a flat tire. Stopped to add air. Stopped to grab the spare tire we left behind at Thomas. Then stopped at a place to help change the tire.

Stopped to get propane tank.
Also got ice cream! Niiiiice!
On to get the actual propane.
Swung by the Methodist Church building – right next to an irrigation ditch. Made it look like it had a mote. The irrigation water was gross with garbage!

Head back to Thomas.
Delivered the propane to the kitchen.
Had fun with the local kids – taking pictures, typing on iPad. A little girl just typing every letter and symbol on the keyboard taught me some stuff about this iPad that didn’t know!
The group from the market had been delayed by a flat tire on their truck. Steven (the interpreter) was left behind and had to take a tap tap (Haitian taxi) back to Thomas!

Had lunch.

Sent folks to Cabaret to retrieve Diane and Corrie who ended up stranded there! They also had ice cream before coming back.
Things had taken so long to be accomplished that we were not able to visit the irrigation ditch to make clean water. Sigh.

Hung the world maps in the classrooms.

Had a terrific dinner of rice & beans, meat – probably goat – potatoes & carrots, salad of tomatoes and lettuce. (We can eat the salad at Thomas because UMCOR trained the cooks on how to prepare the lettuce so people won’t get sick.)

Folks getting their hair braided again! Too much fun

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Trips To Town – March 27

By Diane

Today we are making various trips to town. This is market day so one group is shopping for our food and the school lunches for the next few days. Another group went after propane. Corrie and I are at the internet café in town attempting to send photos and now some text. A group is also supposed to go out to an irrigation ditch to purify some water with the purifier we brought.

Haiti – Day Two – March 26

By Diane

Six of us met for a quick yoga (standing) session to start our day. Janette and I had fun trying to explain to the cooks how we wanted to make our tea. Then came breakfast of eggs, mangos, and peanut butter on bread.Warren gave us instructions for our work projects for the morning. One group went to town to change some of our cash into Haitian dollars (or gourds) and buy supplies at the hardware store.Another group is rebuilding the stand that holds the projector and other equipment in the computer room.I’m taking up one of the stations in the computer lab while the class is in session but they insist that it is ok.

Work continued through the day. A group worked on a series of outlets to support a charging station for cell phones. A rotating group of painters worked on the exterior of the guest house and some of the interior.

Lunch today was spaghetti and bread sticks.

A special treat for the painters came in the afternoon when a group of girls gathered in the girls’ room and sang Amazing Grace and other songs in Creole and English. The Haitian girls braided Corrie, Emma and Tessa’s hair. Corrie was another pied piper for the smaller girls as they gathered around her for photos(Sara also has a following of girls who are happy to see her again)

It is getting too late to continue with details but after dinner we went for a walk and wound up at a small store where Warren bought us Cokes. The music was blaring into the street and as we drank a crowd gathered. People were swaying to the music, so Janette started a dance which continued in many variations. One little Haitian girl kept the ball rolling with great enthusiasm.

At the devotions tonight, Steve and Diane were the featured subjects from Sue’s book. People shared how great it was to be among people who have such a joie de vri no matter what their material possessions may be.

Day one in Haiti – March 25

By Diane

There was little to see most of our time in the air, but we could feel the excitement mount when Sara spotted the faint coastline of an island appear in our view. This could be our destination.

We came in low over the outskirts of Port au Prince to a view of a mass of rusted and tarped roofs. The airport was a rush of immigration check points and lugging baggage out into the hot sun where we met One-Arm Jackson who guided us to our transportation.With all our bags and a few people in one truck and the rest of us in the van, we took off through the crowded streets. Our van driver, Johnny, was an expert at weaving his way around and through the lines of outgoing and incoming traffic. Many taptaps drove by with their brightly decorated exteriors and jam-packed cargo – human or otherwise.
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D=Day – part deux -March 24

By Diane**

We had an easy drive to SFO. A little stress at finding the right terminal, but with the help of Janette’s Fiji friends, we had the cars unloaded in no time (twice). We found an efficient check-in agent who sent our 13 bags of gifts on their way (at no charge) and went through security without a hitch. Other than the cramped quarters and inability to sleep for most of us, both flights went smoothly.They even served us a meal (unexpectedly) on our leg from Newark to Haiti.