Day 2 -the Kids, the Project, and the Sea Hunter
Trip Start Mar 04, 2010
12Trip End Mar 15, 2010
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Where I stayed
Pwoje Espwa Guest House
We hung out with the kids today and learned fast that they really love their picture taken but you have to show it to them right after you take it. It's like an unspoken rule! Right away the boys just kinda cling to you. You are walking around and all of a sudden a kid is hanging on your arm or holding you hand. They don’t have the same personal bubble that we do in the states so I had to get rid of that notion pretty quick. Some of the kids have limited English and some just speak Creole which is a much more pleasant alternative to French. Actually in Haiti I was told the upper class speaks French and everyone else speaks Creole so it’s more of a French slang but it sounds so much better! It has a nice flow to it without all the nasally French stuff.
Our group took a tour of the grounds of Espwa with Deacon Peter who runs the guest house and also is like the resident handy man. He and his wife, Linda, moved down permanently a few years ago from Massachusetts and they both had the cutes accents. I think Espwa takes up 40 acres of a combination of farmland, a river, and quite a few buildings. It was originally a mango plantation so lots of mango trees everywhere. Junior, the guy in charge or building, was with us for most of the tour and he eventually was the one we worked with on the new foundations. I wanted to start working right away but we had to wait until Monday for all the supplies to be ordered and the workers to be rounded up.
After our tour Chris Harris (who was part of the build group) and I hung out with the kids and watched them play soccer. Those kids play like pros! It was amazing how they handled the ball. It was a good thing Kip (another building group person) brought 12 soccer balls for them because they went through them pretty quick.
Back at the guest house we started to reconsider the original plan for the foundation which was designed by a structural engineer in the U.S. Everyone felt it was too complicated and too different from what the guys are used to (and we aren't there to show them something completely new!) so we all put our heads together to come up with a new design that incorporated their rubble/mortar foundations with our footing/column/rebar foundation idea. We decided to do a reinforced 10" concrete footing with reinforced block columns about ever 6’ and at the corners and then fill in between the columns with the mortar and stone technique that the Haitians are used to. It was still much more earthquake proof than what they were doing before but a tad less complicated for our inexperienced crew (I mean us and the Haitians!)
When we came up with the final design Donald had Kevin and I calculate the materials we would need to order tomorrow in town. We planned a mock-up on Saturday with the guys to get things worked out and make it less complicated on Monday so we could really get going.
It started to get dark and we heard big truck coming up the driveway. It was the first truckloads of relief supplies from the Sea Hunter Ship which had a hell of a time getting it all off the ship. They set off from Maine over a month ago and ran into every kind of gov't roadblocks possible. Both from the U.S. but mostly Haiti. They had the reporter, Bill Nemitz, on board so thier trials and tribulations were well documented. Here is the link to all his articles that he wrote while on board the ship.
Those poor guys on that ship thought they would be gone for a week! Just about all of the clothes that were donated arrived wet and moldy. Not good. The supplies took over thier eating/church/gathering space in the quansit hut (you can see it in my video in this entry) and all four storage units It was complete chaos (thats Haiti!) when it was all being unloaded. I tried to stay out of the way!
After dinner Chris and I took a ride in the back of a truck to take the cook and housekeeper home. It was dark again so I still have yet to see the ocean! When we got back we had a little powwow on the roof of the guest house to look at the stars (which were amazing!) and talk about everything we were seeing. I hate that sort of thing but I think it will be helpful in the end because when I get home I won’t have anyone around to really be able to talk through this experience with. I don’t want to be annoying to everyone when I get home either. I can’t wait to get to work though!