Day 3 - Mock-Up day
Trip Start Mar 04, 2010
12Trip End Mar 15, 2010
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Where I stayed
Pwoje Espwa Guest House
Warning! Long Entry!
This morning we had eggs and toast for breakfast –yum! We started out the day not the way I wanted to start out the day – with photo ops. We all had to get out reach t-shirts on and go out the the site with banners and stuff. I know its necessary but I just wanted to get to work! After that fun stuff we got a truck and headed into town to order our materials for Monday as well as pick up enough materials to do a mock-up of the foundations with Junior and his crew. With the language difference it took much longer to explain things so the obvious way to communicate is through example. We also thought it would be a good idea for ourselves to try it out as well since it is kind of a hybrid foundation.
The first stop we made was to the dock where the Sea Hunter supplies were being unloaded. I was in the back of the truck so I didn't really know where we were but we pulled up to a caution tape barricade with UN guards and big guns guarding it. They were there by the request of Father Marc because people were hijacking the boats and trucks full of supplies for themselves. It was pretty dangerous before the UN got there.
So for some reason they let us right in without question and we drove down and walked around and got updates on how everything was going with the unloading. Natalie, a Canadian citizen who was hired by Espwa to handle administrative work, was telling us about how she had to pay off the crane workers in order to get the boats unloaded. That’s just the way they work in Haiti. It’s not corruption, its politics and business. She spoke French and a little Creole so she was able to communicate easily and get things done. Espwa is lucky to have here! She had had malaria the week before and was still out there getting stuff done. I was impressed. Speaking of Malaria, This morning I had a conversation with Dr. Jerry from Alaska who is at Espwa for a month. I was told Malaria wasn’t a problem so I didn’t get any Meds. Well it is. He gave me chloroquine pills that has to be taken once a week for 6 weeks and should have been started a week before I left. I guess that’s the one thing I didn’t research! I’m glad they had some though. I figure if I get it it would just be another story I would have from Haiti! Just Kidding I know it’s serious.
So where was I…Oh yeah.. we are on our way to the construction supply warehouse to order stuff! We drove through the streets of Les Cayes which is really scary in the back of a truck, but really fun at the same time. You could tell people weren’t used to seeing white people that weren’t dressed in military uniforms. They would stare and kinda look mean but as soon as you waved and said Bonjour! Or Bonswa! (depending on the time of day) Their faces would light up and they would say it back with a big smile. The kids, the adults, the elderly, they all had the same reaction. I just loved it. I wanted to hug every last one. I didn’t…but you know what I mean. So we pulled up to the store where they were lowering supplies from the second and third story down to guys on the ground and throwing bags of concrete everywhere. We had to send Junior in to order the supplies because there is a Haitian price and an "everyone else" price. We wanted the Haitian price. We also picked up 5 bags of concrete and a few 30’ pieces of rebar (it was getting a little tight in the bed of the truck) and we were off to get our concrete block.
We drove a few miles to get the block where they were actually making the block too. I had never seen it being made and it was really neat to see. We piled 20 blocks in the bed of the truck (that were still not completely cured and dried which worried me a bit) and we were off back to Espwa. I wish we had gotten a picture of the five of us (Me, Chris, Kevin, Donald, and Junior) in the back of the truck with the concrete, rebar, and block piled up around us. We were quite cozy!
We got back to Espwa and unloaded out stuff before we went into the guest house for a lunch of cheese and tomato sandwiches. Another Yum! After eating Sam (an architect who lives in Ferndale right be me) went to the tool shed to find what we needed for the mock-up. We loaded up a wheelbarrow and headed to the site.
It’s a good thing Sam had the idea to do the mock-up or else we would have not gotten anywhere on Monday! We were out there for 3 hours just trying to coordinate and communicate between Creole and English. We had Judex, one of the 17 year old boys who speaks almost perfect English, to help us out but he will be in school on Monday until 2 so we will see how it goes.
They guys cut the rebar, bent it, and set it in the trench while we were trying to figure out how to hold it up 3” above the gravel in order for the concrete to surround it. They mixed up the concrete and started pouring before we got the vertical rebar in for the columns so we had to hurry up and put that it. It was all so confusing and chaotic! That word just keeps popping up! We decided that on Monday we would get the rebar completely in before any concrete was mixed. Then the next day we could pour the concrete, then the next day the block, and then the rubble in-fill between the columns. I hope it all works out like that! I am having doubts about the guys being able to repeat the process when we leave but maybe as we get going it will change. They really need more of an explanation on why we are building like this. They were all extremely good sports about it thought considering it was a Saturday and they all just went along with it. Great attitudes!
We called it a day after we got a corner done and headed back to the quad for a little drink service. Linda, the one from Massachusetts, has started some of the older boys on a training program for hospitality. I think that’s a great idea if the tourism thing ever takes off here. She has them take orders and mix drinks and serve them. It was really cute and they love it and take it very seriously! Just another skill that could possible get them somewhere after they graduate from Espwa at 18. After Dinner we finally met Father Marc who has been really busy with all the Sea Hunter Drama. He has quite a presence in a room. They had told me that he always has at least one kid with him and he has them carry his fanny pack with his cigarettes and walkie-talkie and a big case for his camera. It was a bit comical.
For dinner we had RICE and BEANS!!! YAY! I was so excited. We also had baked chicken which was amazing. They feed me better here than how I eat at home! After dinner I went and took a cold show since there is not water heater. Hey, at least I have a show head and not just a bucket! They said I would get used to it. Especially when it gets hotter outside. Today wasn’t bad, about 85 with a nice breeze. We went out on the roof to look at the stars which are amazing in Haiti! I could see the Milky Way! Bill, the reporter, and one of the crewmembers from the Sea Hunter had come to stay the night on land with us and were up on the roof too. They had some pretty crazy stories about the Haitian government and their adventures at sea. It’s amazing the conversations you have when you get all kinds of different people together from all over!