Day 5 - Finally! To Work!

Trip Start Mar 04, 2010
Trip End Mar 15, 2010

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Where I stayed
Pwoje Espwa Guest House

Flag of Haiti  , Sud,
Monday, March 8, 2010

Our first full work day was pretty interesting. I was up at 6 ready to go, just excited to start working FINALLY.  Sam and I went out to verify measurements of the already dug trenches.  They turned out to by pretty far off our plans.  It was supposed to be square and ended up a parallelogram.  Not good news.  Donald wanted me to be in charge of rebar which scared me a bit but if he thought I could do it then I guess I can!  By 9:30 we had taken all the measurements and put the guys to work shoveling the dirt from around the trenches into the center in order to make access easier and to build up the center for a slab that would sit 2' above grade.  Donald, Sam, and Kevin went back to the quad for a while to figure out how to fix the parallelogram problem and then all the workers took a break so I was out there by myself with a shovel!  The Haitians have a really funny day schedule.  They show up at 7, work until 9:30 and take a half hour break in the shade until 10, then they work constantly until about 3pm when they get a plate of rice and beans from somewhere (not quite sure where it comes from) and pass it around from guy to guy while they are still working, taking bites and passing it on.  Why would you do most of you work during the hottest part of the day?  Beats me.  Anyways, so I started shoveling the dirt in the middle of the foundation.  When the guys came back from their break  they took my shovel with odd looks to go with it and I communicated to them that we needed more gravel in the bottom of the trench since we didn’t want to pour the concrete right onto the mud.  I set the guys up in the trenches and helped carry the buckets of rocks to them, still more odd looks.  After a while Donald, Kevin, and Sam came back from the quad with a refigured plan and we started to fix the trenches to make them square.  They had to shave off the sides of them with shovels and we used their string as a guide to make sure it was straight.  So basically it was a whole lot of measuring and standing around which took us right up until lunchtime. 

After Lunch I sat down with Sam to figure out the rebar layout.  It took us about an hour and by 1:30 I got back on the site to finished trenches and we started laying out the rebar.  I did the best I could to direct everyone and make sure the upright rebar was in the right spots.  It was so much fun getting rigt down in the trenches working with the Haitians who didn’t speak any English yet we managed to get the right measurements for each piece and work together easily.  The other guys were complaining about the language barrier but I didn’t have much of an issue with it.  We had a nice rhythm going all the way around the foundation and we almost finished by the end of the day but they were still digging out a portion of the trench so we had to stop and finish up tomorrow morning. 

It was a very cool experience to work with the Haitian guys and I think I impressed them and they respected me after they got over my weirdness.  They didn’t even flinch at my slight bossiness since I tried to pretend I knew exactly what I was doing!  I honestly expected them to ignore me and just go on doing their own thing or who know what but they were all so pleasant and all had their comments about how hard I worked.  I found this out after Judex, the translator, got out of school at 2 and could tell me what they were saying!  It was pretty cool and it just gives me way more motivation to keep working hard right along with them. 

We finished up around 5 and went back to the quad for a nice cold shower.  It almost felt good!  The sun wasn’t out to bad today so the water tanks on the roof didn’t warm up as much as usual which made it pretty chilly.  For dinner we had a chicken stew and then played more euker.  Not a huge fan of the game so far but there really isn’t much to do at night.  I can’t wait for tomorrow because I know it will be much more productive than today!  I love this work!
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