Thursday, July 9, 2009

Haiti Complete

Ok, so this post is super late (8 months), but before I start writing about my new venture (Peace Corps) I want to wrap up this Haiti blog. Sorry everyone, but most of the points are bulleted because that's what I did back when I wrote everything, and I'm not going to be able to go back right now and write out each day's story. I'm also not really explaining this post is more just being used to complete the Haiti trip journal for myself, my apologies. But, if you stay tuned in, I should have some new and exciting material to share about me now being in Mali.

Monday, October 27, 2008:

Matt and I arrived in Milot at 10AM. Pigged out on goldfish, and went to find Meegoda, his daughter Eleanor, Bryce, and Melissa up at the hospital’s computer lab. Immediately went and showed them several water sources around Milot, and was impressed with my memory in that I located every one I was looking for. I haven’t seen or thought about these locations since last year. Those guys did water testing at each spot, and then we headed back to incubate the samples in the hospital’s lab and then headed over for lunch. Matt & I were very hungry from our journey, and were very pleased with the spread of food that was put before us. It’s always like that when staying at the Crudem compound. At lunch, we met Seth, a young volunteer at Crudem, and he toured us around the compound so that we could understand the way the area operates, and scope out a production area for ourselves. Afterward, Matt & I showed the EWB group what we brought with us (2 molds, lids, tubes, gravel, etc.), and they showed us what tools and miscellaneous items they brought with them (mostly the list of items I told them to bring, minus the 1½” wrench and a few other items). They didn’t bring a 1½” wrench, of which Chris said “they better bring a 1½” wrench because you can’t find them anywhere in Haiti”, ha ha, oh well.

Afterward, I showed the EWB group one more water source for them to test, and then talked to a guy that I met last year, Michael (pronounced “Michelle”). I also met a bunch of other guys that I met last year, and I was amazed to see how much that played a role in the progress we made this week. People were happy to see that I came back, and were willing to help. I asked Michael if we could find a 1½” wrench somewhere, and he said he’d look for me. What do you know, he came back within 30 minutes and had an adjustable wrench that could open to a full 1½” wrench, I was impressed.

Soon after, we had a meeting with Matt & I, Dr. Ladocsi, and the EWB group and we talked about what the plans are for our project.

Dinner was delicious, and sleep was tough the first night as we killed the power a bit early and didn’t have our fans for the evening.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008:

  • Breakfast
  • Gameplan for meeting w/ sister Martha
  • Met w/ sister Martha, head of hospital (Dr. Charletmeu), & director of public health
  • They suggested meeting with the principal of prof. school, Lubin Rosny
  • Set up appt. w/ Rosny, Liason between hospital & school, & Sis. Martha @ 11am
  • They all liked the BSF and the project, we received their blessing
  • We asked for the production area and our wish was granted and the key was handed over
  • Agreed with Rosny that the students could begin learning at 8:00AM the following morning
  • Got Bryce & Melissa started on cleaning up the area (w/ help from some Haitians) while Matt & I went and picked up misc. tools (buckets, cement, shovels, sand), negotiating all the way through
  • Setup shop
  • Dinner
  • “Accomplishments of today, goals of tomorrow” meeting

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008:

  • Started working at 6AM
  • Got everything set up & prepared molds for students coming at 8AM
  • Breakfast
  • Students arrived (as well as other bystanders), and Matt & I demonstrated how to make a BSF. The class was successful
  • Melissa left for Cap Haitien to see an orphanage and pick up some supplies we couldn’t get the day before
  • We unloaded the load of sand from the truck using 5 gallon buckets
  • After clean up, we went and used the computers for a few minutes before lunch because there wasn’t enough time to go get gravel or search for all the water committee members
  • After lunch, everyone went to Dr. Higgin’s lecture about heart murmurs
  • Matt, Bryce, & Marie went to the gravel pit to pick up stone, and they tried charging twice the amount that they quoted us the day before
  • While they were at the pit, I headed out into the town with a local Haitian “Thony” to find the water committee members from last year, and let them know about Thursday’s meeting
  • Father TiJwa was in Canada, Maurice Ettienne was in the US, I met with Jose Valbrun, Elios Charlott, & Pierre Wilfrid
  • I got back to Crudem at the same time as Matt and the others, and we regrouped a bit. They told me of their gravel troubles, but they still picked up more sand and some gravel.
  • Melissa & Eleanor got back from Cap with a wheel barrow, more buckets, fine mesh for the sand sieve, tarp, copy of lock key, etc.
  • Dinner
  • “Accomplishments of today, goals of tomorrow” meeting
  • Made a list of steps for constructing a BSF for the students and I started drawing pictures
  • I couldn’t draw and stay awake any longer, so I sat on the couch and watched the end of the movie everyone was watching “The Notebook”

Thursday, October 30th, 2008:

  • Started working at 6AM
  • Bryce & Melissa started putting together the wheel barrow
  • Matt & I prepared for the class
  • Breakfast
  • Class arrived (and Rosny & one of the teachers) and Matt & I demonstrated how to demold, and then had the students work with us to make the next two filters
  • We had one of the students write down the procedures step-by-step, and to our surprise he later rewrote them so they were perfect
  • Nika, the mayor, and the two SOIL girls showed up, along with 3 people from an orphanage
  • We explained the technology to them and chatted a bit
  • Had lunch with everyone, including Nika, Sasha, and Leia
  • After lunch we unloaded the truck of the sand and gravel with buckets (wheel barrow didn’t have air in the tire yet)
  • Matt, myself, and Michel headed out for a different sand and gravel pit much further away, heading on the paved road toward the DR. Unfortunately, they only had lots and lots of sand
  • Then we headed for the original sand and gravel pit to place an order of small gravel
  • We did some negotiating (of course) and I signed a contract w/ Mr. Gravel, the head honcho for a full truckload of gravel for $2000 HTG
  • SOIL guys showed up with some paint that Sasha ordered for us
  • Planned for the Water Committee meeting with Dr. Ladocsi
  • Dinner
  • Had everyone show up at Crudem for the meeting, traipsed everyone through the mud back to our filter yard to show the BSF
  • Planned on having everyone go to Father’s TiJwa’s house (weren’t allowed to stay at Crudem), but we landed up going to the mayor’s office for the meeting (probably about 20 attendees)
  • The meeting was a success, people were excited and supportive of the BSF project
  • I later found out that I didn’t have a heart murmur after all, woo hoo (thanks Dr. Higgins)

Friday, October 31st, 2008 – Halloween!:

  • Started working at 6:30AM
  • Got everything set up in work yard
  • Breakfast
  • Had students do the demolding and pouring of new filters all by themselves. They did a great job.
  • While I was finishing up with the students, the truck broke down while Matt and Bryce were trying to go get more bags of cement; they did eventually get it going
  • I took some pictures with the very excited students. They were proud of the work that they did all by themselves.
  • I also took a video explaining the work area and how it’s laid out
  • We got the completed sieves from the carpenter shop, with wheel barrow attachment and all J
  • Matt & I left to pick up the stone we contracted for the day before
  • Of course, it wasn’t near as easy as it could have been. They filled the truck up ¾ of the way and demanded the full $2000 HTG payment. My line was “Ou kohne, plen machin” and kept pointing at the contract (this meant, “You know it. Full truckload”).
  • We eventually got our full load, we just had to play their game
  • Lunch
  • Got Marie to translate to install the filter at the professional school (with all the students watching) while Bryce, Melissa, and others unloaded the gravel from the truck.
  • We were told that the group picture was happening at the hospital, so we headed up there to find no one.
  • We went into the lab and helped Sister Marie out with a few things, and she showed us some bacteria under the microscopes
  • We took the group photo outside, and then Sister Marie gave us all a tour of her lab and showed us some more things under the microscopes
  • We tried calling Nika to install her filter, but were unsuccessful
  • We took Joanna and Anna out to paint the one filter, Matt and I watched…and they had a bit of a paint fight (the color red was quite rich (bright) and pretty awesome)
  • Dinner and cake (celebrated Matt’s birthday)
  • We thought we were going to have a nice relaxing night, but Father Tijwa showed up with all of the people that were too sick to come to the meeting the night before…oh and the mayor showed up too
  • What do you know, I land up traipsing everyone back out to the filter area to do my schpeal one last flippin’ time J (I was so tired)
  • Played Harry Potter Uno, I got the Howler card, then played Egytian Ratscrew…a silly game requiring focus, something I lost days ago…with my lack of sleep J
  • Hung out and chatted for a bit, and went to bed

Saturday, November 1st, 2008:

  • Matt & I slept in until 6:30AM
  • Everyone was packing up to leave
  • They had a quick breakfast while I collected contact info, and they headed off
  • Matt & I then had a relaxing breakfast with our favorite Sister Marie
  • Afterward, we did a bunch of miscellaneous things we needed to get done before departing
  • Cleaned up work area
  • Installed Nika’s filter (brought “John” as our translator)
  • Painted filter in school (teacher wasn’t too happy)
  • Installed filter at Eveline’s house down the road (SOIL)
  • Purchased wrench
  • Chowed down on junk food (vanilla crème cookies and soda…and a banana)
  • Left for Father Tijwa’s house with John, went over last bit of project details and bought some of his cards made by his workers
  • Drove up to the parking lot for the Citadel (carried lots of Haitians along the way)
  • Hiked up to the Citadel, very cloudy
  • Started raining on our way back down, road was very slippery (skidded a few times), and we were carrying many a Haitian
  • Got back to Crudem, wrote a note to Jess having her tell the students some things and also gave her the spare key we got made up in Cap
  • Even though we planned to head to Cap, it was already dark, and a torrential downpour started, so we were starting to think otherwise
  • Upon our call to Sasha, we were encouraged to head to Cap anyway, and we did
  • Sasha and Leia took us out to a restaurant called La Kay, in which Matt & I had some delicious cheeseburgers
  • Headed back to the SOIL apartment, chatted for a bit…but was overtired and couldn’t speak another word
  • We set up our mosquito nets, and passed out

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008:

  • Matt & I got up early, packed up the truck, and waited on the roof until the girls got up
  • Had coffee and breakfast with them (Thony made eggs), but my stomach was giving me troubles, so I ate a banana, attempted to chat for a bit, but then went and took a couple Tums and laid down for a bit
  • We left at 10AM, got gas, and departed for our journey home (CWH, Pierre Payen) at 10:20AM.
  • It was a rather long day with the trip being about 7 hours long, with getting a flat tire in there
  • Matt let me drive after getting the flat tire fixed, and I drove all the way home to Pierre Payen
  • We unpacked, showered, and had dinner
  • Matt & I came back to the room, watched an episode of “The Office” (“Diversity Day”…from season one), and tried to put on an episode of “Planet Earth”, but didn’t make it more than 10 minutes. We couldn’t keep our eyes open. In bed around nine.

Monday, November 3rd, 2008:

  • Matt & I slept in a bit, and it was so nice to just lay in bed and relax a bit after such an intense week
  • Homemade bagels with peanut butter & jelly for breakfast (I made a fried egg too), then we started on what Chris wanted us to do for the day…figuring out angles for braces on the solar array
  • Figured all the angles out, made egg salad for lunch, and sat out on the back patio for a while. It was a gorgeous day, and there was an awesome breeze blowing. We breathed it in and enjoyed it for quite a while.
  • Brought the computers out and started transferring photos/responding to e-mails
  • Chris came back from his trip to Port picking up the shipping container contents (ordered nine months ago), and we helped unload the truck, which included very carefully unloading 64 solar panels one by one.
  • Ate dinner, played with Olivia for a bit, and sat down with Matt to type this bulleted list.
  • I’m going to take a shower now, then I’ll go to bed because I’m going to pack in the morning (we have to leave for Port at 6:30AM…but I’m too tired to pack right now)

Haiti Complete :)

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