Thursday, May 20, 2010

Back streets of Leogone


Good day.  Jerry and I went back to the same rubble site we were at yesterday while Carrie went to a different rubble site and Larry helped rebuild a school.  All are good.

I have a small cut on the back of right leg were the pedal hit me when I layed the bike down today. It bled alot more than it hurt, but given the filthy conditions I really over cared for it.  the rest of the group, other than Carrie's sunburn are tired but fine.

While I could write a while on the work, in all honesty, there is only so much you can say about breaking up large chunks of cement into smaller chunks which are then loaded into a wheel barrel and hauled about 65 yards and dumped into a pile.  And yes the careful reader will note that 65 yards is 5 yards closer to the house than yesterday, which is a sign of progress.

So short version of work.  It was REALLY hot in the AM.  We were working flat out and would be taking water breaks every 20 minutes or so.  We made great progress at our site (Ruble Desiree) but to anyone else on the street would say there is a VERY long ways to go.  But baby steps.

Lunch time...Lunches are much longer due to the heat.  They typically last about 2 hours.  Today instead of eating Jerry and I got a tour of the city as we tried to buy Wesley new work boots and a SIM chip for our phones.   It will no doubt be one of the most memorable times of the entire trip.

It started when the three of us were dropped off downtown and ran into an entire elementary class walking down the street accompanied by their teacher.  After many "hey-yous" and high fives, I talked to the teacher and mentioned we had some soccer balls to donate if they would like.  He loved the idea and invited us to come to his class tomorrow.  So our rubble day will include a hour break to go speak with the class.  Ironically, as we were not very close to his house, Wesley had had the same teacher when in elementary school and he will accompany us (and line up either a tap-tap (a taxi that is a pickup truck with everyone in the back, or a taxi (which is a motorcycle), act as translator, etc).  I am really looking forward to it.

After leaving the teacher we went to track down a SIM card with very limited success, but we are getting closer. By the time we leave Haiti I am very confident Jerry, Larry, and I will have a phone that will work.

Then we went to the "market" looking for his boots.  I was almost speechless (no small feat for me!).  It was dirty with hundreds upon hundreds of small vendors selling their wares sometimes on a table, but very often laid out a blanket spread on the ground feet from mud, animal droppings, rotting food, and who knows what else.

We went to each of the maybe 10 shoe "stores" and I am convinced that the majority were selling donated shoes.  We struck out on actual boots but at least got him a decent pair of heavy hiking shoes.  (better not perfect...and still working on the boots--size 9 if anyone wants to donate to him).

We then took the back way to camp to try and catch lunch.  Sad.  Went by house after house that was collapsed on to itself with people living in tents in fields shared with goats, chicken, and an occasional cow.  The people were all very nice with many smiles accompanied with "Hey you" from the children and "Bon Jour" from the adults. This as the temperature hovered near 100 degrees with a hot sun hanging seemingly directly overhead.

When we made it back to camp, lunch was done and no food left (we've run out for each of the first two lunches so I guess I better get to lunch sooner!)  We then went to the famous street vendor (well famous in HODR circles) who goes by either the Egg Lady or Sandwich Lady depending on who you ask.  Jerry and Wesley had a egg sandwich (think eggs, with spices, hot sauce, and even ketchup on a sub roll).  I got back to camp and had a Zone Bar.  So not exactly (or eggactly?) a filling meal.

When we got back to the work site we we met with a passing rain shower that was truly delightful and we all enjoyed immensely as it temporarily dropped temperatures and allowed us to work for about 45 minutes hard without a break.

***work details left out for time***

After work I went biking.  This time I went in the opposite direction of yesterday.  Fun as all the kids yell "hey you" as you ride by.   Not the best workout however as WAY too crowded, WAY too bad of road.

On the way back as I was returning the calls of "hey you", I turned back to yell, and the next thing I knew I hit a ditch in the middle of the road and went over on my side.  Nothing serious but the cut on my calf bled quite a bit.  It should also be noted that as soon as I went down, I had about 15 Haitians come running to me aid.   Very nice.

*Tonight there was a HODR talent show at Joe's a Local bar. I did not go as I have no talents, was sure there would be smokers, and just did not have time.  It sounds (the bar is right next door) like they are having a good time AND with everyone over there the internet is a bit faster.  So a WIN-WIN!

* not tired, but very hungry.  going to try and find something before lights out.

more tomorrow...

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