Haiti - Day 4
Dear Friends and Family,
We had a very productive and happy day yesterday! All the rocks are gone, although we had to break for dinner before we had swept the newly-revealed terrace completely free of loose dirt and gravel. Steve met with the architect and now we all feel more sure of the plans for the wall. Unfortunately, the wall actually will probably take more than a month (!) to build, since it's so tall (about 30 feet) and the foundation so large (five feet by four feet). But we are here to contribute whatever we can, so we have to be patient and accept that we are part of a larger plan. The architect told Steve that the foundation of the building took a year to dig, so a month is really nothing in Haitian time. We will have to use a pulley to lift the dirt out of the trench and then hand carry it to the street. Perhaps some or other of us will come back in the future and see its completion?
We are now eating breakfast and will soon be back at work. Have a wonderful day!
Love to you all,
Pétionville is uphill from Port au Prince (PAP). We walked there tonight, a very brisk 30-minute walk on and off the sidewalk, sidestepping running water and debris, dodging motorcycles and little tap tap transports. I didn't' get to tell you that a tap tap is like a rundown pickup truck with a roof over the bed of the truck and seats on the sides. They are the community buses of Haiti. They cost $.25/ride and are only full when no more people can be crammed inside or outside. Steve was hanging out the back on our way back from our one and only outing into the city life near us. Doug decided to pass, which actually turned out to be a good idea, because the tap taps were so full that we couldn't all cram into one to get to St. Peter's and the tent city in Pétionville. We stressed out our two St. Joseph's young men/adolescent guides because it was getting near sunset and apparently the tent city is a dangerous, destitute, desperate neighborhood. They really didn't want to walk beyond the church. They were very careful shepherds. Yesterday, I was with others who drove from PAP to Pétionville for the grocery and ATM machine and sent you some photos from the same area between PAP and Pétionville.
Thursday at 7:30, we're going to La Gonâve. It's an island in the middle of the large C-shaped, western facing bay. PAP is in the center of the "C." Peter lives on La Gonâve, but he has been here visiting us two evenings and perhaps staying with friends in the PAP area. The trip to La Gonâve will be very informative, but might be relatively restful compared to the hard labor we've been doing at St. Joseph's. We'll let you know how it goes.
We're a bit sad to be leaving St. Joseph's and the boys here. It's been tiring but terrific.
Funny thing. We thought we had accomplished a lot yesterday but didn't realize that digging the trench for the foundation and removing soil (and rocks) would be hard in a different way. The most fun, though, was working with the all-Haitian laborers. They seemed as if they couldn't quite comprehend why we were doing all that work. Sometimes they would laugh at things we did or how we said things and comment among themselves in Creole, which we didn't understand but kind of did. Sometimes they mimicked our English words. Doug remembers the thump-thump-thump of Steve and Mark, and more lightly later Lena and Devin, our frien
Between 5-7, we walked to the St. Peter's church, listened to church singing inside briefly, saw a large tent city, and took a "tap tap" transport bus back. We had prayers and sharing during dinner and a very light-hearted, happy sharing time. It feels so good to be clean again! And it's June's and Mark's anniversary!