Haiti Construction Trip Day – 13

We had some wicked thunderstorms last evening but it is not like Illinois, where it is followed by a cold front.  Today was the hottest, most humid day since I (dale) have been here.  In spite of the conditions we had a most productive day today.  The Haitians worked extremely hard and made good progress spreading concrete on the walls.  Our hope is that they will complete the walls within the next week.  The masons, Curtis and Mike, nearly completed the oven.  Curtis had to crawl into the oven and throw the concrete at the ceiling.  Those two have put a lot of time and buckets of sweat into the oven.  Mike J. and Larry worked on building a cover for the well.  They used left over pieces of wire reinforced foam board and rebar which will be covered with concrete.  Muscle Man Scott was in charge of wheelbarrowing the concrete to the Haitian teams.

I (Dale) finally found my nitch on the team.  All the guys (but me) are multi-talented from tearing apart generators and compressors to designing ovens.  But what is critical to making good concrete is sand without rocks.  It just so happens that I have a masters in soil science, which means I know rocks from sand.  And it turns out the most dreaded, lowest job here is shoveling or sifting the rocks out of the sand.  I finally qualified for a job!  To add insult to (ego) injury we have only three shovels.  One is a long handled shovel which was my favorite.  But one of the ladies showed her seniority by taking my shovel and giving me the short handled shovel.  She was in charge of scooping the dry cement.  Then the short handled shovel was taken from me by another woman whose job was to fill the five gallon buckets with purified sand.  All that was left for me was a shovel with a broken handle that was 6 inches long.  So that is what happens to the unskilled labor here in Haiti!

For supper tonight we had goat stew over rice.  Tastes like beef and was good. We said goodbye to Scott the engineer tonight.  The Haitians all took their turn hugging him and saying goodbye.  They really enjoyed him and his sense of humor. 

Tomorrow will be our turn to say goodbye.  Not fun.  All of us have formed bonds that will last a lifetime. And some even were given nicknames by the Haitians.  The Cat (Curtis) and Papa Sam (Mike J.) are two of them. We will let you know how it all goes tomorrow night.

Haiti Construction Trip – Day 12

A day of rest, for most of us. Scott, the engineer, is a man of many talents. His job this afternoon was fixing a washing machine for Christisnville.  He carries a full medical kit so everyone on the job and here at the compound rely on him for all kinds of medical needs. Tonight, however, he was on the other end of the needle.  Ingraham, the lady in charge of human resources here at Christianville, is also an acupuncturist.  So she poked Scott from head to toe. It helps to ease the pain in his knee.  He will be leaving tomorrow night. We will miss him.

Our plans on how to proceed with the school was discussed before supper. We think we have come up with a plan so we will pass it by Pastor Benito and see what tomorrow brings. 

Church was very enjoyable this morning with Pastor Benito asking Larry and Dale to say a few words.  The church was full, with people sitting on both sides.  Scott the engineer/doctor/preacher gave the sermon with Benito interpreting.  Considering the topic was sanctification, he did an excellent job.

For supper tonight we had grilled hot dogs on home made buns – their Sunday night tradition.  We had a crisp for desert made from the mirliton vegetable.   The same mirliton was used in a delicious soup for lunch. 

It is hard to believe that we are entering this team’s final two days of work.  Nobody wants to think about saying the goodbyes.  Some of them are already talking about coming back in October when another team will work on the next set of school rooms.