Thursday, Friday and Saturday
“Busy” is the Compound Password these days. Well, it’s always busy, but more so now with the extra dozen and half of Haitian workers building the water tower, and working on the new living quarters that the Work Team from Yarmouth had started in January. The base of the tower was gradually filled in with the broken down rocks into smaller sizes, and any spaces in between filled with cement; and, on Friday, a floor layer of concrete was laid – again, man mixed, and carried by the “bucket brigade” to the appropriate locations.
Thursday, Dickie, Karen, and Luckner had measured the layout of a bathroom for the new living quarters above the Children’s House, and Dickie started in on making a basin cabinet for the room. It is very interesting to see the methods the Haitians use when constructing such a building with its masonry walls and concrete roof – very resourceful. And there are lots and lots of concrete and cement work yet to do. A truck arrived late Thursday afternoon with 400 bags of cement. Although it was about quitting time after a long tiring day’s work, it was impressive to see how quickly the workers unloaded the truck, carrying the heavy bags to a temporary storage place to be temporarily covered with some tarps. Great work, with lots of fun and comradely among them.
As we’ve said earlier, Luckner is supervising the construction of the tower. We try to keep a supply of cool water available for the workers by alternating some gallon jugs from the warm water to cooling it slowly by a block of ice. It works out reasonably well, and then the diesel generator doesn’t have to be going so often. The Haitian electricity supply is intermittent here. Thursday also saw Ken treating and then the painting the four new benches that Dickie had been making before the new three arrived.
In the midst of the major projects that are underway, of course, there are the many small and backup errands and necessary support that Carol, Jim, and Don were giving. Now, too, with the schools not yet opened after the earthquake, the Orphanage children are around all day long. They don’t get in the way, or go anywhere dangerous, but one going up or down the Compound can often get a greeting, wave, and /or smile, and they are always ready for a hug or bit of fun. Ti Luc these days sits in the shade and supervises the construction of the water tower. He’s getting some “hand on/feet on” experience as well with his ‘spoon shovel’, mixing sand and water bowl, and little dump truck.
Thursday afternoon the donation of packaged rice along with enough cash to buy some beans to cook with it began for some of the more needy people in the area. Some was picked up by the people themselves if they were close enough to make their way here and some was delivered by volunteers because it would be an additional hardship for the family to make the trip to the mission.
The feeding program of the HATS school students continued through the week. School was not yet open but students came mid-morning for a meal. School will reopen on Monday.
After the wheelbarrows or project truck are stopped at the end of a workday, out comes the soccer ball, and all ages, and genders, and all lengths of legs are ready to run, dribble, and shoot. Good football skills come early! As we know, the soccer/football here is like the puck and hockey stick to Canadian boys and girls.
Thursday evening saw the crew down with the kids while Carol gave out the stuffed toys donated by the crew of the MFI flight they came in on. The children were thrilled with their new cuddly friends.
During Friday, Dickie the Foreman of the Canadian visiting workers, almost finished a cabinet for the bathroom in the new quarters as mentioned above, with help from Jim. Ken had finished treating and painting the benches, and Don was doing errands with Karen. Carol, at age 77, is hard to keep up with. She does super work with Ti Luc and Ti Fi, looks after the daily washing and drying of us visitors clothing, washing evening dishes, interpreting Creole for us with Martha and Germaine when Karen is not around (Carol lived in Haiti 15 years ago), giving Ti Luc most meals, etc, etc, as Karen is often loaded with errands or someone needs her for something. Last year Cecile compared Karen to a helicopter, flitting around here and there.
Friday marked a month since the Earthquake in Haiti. This was a very important day in the history of Haiti. It was reported on several radio stations that the president accepted Christ and that he made the announcement that the country of Haiti must be given back to God. According to Luckner, who knows the history of his country, Haiti has never before had a president who was a Christian. Since the earthquake it has been reported that thousands have accepted the Lord. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, February 12th, 13th, and 14th were designated to be days of fasting and praying for Haiti. President Rene Preval announced on Thursday that no one had to work on Friday, to enable them to join in the prayer vigils. Those of us here at the mission, including all men who are working on the projects, got together to pray. It was very moving to see a group of men standing with their hands in the air telling God they wanted to put Haiti into His hands. This is happening all over Haiti for this three day period.
This morning, Saturday, we went to St. Marc in hopes the bank would be open, but nothing was. The main road was blocked to traffic because there was a big prayer meeting for Haiti happening. Seeing a blockade for this reason brought joy to all of us.
You know that since the quake we have been sleeping in the yard in mosquito tents. Too, we have been taking a bag, with all passports, wallets, airline tickets, and mission funds, etc out of the house with us. Nightly we dress Ti Luc in three pairs of pyjamas and carry him out to his tent after he is asleep. Lately that special bag has been going into the tent with Ti Luc, instead of being locked in the truck, to avoid anyone else on the compound seeing a pattern of something going into the truck at bedtime and coming back into the house in the morning. A couple of days ago Ti Luc discovered the bag at the bottom of his bed and promptly opened a zipper with his feet. When I went to bring him in he was sitting there happily playing with a bunch of $10 Haitian bills and did not want me to take his money away from him.
Luckner called it a day for the crew at 3pm and they energetically entered into a football game. They quickly chose sides and it was skins against the shirts and a more entertaining afternoon would be hard to imagine. Many of them played with bare feet which. In the second half Lukner asked if Jim wanted to get into the game, he declined stating he was too old but Lukner declared that there was an older gent on the field already. The fellow was a very young and in shape 68 years old and kept up with them all and outplayed some. These guys take their football (soccer) seriously and went at it as if they hadn’t been working hard all week on cement work. It still amazes us at how quickly and efficiently they get things done.
Now the Olympics are about to start so I will get this off and we will relax in front of the TV and enjoy a relaxing evening as long as the eyes will stay open. Kens are already closed and it doesn’t take long for more to follow.