First, the random thoughts:
-Best image in my mind from the last couple days:
seeing the cleaning lady’s 4 year old smiling and laughing at all the toys when the music video for Owl City “fireflies” came on TV at our house.
-Got caught in a massive storm today on the way home. 3:30pm and already dark enough for headlights. There was a tree down across the road blocking our way home. 3 cars backed up both direction before I finally got out and pulled enough branches off to clear the road. Really wasn’t excited about that, I don’t like being anywhere near these power lines in strong winds/high rains. Please be praying for people in tent cities and all around here. Thunderstorms are very dangerous for them.
-Things working since I got here: Washing Machine, Battery/Inverter System(temporary solution only)
-Things left to install: Dryer, Kitchen Sink, Chest Freezer (fix outlets), Generator, Battery/Inverters, Fridge #2 (once delivered), A/C units in short-term missionary rooms
-Things to fix/renovate: Electrical System, Master Bathroom (used to have a bidet, now will have 2 toilets, requires replumbing that one), put doors on both bathrooms, A/C in car, troubleshoot starter issue with car
-Things to build: Battery Rack, Bunk Beds, Rainwater Collection(think rain gutters)
-Things to buy: Internet Access, Mattresses
-Things I probably won’t touch: painting, new furniture for dining areas, I do technical, not home decorating. If someone with good ideas comes in, I will let that person pick colors and stuff and I will help 🙂
Also, I will be getting information tonight from them about 2 orphanages in the area that are dissolving and need to find homes for their kids. About 25 kids total. Might be the first ones to get into this building. I’m just passing the info to Bob though, he can take it from there.
Now for the journal-ish writing:
Been a great couple days here. Frustrating cause everything takes so long. Spent 5 hours today at the hardware/furniture store. Will accidentally got 2 freezers delivered to our place, I had to swap one for a fridge and get the difference in money back (~$600!). Took over an hour to find out that we could only get store credit. Took another 2 hours for them to actually give us the check (from them, to them) that represented the store credit. Thankfully I was able to use it on stuff for the electrical system for stuff I already needed. Now I have the best layout for a multiple source power system I’ve figured out to this point. Bruce, I give you details later if you want, but most people don’t care. 🙂
Other frustration is that just because you see something in a store doesnt mean it is for sale, or that they even have it in stock. *shrug* oh well, it’s haiti.
Been eating well, and got internet access in the process, from a local missions org. Child Hope is an orphanage ministry in the Delmas region. (Sidenote: If you look at a map of Port-au-Prince look for Delmas 77 and/or the Canadian Embassy to see about where I am. I don’t actually have an address though.)
They have agreed to take me in for meals. Works out well. Pretty cheap for 3 good meals a day, and it’s close. Plus, I may even be able to work off some of the cost of meals cause they have issues with one solar setup, and have some more solar equipment to be used. If I have time, I’ll help them on this trip too.
Child Hope put up Bob for about 3 weeks of his time out here. Plus they were home for Yeves (translator/house mate) until he moved in with us to help out.
Speaking of Yeves, he’s a great guy. 20 years old, really sensitive for kids. I was spoiled with my first translator friends (Smiley, Jude, Smith, Jeff, Rodley, etc.), cause they were all more experienced at handling the business end of things as well, but Yeves is working very hard for me on that end.
I also feel bad for him cause when I am thinking, I am not very talkative.
Thought for anyone coming to Haiti. Carry a notebook with you. If you need to go to a real store (think hardware stores, etc), write down quantity, product number, description (as they have it marked), and price. It will make the process much easier to check out. Anything to speed up the process is helpful.
The typical scenario is this:
-find what you want,
-flag down an employee and tell him,
-he will write it down, finish shopping and he will ring up your purchases based on your list
-he will have to go in the back to check prices on just about everything that is not marked
-he will give you a receipt and point you to the money counter
-pay the person at the money counter (usually the least friendly person in the process)
-exhange rates vary from 35-40 HTG (haitian gourds)/dollar depending on the source
-get a receipt to use as a pick ticket.
-hand said pick ticket to the person at the picking counter (possibly outside and at a loading dock)
-wait for each item to be picked by one person
-second person will check off each item picked
-if something is out of stock, this is where you find out
-return with pick ticket to money counter for refunds on anything that was out of stock
Process will take roughly 45 mins on a fast day.
I’ve had to figure things out on a note of compassion and all. Just like in most large cities, there are the window washers and panhandlers. Here it is difficult though cause you can still never tell how legit someone is in their need to beg, but probably all do. I run out of stuff to hand out in the car, but I don’t want to feed a beggers mentality or make it too profitable to beg, or people who don’t need to will start doing it.
Today though, I saw two cases that broke my heart. One was a little kid, probably 7 or 8 washing windows, if he could reach them. The second was an amputee. The man was standing on his good leg and crutches with his hands out in the middle of the road, barely avoiding traffic. I wish I had more to give both of them.
Updates on other traveling:
-May or may not hit Grand Goave this weekend, cause I’m not sure if the Edme’s are even home. Wasn’t an Akron person (Maggie if I remember right) gonna be down here this fall too, someone give me an update on that, maybe I will stop in.
-Will be heading to Cayes. Apparently there is a problem at the MIA guest house with the inverter. Funny how big of a crisis buying diesel can be once you are used to running on batteries all the time. I was also heading there anyhow to get stuff, but it was funny when Dr. Jay asked for advice to tell Amoce, and I told him to sit tight cause I’d be there in a few days.
-Going to Petion Ville tomorrow, not sure what to expect, but hopefully gonna find some info about internet access.
-The cleaning lady’s baby was at the dr with a fever a couple days ago. She did a great job working for us. Apparently she has 4 kids (baby, 4, and two older ones), and lives in a tent city since the quake.
-Katie Johnson is leaving for a year long internship with ECHO (Education Concerns for Hunger Organization). Big transition, but lots to learn in this year about herself, God, agriculture, and community development in third world regions.
-Spritual Warfare is difficult to deal with at times here. I don’t know how to describe it, but about once a week (on all my trips so far), there is always a night that I just feel the oppresive nature of the fact that Haiti has been a stronghold for Satan and demonic activity for such a long time. Two nights ago I didn’t sleep well cause of that again. I just feel it all around. On the bright side, it focuses my heart on crying out to God for protection and compassion on these people.
-Also, pray for Candice Gordon (The Love Alliance), as she is striving to begin a YWAM Discipleship Training School, that God provides for her needs to get there.