Hey everybody! Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. Time kept slipping, slipping, slipping into the future… Anyway, I had a couple of really interesting, labor-intensive days. Yesterday, I tore down a house. Completely. Yeah, it was in bad shape. It wasn’t actually done, which is good. Had it been done, and someone WAS living there, they likely wouldn’t have survived the earthquake. But it had to come down just because of another fine example of Haitian construction. Beginning to sense a theme? Good…. These walls were so unstable, I literally was able to just shove them over with my bare hands. Pastor Lafleur wanted as many of the blocks saved as possible, as new concrete blocks were 60 cents each (US currency). It broke my heart to have to tear it down (even though I admit it was fun), as this is an approximately 60 year old Haitian woman and she and her 14 year old granddaughter live in a makeshift tent that is basically big enough for them to sleep in right next to each other. She has never owned a house and was sad we had to tear down what was up. But we hope to rebuild asap (so if anyone has around $5K they want to donate to build the house, let me know. Will get it up asap. Anyway, was trying to save the blocks, but a) when I tried to remove them from the wall, the wall shook back and forth, and b) the mortar is stronger than the blocks, so when i tried chipping that away, as often as not, the block just crumbled. We did save quite a few of the blocks, and I strongly recommended that they mixed the used blocks into the new ones, to keep them as strong as possible.
Last night, we went to a church service. Kinda fun being able to sing worship standards in English while they sing them in Creole!
Today was a very hard day. Got up early and went and worked with the Salvation Army. We went and helped clear rubble at a house that collapsed. FYI, they don’t have power tools. There were no jackhammers to break up concrete. Nor were there sawzalls to cut up the rebar. We used GBFH’s (great big freaking hammers-15 lb sledges) and hacksaws. Needless to say, it was a great workout. I hope to do that 2-3 times each week. Will be great for building muscle. I can come back to the States just ripped. And hopefully, 30 pounds lighter. Look out, ladies. I’ll be the total package. But I digress… The realization hit me while I was doing the work that the shear amount of houses like the one we were working on means it will likely take years to clean up this country. It was a heavy burden to bear. I just pray that it will build a stronger nation in the long run.
One amusing tidbits from the work today. Some Haitians found a clothes bin that was completely intact. it was like Christmas for them, finding clothes. Everyone came to see if they could find something that fit them.
After the work (we started early to end early before it got way too hot), we walked to the beach, just a bit up the road. I had jeans on, but that didn’t stop me from jumping into the ocean! The water felt GREAT. After 15-20 minutes there, we walked to a place owned by a Miami native now living in Jacmel. He owned a barbecue chicken place. It was awesome! After lunch, I showered and hung out here for a bit before we walked to one of the tent cities to play with kids and hand out toys. I pretty much ended up being a “wall” to keep kids from mauling people as things were getting passed out. they were so excited to get something, be it bubbles, a matchbox car, or a dum-dum sucker.
Well, this brings you up to speed on what’s going on here. Very happy to be here doing the work. Thanks to all of you for supporting me. Ok, pics aren’t wanting to upload. Internet here is hinky. You can see more on my facebook. I should add a link to that on the right. I’l do just that.