March 1st, and so much to do

Probably the most noticeable thing this time of morning here at the Haiti Communitere compound is the lack of battling boom boxes.  As I recall Thursdays were before daylight religious PA systems were doing their best to wake up the alive and dead.  It is silent.

They let me know last night that grid power was just about a constant now.  It wasn’t like it was last year when grid was intermittent at best.  Then just after dark the grid failed.  I was blamed of course.  Oldest person on base times two always gets the blame.

The flight from DFW to Ft Lauderdale was only about two thirds full at most.  The flight from Ft Lauderdale to Port Au Prince only had 44 passengers.  Then we had ten minute delay on the tarmac after one of the passengers didn’t show up so they pulled their luggage.  I like that idea.  I wouldn’t want them missing their flight and their luggage making it, especially if the luggage wasn’t the nice kind.

The gauntlet at the airport had a new twist.  Last year you were attacked at the doorway out of the terminal by willing hands with your luggage.  Then when you arrived a hundred yards later at the parking lot ten dollars was the fee for grabbing your bags before you could react.  This year when I got out of customs there were my bags and two willing young men in uniforms waiting for me.  We got to the parking lot and there was some drama when both of them wanted ten bucks each.  Haiti Communitere representatives paid local rates and not the inflated old man with his arm in a sling rate.

The compound has many changes but the key ingredients are the same.  They now have a small icebox/refrigerator, whoopee!  Even if I don’t use it I like the idea of it being there.  But the most important thing is the people.  They are still the young who are striving to make a difference in our world.  Just being around them is inspiring.

I got my old room.  They’ve changed it, two beds instead of one, bright blue paint, and a custom made desk.

Rox and Tim are the ones in charge of the Ubuntu program here.  The other day when I talked to them they were a little disappointed in the response of the community towards the project.  They had handed out applications in the communities.  The applicants had to commit to four weeks work without pay and present a project they would like to do in the community for the community using what they learned.  About five applications had been returned.  Rox and Tim kept extending the deadline for returning the applications.

Yesterday they had a total of 34 and tomorrow we will have a meeting cutting down the finalists to twenty or so.  The original funding, UN, backed out and two other entities stepped up to the plate.  We are still $3,000.00 short of the original budget and that is basically the wages for the women while learning Ubuntu construction.

This is going to be a ton of fun.  The obstacles are many but the rewards if we succeed are huge.  The original objections to Ubuntu-blox involved survivability in an earthquake or hurricane.   Those objections were put to rest with the tests performed by National Testing Systems.  So now the objections involve the ability of Haitians to do the work and if they will embrace it.  I have faith in the Haitians when it comes to work that is important.  I also believe they will love the Ubuntu-blox house.

If you are interested, the temps will be in the high eighties today I believe.  That’s what they were yesterday here.  Toasty.

If you see my wife today give her a big hug for me.  I complained like crazy about her packing like I was going off to the hereafter.  But it sure was nice this morning to have all the comforts of home neatly placed in some of the darnedest of places.  It was like Christmas instead of first day of March.

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  • Dave Pennington

    Good to hear you made it safe and sound. Nice writeup, look forward to following your progress. I think once the word gets out how affordable your house is the people will come around.

  • Audrey

    Nice share.  Standing by on a reply to the FB note for scheduling reasons.  Will you be approaching the Map Travay Pou Lakay group of women in Wharf Jeremy who participated in the demo – with this project?

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