Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stayed up too late...

Up early to write UNFPA email/proposal for solar lighting after our meeting yesterday. We needed to submit in French and English. Since we are translator-less this morning, we were forced to resort to translate.google.com that has been known to translate crazy things at times. I felt a little uncomfortable hitting send, but alas it is off in cyberspace.
Yesterday morning on our drive we read Psalm 86. It is a very humbling verse, so we read it again today.

Drove to the UN Warehouse to pick up the second load of supplies. We were able to secure cholera treatment supplies for the Dessalines hospital. Dan and Dee Synder (who are staying with us at Russ and Sherry's) have worked with the hospital for many years and are taking another team up on Friday. It is nice to be able to help others through our connections.

We waited about 2 hours at the IOM Warehouse. Aye. Slow, slow. The girls I tried to speak to yesterday were there and waved to me before I had the chance to say hi to them.  Yesterday a few guys were talking about me and I said "Ki sa?", which means "What?" and they all stopped and looked at each other, then started laughing. They were pretty surprised when I had a few other phrases to say in creole too.

Kendra used her time wisely by talking to
her mom (Cheryl Trepus, who is in the DR) on her iPad.
Headed to the Mayor's office for our meeting with Alain from IOM. 45 minutes from IOM Warehouse. When we arrived, Alain informed us that the Mayor was in Cori (co-rye) for the opening of a new World Vision school. Alain said we should go up there with him to see the Mayor, so we followed him up the mountain. Cori is in the middle of nowhere. You basically drive 30 minutes further into the country and finally come across a village of 15,000 people. All of these people are from Port-au-Prince and fled here after the earthquake - most making tents out of sheets.

On the way we bought a phone card and I have been acting as the unofficial translator. I can buy phone cards, ask for simple directions and entertain small children with my creole skills. Even though my creole is not good, the phrases I know make people do double takes, which is always fun.

In Cori, we drove down many streets through IOM built houses and around a corner to see a mob of people waiting outside the new school. It was chaotic - I'm glad the UN had people nearby. We slowly drove through the people where we just stopped so Kendra and Alain could go inside. Omar and I waited in Floyd. Finally, the people began to gather around the door so we could drive to park.  We parked next to Alain's driver and between two UN military vehicles. Very smart.

Omar and I stayed in the car because when they finally let the other people in, it was a madhouse. Everyone was pushing and shoving, so we were glad to be out of the way. Here is a picture of the end of the mob... from afar.
Omar and I have been teaching each other English and Spanish, respectively. Sometimes conversations end in blank stares or we say "Understand?" after everything. Then we joke about which lesson we are on. "Lesson Number 3". It's been fun getting to know him. He has such a heart for God and recently started dating the girl he has been pining for for quite some time. It is very sweet the way he talks about her. They've been dating for 2 months.

When the coast was clear, we got out and talked to Alain's driver. He only speaks creole. He did agree to watch Floyd (the van) for us so we could go inside.

There were lots of UN military police. The first group we came to were from Jordan. Oh my. They were very forward and invited us to their base. We won't be visiting there. They each wanted a picture with me. I felt like a movie star. I finally got my camera out for the 8th picture.

Inside, the school was very beautiful. Painted yellow with a full size outdoor basketball court, picnic tables, and at least eight different large block buildings.  Alain and Kendra talked to the Mayor before the ceremony. The Mayor said the paperwork for the other land has been submitted and we are only waiting for the Minister of Finance to approve the city's donation. Yay!

Kendra, Alain from IOM, Emily

Afterwards, Alain took us to the other sections of Cori. The whole community is completely self sufficient now. It is pretty amazing.

Down the mountain and back to Vivy Michel to drop off the medical supplies for Dan and Dee. They head to Dessalines today, so securing these items came just in time!

You can always count on us to make trips interesting!  We were almost to our turn to go back up the mountain when we went over a speed bump and our spare tire hit the bottom and fell off halfway. Of course! Omar and I got out, stomachs to the ground, to try to take it out until we got back to Russ and Sherry's. Then, a Haitian who spoke some English stopped to help. One UN vehicle stopped and asked if we needed help, then drove away. A few cars later our old friend Amadu from Mali (in Africa) drove by and stopped to help us. He is the one who is a UN police officer and told us he is allowed to have four wives in his country... It was fun to see him in passing.

Post-Tire Celebration Photo:
Kendra, 2 good samaritans, Amadu, Omar
Dropped off supplies to Dan and Dee, showered, late lunch, filled out IOM Report and sent emails.
Back in the car to the US Embassy. Person wasn't there. To MSC (hardware store) to buy poles. The Paraguayans are fixing the fencing of the agricultural land tomorrow to close it in with the well on the outside. Walked around to find someone to help us and ran into a Korean UN military man. He is about my age, was born in Korea, lived in New York for 8 years and get this - went to Michigan State University. Small world!
MSC - Hardware Store
We are meeting Alain from IOM for dinner at La Maison Restaurant, so we went early to make some calls and rest. It also gave me time to write about my day.

Alain is a very cool guy.  We were able to get to know him on a more personal level.  He is a Christian and shared with us his testimony about how the earthquake was also when he re-commited his life to Christ. Alain has always helped to steer us in the right direction with the project, so we enjoyed our time with him tonight.

Got back to the house about 9:45pm and I have now stayed up too late posting about the last 4 days.  Time for bed.

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