Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Colonel Casco!

Happy 50th Birthday, Colonel Casco!

After making the cake last night and decorating Colonel Rojas' office as a surprise, Rojas told us that the guys were getting up at 3:45am to sing Happy Birthday to him before he runs at 4am.

Kendra, Sue and I got up but went to the office instead of outside Casco's container, so we missed it!

We immediately went back to bed and got up later at 5:30am.  Went to the office and the three of us and Rojas celebrated with the birthday song and the presentation of the cake.  It was a fun moment.

So early!  Emily, Colonel Casco, Sue, Kendra
Kendra, Col Casco, Col Rojas, Emily
Back to bed until 8:30am.

Emails/Calls to organize delivery of parts from DR.  Read a few Psalms while Sue straightened my hair.

Took Colonel Casco and Colonel Rojas to birthday lunch at La Maison by the airport.  Kept saying he wants to go home for his birthday.

Back to base.  I took Sue to the weekly Saturday market.  She was excited to buy Christmas gifts and souvenirs for family members.  The people were like Mosquitos.  I helped her negotiate a few times but the people liked her and hugged her most of the time.  I liked that she knew what she wanted.

The security guards at the Paraguayan base asked us when we left if we were going alone and sent someone in to the market after us to make sure we were ok.  They are so hospitable and protective here.  I could get used to this treatment.

Rested in our container while everyone was in a meeting, then Colonel Casco called the Japengcoy (Japanese Engineering Company) to see if they could help us move the seven (7) temporary shelters so ACTED can build.  Captain Torres sent an email to them afterwards on our behalf that we actually wrote.  He really helped us understand the need for simplicity in our words when working with these engineering companies.

Spare time before the special dinner at 8pm.  Diego Lesme (the Doctor here) came over to show us a short TV interview of his Dad.  His Dad is a Pastor of a protestent church of 20,000 in Paraguay.  Everyone else here is Catholic and they only hold a Catholic Mass on the base, so we think this is why he feels an affinity to us.  Afterwards, he showed us a video of Cite Soliel (one of the most dangerous parts of Port-au-Prince) called the kitchen of hell (thats what it translates to).  Wow, the most disgusting thing ever.  An UN Brazilian officer videoed this area where they kill and skin the animals to eat.  It was totally barberic.  I couldn't watch but a few minutes.  Or maybe it's barbareic to me, but just tradition/city life to the Haitians?

Dinner with everyone in the dining hall (Yes, right after the video).  Cake presentation and of course, karaoke.  Today they are allowed to drink on base, so it got a little rowdy.  One gentleman sang us a sincere song about enjoying our presence... in English.  It was very sweet and Sue even sang part of it with him.

Colonels' Table
There were actually two birthdays!
Dancing with Captain Florentin
We left early and talked with Major Rodriguez and the Deacon in the office.  Always interesting conversation.  I must admit, this is the first day of any trip to Haiti that the trip has felt more like a vacation then work.  It is the weirdest thing.  At the same time, these friends are leaving Haiti as their year of service will be up.  They leave December 24th and the new group comes the same day.

Got to talk to my parents through Google Voice for a few minutes tonight - I loved that.  Bed by midnight.

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