Monday, December 5, 2011

Working Days

Up at 5am and left immediately to head to the village.  When Kendra visited on Friday, the Pastor said he needed to talk to her about a few people who were causing problems.  They want to leave too, so that makes this easier for us.
We picked up our new translator, Jose, before going to the village.  It was so nice to see him!  He caught us up on a few things too as he has been to the village 3 or 4 times to check in since we’ve been gone.  We said hello to a few people but immediately found the Pastor and spent time walking with him in the woods (toward the garden) while listening to his concerns through Jose.

The four of us came up with a plan for a short meeting.  The people who want to leave think they can take their temporary shelters too.  Wrong.
While Kendra gathered the people, I found Megine (12 or 13 year old girl) babysitting five kids.  She was cooking and had to watch small, small babies.  One was very tiny (maybe 2.5 or 3 months) and was crying and crying, probably from choking from a small charcoal fire that was burning about a foot from the bed.  The smoke even bothered me.  I picked up the baby and rushed outside for some fresh air.  As soon as we were outside, he stopped crying.  I ended up holding him the whole meeting.

I asked Kendra if I could speak because George (the President) always gets her riled up.  He is sneaky.  The Pastor started the meeting with a song, then everyone recited Psalm 23 by heart and the Pastor said a prayer.  I started the meeting by telling everyone that we loved them and would continued to pray for them no matter what, but that we head a few people want to leave.  I said if they had a better place to go, then of course we want what is best for them and their family.
I also reminded them of our agreement when they moved in (they can leave whenever they want, they have to leave the house, we will not pay for them to move, etc).  This is all in writing in a protocol document they signed with Kendra.  The final note was that if they left they could not change their minds.  They needed to be sure of their decision.
At that point we asked those who wanted to leave to raise their hands.  The two people who have been causing trouble raised their hands.  Perfect.  Thank you, Lord.
We asked them when and they said, “When I get the money to.”  I asked when that would be and they said they didn’t know.
Ok…Kendra and I decided later that we might take time to give them one trip each in the van, just to get them out since they are trouble.
When we were finished talking to them, the President was scribbling notes and started talking and talking.  We said that we want to hear the concerns of the people, but today we needed to head into town for meetings that will benefit them.  Then, Kendra, Jose and I just got up and left.  I’m tired of the attitude of the President.  It isn’t positive and isn’t community-oriented.
Dropped off Jose and his two sisters.  They came to see the site today.  He mentioned on the car ride that he wanted us to pay him at the end of the trip because he needs to save his money for rent.  He lives with his siblings and rent comes due once a year in Haiti.  We are planning to give him a shelter when our trouble leaves.  Since the Paraguayans are feeding us meals, we are going to give the eggs and limes to the people, but there really weren’t enjoy for everyone in our village so we gave them to Jose for his family when we dropped him off.  He was so happy!  It filled my heart with joy.
Straight to the UN Logistics Base for meetings.  JOTC Office, Alain at IOM, World Food Programme, IOM Protection Unit, UNFPA Office.  My favorite is always Alain at IOM because he just sits and brainstorms with us, then he’ll call us later when he thinks of another idea.  I definitely think he has our backs.
Stopped at the UN market inside the Log Base for an ice cream bar for lunch.
Back to the Paraguayan Base to send an email and then out again to Russ and Sherry’s to say hi and to pick up the printer from their house.  Sat on their balcony and caught up.  I really like them.  They are spending retirement here – Russ working on construction and small jobs while Sherry uses her gift of hospitality for teams and sews items for the orphanages she works with.
Russ told an interesting story about a US lady speaking with a Haitian in English.  She was trying to get him to think critically about solving a very minor problem.  Apparently she kept pushing and pushing until he finally said something along the lines of…Please stop!  I don’t know how to think that way.  In school I was only taught to repeat, not to solve problems or to think things through.
Back to Paraguay.  Every Monday night there is a small market similar to the one for all the UN military that happened on Sunday.  A small number of Haitian vendors are chosen and the Paraguayans don’t even have to leave their base to shop.  Kendra got a few things for the boys and since we were shopping at the end everyone wanted to sell me old shoes for that final sale.  Very interesting.  The Paraguayans were making fun of me.  Some of the officers were going out to dinner for another officer’s birthday.  We noticed that more people greet us and make small talk when the officers aren’t around.  There is definitely a pecking order.

Showers in Haiti always make you feel extra clean because of all the swear and dirt.  Dinner with only the Deacon.  They call him Hermanito, which in Spanish means “Little Brother”, his name is Carlos Martinez.
Talked late, then bedtime.

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