Thursday, June 28, 2012

In a Sauna attached to an Elephant with a Limp (Monday Aug 22, 2011)

Those of us that arrived the prior week spent a lot of it setting up the home to provide adequate space for beds and personal items for the team of 22 people that would arrive that day (8/22).  We had been stocking up on drinking water, cases of coke and fanta, and rigging up up mosquito nets.  We also rearranged 25 or 30 barrels of donated items that were stacked in the store room, and put them under a rigged up tent outside. 
The first few people arrived earlier in the day, but then an entire wave of people came in.  If you read my earlier post about coming in to the Port Au Prince Airport you’ll have a better mental picture of what kind of surprises we all encountered, but everyone arrived safely.  Once everyone was outside in the parking area, it was another entire expedition just getting the crew and the luggage to the bus parked ¼ mile away. 
The bus trip was like riding in an enclosed sauna loosely attached to the back of a slow moving elephant with a limp.  I can’t believe no one got sick… but really, it’s just another treasured memory of the whole experience.  I’m just glad we didn’t have to try to load 25 or so people with all 50 suitcases and additional 40+ personal bags into the tap taps.  We would have needed a convoy of those little trucks and we might still be waiting for people to arrive at the compound! 

Nonetheless..after everyone got unpacked and settled we went gathered together to discuss the desired plans for the week ahead.  As I vaguely recall, we titled the orientation classes something like:

Toilet Flushing 101
Drinking Water Rationing 101
Tips for Mealtimes 200, Finding Your Laundry 201 and
Hopeful Projects of the week 301

None of the rest of us were seasoned veterans by any means… however, I think we had several initially “shell-shocked noobs”… but they all adjusted quickly – they didn’t have any other choice. 

We also gave a class on how to near-miss the 4:50am crowing Rooster.  But no one passed that class – it wasn’t such a big deal though because it was already bright and sunny and in the Sticky mid-80’s by 5am anyhow, so everyone got up.  We started work as early as we could too, because by the time early afternoon rolled around, it was too hot to work much outside… we had to wait till the sun started to go down again.

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