Day 7, March 1, 2011
Last Day in Petit-Goave
Today is the 7th day of our mission to Haiti and our last day here in Petit-Goave. This morning Sandy and Vonnie stayed at Pastor Admirable’s guest house to clean up some sand and rubble from a previous repair. The rest of the team went to Pastor Maude’s again and discussed some additional projects for the day.
Meeting with Pastor Maude
Bob Dixon and Bob Webster took measurements for making window screen frames for some guest house windows and helped the caretaker start a chicken coop. Nancy helped sift sand for the plaster crew. During our breaks and down-time throughout the week we were here we had an opportunity to play with and meet many of the local kids who came by the worksite. It was such a joy to see their faces as we played games with them and engaged them in talking. They are eager to meet people and crave the attention we gave them.
Working with Oragami Paper Crafts
Bruce, Mary Margaret and Steve spent the morning estimating material and tool needs for projects for future teams. This was Bruce’s idea and it would have been a big help to us if we had some of this kind of advance information to get started on some new projects when our work got a little slow. Reverend Tom came out to meet with Pastor Maude and he liked Bruce’s idea so much he is going to ask other returning crews to start identifying additional job needs and making tool and materials recommendations. Some of the project ideas we came up with included repairing the rock wall and security along the frontage road of Pastor Maude’s compound, finishing off the shower and hand washing station that another group had started, improving the safety of the well house, and rebuilding the benches at Pastor Maude’s guest house.
Damaged Rock Wall
Shower and Hand Washing Building
Since work was getting a little slow we decided that seeing a little more of Petit Goave would be a good way to spend out last afternoon here. After lunch the entire crew and our interpreters Ricardo and Jackie walked down the road until we found a good place to get to the beach. After deciding not to pay $2 each to get to the shore, Ricardo talked to a local girl who showed us another way. It was also through private property, but they did not want to charge us. The landowner operated a small open air restaurant so we all bought a soda to show our appreciation. We sat at small tables by the shore, watched the waves and looked at the view of the shoreline and island out in the bay, just like tourists.
Canoes Carved from Mango Tree
Creole Pigs on the Beach
Old Rock Wall and Ferns Along Beach
After the soda we walked back along the beach until we found a new concrete road that lead back up to town. There were very many dugout canoes all along the beach, and of course lots and lots of trash. There were many Haitian people walking along the beach, a few swimming and many just seeming to relax. The pace seemed a lot slower than on the streets. We got back to the guest house just before dinner and Bruce talked Steve into writing something for the blog. We are now sitting around relaxing and visiting and waiting for the water to come back on so we can wash up since the staff is starting to set up for dinner.
We have had a lot of experiences in our week here, and have seen a lot of things to make us ponder how our Church’s programs might be more effective in delivering aid to the people, and how all of the organizations and governments could make things work better. The Haitian people have so many challenges to overcome and all the efforts seem to just be scratching the surface. We have had many conversations on whether we would come back, what we might like to do and what options there are for future service, but we will all need time to process all of our experiences and thoughts. The problems facing the people go way beyond rebuilding buildings and improving their economy. Pastor Maude sleeps in a tent behind her house, even though the house is safe. We have heard of schools classes being held outside safe school buildings and congregations meeting outside safe church buildings. We learned today that our interpreter Jackie, who studied English in college, worked in a call center for a medical supply company on the eighth floor of an office building in the Dominican Republic before the quake. He was home in Port au Prince for Christmas when the quake happened and was afraid to go back to work in the tall building, so now he is working an interpreter for UMVIMs teams coming to Haiti.
- Steve Meacham and Bruce Stirling