Haiti - Work Day 1
After 41 hours (I did the math) of no sleep from hours of travelling, I went to bed. When I looked out of my window on the airplane from above I could see just how dry and arid the country looked. Passing over the Dominican Republic and seeing the difference right at the border of the green and lush DR, to the dry and dead side of Haiti, I knew this was going to be an experience. First thing I noticed was that the airport here was more advanced than that of Barbados, which came as a surprise. We got walking, and the whole place seemed weird. There ads everywhere for starts. Weird cigarette brands and local alcohols were common. Next, I saw that the staff at the airport were odd too. First, you have to pay 10 dollars or euros or Canadian dollars (which are all worth different amounts, but for some reason it was all still 10) to get in. They also had no computers whatsoever, like they don’t even really care who’s in the country. We just wrote out name and passport number down on a green paper and I guess they go by the honor system to make sure it is you. When we left the airport and were walking to our cars, I remember hearing that don’t let the locals touch your luggage because they’ll want money for it, so when I was walking outside and we were nearing our car, and a man walked up to me to take my luggage I told him firmly “no”. Only after a minute did I realize it was the Haitian pastor, and he was trying to help me. Next when we were driving back, I noticed all the exotic smells and burning trash. You don’t see that in the US really. I also noticed the vehicles, tons of surplus American school buses, thousands of identical cheap and Chinese motorcycles. Most of the pickup trucks were converted into open air busses and they were all painted very colorfully. They had things like “merci Jesus” and stuff like that written on them. On our way there I also noticed the lack of many cops. The driving was unbelievable, lanes don’t exist, they play chicken ever second, they always have their hazard lights on, and they have a bizarre high beam language they use. We got pulled over at a check point and the militarized police and they nearly had their m16s pointed at us. The whole thing looked kinda oppressive, but the people seemed happy so that was interesting. We went to bed, woke up, ate breakfast, worked, ate lunch, worked again with the local kids and ate dinner, had a devotional on the roof and now we are here. – Brad Baker
Our first day was quite successful, we started on the playground and got pretty far. In my opinion about 43% done. We still have to dig about 20 more holes, put up another half of the playset and….. pour concrete. All in all, very fun, very productive and very were all very happy to be here. -Ben Baker
After finally getting to bed somewhere about 11pm, we all slept very well. Today we woke up and had breakfast and we got moving at 9am to begin sorting the playground equipment and begin marking for holes. It’s quite an interesting process putting this playground together. The first two holes are dug 18”wide X 24” deep, then a platform is brought over to mark for the connecting 2 poles, dig those, assemble the platform and keep going….The last thing we do is pour the concrete. So there is a fair amount of adjusting and pushing and shoving to get things just right. The playground consists of 29 posts and today we installed 16 posts and 3 sections of platforms and the monkey bars. Alex Schmidt, construction guru from Kids Around The World says this is the most work he has ever seen being completed on the first day! We are hoping to have all the posts dug, set and all the platforms in place by tomorrow. Sunday will be a day of worship and rest and then Monday we will set the slides and extra pieces. The plan is to pour concrete Tuesday and let it set for a dedication on Wednesday afternoon. This was all very impressive after our day and a half of travel, but the most impressing thing was everyone’s attitudes. Not one complaint all day from anyone. The team is truly here to serve the Lord with joy!