Sunday, June 26, 2011

What a crew !

The heat is unbearable: 98 F in the shade, yet the men keep at it: it’s grueling work, with picks and shovels, carrying stones and gravel in buckets that keep breaking, because the wheel barrows broke once more. From 7 am to 3. 30 pm with a ½ hour lunch break of rice and beans, they keep plugging away. I wonder what other country could provide such strong, resilient, determined workers.  The equipment bought in Haiti has been imported mostly from China and is of poor quality no matter what price. ( as much as possible Rt 1 equips its men with tools that Ray brings in …yet we know that it isn’t the way to stimulate the local economy…but if we don’t , so much of our limited budget goes into replacing bad tools!

At 3 , the men slowly drift towards the pit where water has been dumped from a truck.  They have been in the process of building the well house but it isn’t quite ready yet. Since sophisticated power tools and expert labor are not available , construction goes at ¼ of the speed it does in the US for instance. We can’t risk installing the water pump until it will be protected by walls, a roof and a steel door. By the time they pack themselves in the back of the pick-up truck, all 25workers  look clean and fresh,  ready to face their families without a trace of the hard hard work they have just accomplished during the entire day.  They do get prestige in their neighborhoods from being hired to work with foreigners on a construction project  but that and their small  salarIes ( small by US standards= $15/day )  seems to be little compensation for the tremendous effort they have been exerting  six days a week since March 15.

I have to remember that our work ( Ray training them, directing the construction, my bi-lingual administration, the gathering of  grants and support) has given these 36 men ( among whom six are orphans from NDL) a way to earn a living as we are building this new home and school for the 90 children of Maud’s Maison Notre Dame de Lourdes. 
What I appreciate the most? Their good humor... their cheerfulness and laughters..

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hope for one boy

The earthquake crippled him.

Stevenson at Work
Stevenson lost both parents and was stuck under rubbles for two days after the earthquake in Port au Prince in January 2010 when his cousin found him and dug him out.  Using a borrowed wheelchair Jakson brought him to the Missionaries of Christ the King who took him to a hospital. He was operated on and a metal plate inserted to replace his shine bone… the operation didn’t go well, his leg keeps getting infected and he can no longer walk. He lives with the other 89 children at the Foyer Notre Dame de Lourdes and until recently, he spent his days in bed with nothing to do.  He is 20 years old, he can barely read and write.

 At the site of the future orphanage, there are many rigorous jobs that demand resilience and physical strength but thanks to Maud’ s idea, Stevenson is finding his place among the men.   As of last Monday he has a half time job with Relief Team One participating in the construction; he cuts tie wire for the reinforcement column.  He is helping out and he is out of bed.   His grin is a mile long.