Well we’re back… right now I’m sitting on the roof overlooking the lights of Port au Prince… listening to strange animal cries and howls… horns… crickets…. all seems the same as we left it in January…. but its not. First the players have changed and ts only Natasha, Pancha and myself on this trip…. really small but sufficient for this trip – I think. The first curve ball of the day came when we went to check in with American Airlines in DC. We had 7 pieces of luggage to check 2 for Pancha and Natasha and I was checking three…. with all the supplies and donations we were hauling it seemed normal enough until the dude at the counter told me they were having a luggage “embargo”…. what-the-what… a luggage “embargo”? He told me they would not be able to take the third bag and I could not bring it for ANY amount of money! Unreal and unacceptable…. thank god one of Pancha’s bags was able to be carried on…. and we switched the luggage tag over to our other larger piece of luggage…what was even more ironic was that on the flight from Miami to Port au Prince they needed overhead room so checked that bag for free…. whose laughing now American Airlines?? I was willing to pay you to check that bag…. but due to your “embargo” it was checked for free. Ironic!
So once we hit PAP it was the never ending struggle to keep your bags from being hauled off by porters looking for money… we did pretty darned good until Natasha just couldn’t carried 150 lbs anymore we we paid the porter at the end of it all…. they are so difficult to get around. They will lie and tell you they work for Customs (like he did) so you will let him help you…and then its time to pay them…. drives me nuts.
Father Roosevelt was waiting for us… and after loading 7 suitcases and three backpacks into the vehicle off we went …trying to beat any rain (its the rainy season) to get up the mountain because the road can be treacherous if its raining. We lucked out and not rain actually well but boy is it humid here…. not the January weather I have grown to love. But sitting up here on the roof is refreshing.
So we arrived in Mon L’opital – unpacked our goodies and gave Father all the items he had told us he needed – he told us we were better than Wal*Mart…. the biggest hit was the soccer nets and balls we brought… kids adults, priests… all playing soccer. The place was just crazy!
We did get to view the store — the have fixed the walls were there was damage from the Earthquake and installed security windows, doors and locks. The place was clean and they are in the process of putting up the shelves. Its getting there – we have a meeting with the store committee on Saturday and plan to go to PAP I think on Monday to get the stock for the opening.
We also had the opportunity to demo out biomass press and bio stove… I think both were intriguing … there would be one person watching and being taught how to work the press and then another would come and then another. We made our biomass mixture up and its soaking…Saturday is the day we plan to do a demo and training. They understand the importance of weaning themselves off of charcoal to help their island and environment … its just creating awareness of the alternatives and who to do it… that will take a but of time but the interest shown is very encouraging to me.
So tomorrow its off to Ecko Depot (Haitian version of Home Depot) for some supplies for the store and the biomass machine and we plan to stop at Matthew 25 to see about some Haitian Fair Trade crafts. Then we will be back up the mountain to work at the store…. perhaps test the computer lab or some of the other research items we need to get done…. more soon…I promise to post some photos tomorrow – I am just really beat tonight!