Mission Report Haiti: And then Tuesday

Tuesday morning was spent at the schools trying to tell students the importance of learning English. Obviously, I was selling our agenda. But it’s like a fisherman’s net. You cast it out into the inky darkness of the ocean, true and wide. Then you reel it back in and, if you’re lucky, there’s a sea turtle and a dolphin stuck in there. The diamonds of the ocean. So I give a little talk to a few hundred high school kids. And if it’s anything like my high school, one or two will pick up on the message and the cause. And those one or two will become our translators and have myriad opportunities to make a good wage doing as much, with ours, and the increasing number of organizations coming into the rural parts of Haiti. I especially stressed the importance of the girls learning English, that they may rise up and crush the men. I mean, I didn’t say it just like that. But there are far fewer female translators than men, and in Haiti, for every unit of work a man completes, a woman will complete 5. So it stands to reason that if women begin to fill positions requiring education, more and more young girls and their families will see the value of educating them, doubling the pool of talent Haiti can draw from as they improve their own plight. Plus sometimes female patients are embarrassed to tell their problems to the men. And dignity matters. So we will cultivate female translators as best we can.

After that, it was off to the work site in Gard Hiram. While there, impossibly, our delivery of goods arrived from Cap Haitien. How exactly all this happens is still a mystery to me. There are no addresses on the houses. No signs denoting any road names anywhere. And this is deep in the country. Yet the truck shows up. Unfortunately, I was standing on the work site when they arrived. Which means that they wanted more money for unloading the truck. Obligatory blan price increase. By now you know the routine. Discussion between the Haitians ensued. Tensions rose and I got frustrated. I asked what specifically was being said. And it was just that they wanted more money because of blan. I fixed it in short order. I told my translator to tell them that they had only two choices. They could have the agreed upon amount for unloading the truck. Or they could have nothing and I would unload every damn thing from the truck myself. I hadn’t worked out yet that day, so this would count. And I figured I would be doing some long term good if I could reduce the incidence of blansploitation in the future, since we plan on being her a while. I grabbed two bags of cement off the truck and carried them up the hill. 30 seconds later they agreed to the normal price and all was well. I kept helping and everyone in the community joined in. We unloaded a shitload of materials in short order. I got my workout for the day. And I learned that cement is difficult to wash out of hair once it has mixed with your sweat. If I wasn’t going bald before (I was) then I will be shortly.

Brush cleared. Foundation dug. Bricks made. Truck unloaded. Materials on hand. We were ready to go.

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