Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28 Waiting in Haiti

May 28 Waiting in Haiti

My iPhone doesn't sync properly on Haiti time, so, late and missed breakfast again. But wait, the nice lady again brings me breakfast and that strong black coffee. This place is spotless and run very well. The Catholic youth group were up late last night behaving like 10 year olds, not the 19 to 25 age group they are. Loud but very well behaved. Totally innocent and wonderfully naive. They left very early now that the airport is open again. So it's quiet now, too quiet. 

Again, I'm waiting in Haiti - for the team to arrive after flight cancellations, for Haitian friends to show up, for ideas to percolate for the documentary I am thinking about. Time to rest and think and wonder at the characters wandering in and out of Wall's International Guest House, like in a novel or on a movie set.

There is a dentist working on the ubiquitous laptop across from me from Germany, who is setting up terribly needed dental clinics in Haiti. Teaching basic dental hygiene - just simple brushing, like hand washing, would  prevent so much suffering. To prevent awful infections, teeth are just pulled regularly at a young age because they are not cared for. A drastic and permanent solution. 

As we talk, a handsome,  elderly man dressed for a safari strides through - (later I find out he and his wife have built homes for 5 families in the countryside); a plump grey-haired nun, minus the habit (or an NGO matron?) arrives on the scene to announce the planes are flying  this morning; Paola, organizer of the Catholic youth group, Mission Youth, returns form the airport with one poor girl who didn't get on as stand-by; beyond the pool, construction workers are building the establishment's 15-room addition, artfully planing planks and pouring fresh cement.

What exactly am I doing here? Waiting in Haiti. 

I hit pay dirt. Chatting with Veniel, the long time guest house manager, who is in charge of the building project here, I get a short course in managing construction successfully in Haiti; and he has reliable (Baptist!) supplier contacts. Time to set up a meeting with them and Welcome Home Children's Centre and see what happens. Time for a swim. What's that I hear? The clinking of fresh bottles of Prestige going into the beer and pop fridge? Then I'm going to go outside the wall and walk to Joseph's school alone and see what the kids are being taught. 

I find it by wandering a little and asking, but the kids are coming home from school! Joseph is not there. I'm late again, But I'm greeted by two teens who are his students. Again, such refreshing youth, Haitian youth this time. One wants to be a doctor, the other a lawyer - 'there is no justice in Haiti' he complains sincerely. We chat in the shade of the intense heat and meet some family. I had brought along a big box of reader glasses and sunglasses. Each picks a pair. John, the future doctor, follows me back to the guest house because he wants to practice English; he's already pretty good. He wants to meet again. I tell him, I'll try to be on time tomorrow or the next day. We get some pics taken - it's an event for both of us. 

What a nice thought Cathy sent me today:
'it's nice for you to have some downtime in the place you love most on earth.' 

Whew, I can start feeling less guilty now. I admit - real happy to be here.

My oldest son's birthday, today. Happy birthday Paul. 47, no way! What does that make me? A very proud Dad.

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