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wednesday and thursday
Some cool things we did on Tuesday
Wow, we have had a very eventful few days! Sorry for not posting much, but duty calls! On Friday night, UW alum Eyleen Chou came to visit us. She currently works in Port-au-Prince and decided to help us out for the weekend. She is fluent in Haitian Creole, so her translations were very useful.
It took quite a while on Saturday, but we have finished all four wing walls for the irrigation canal. We carried many buckets of mortar across a ravine in order to complete the walls. We walked home after nightfall, happy to have finished, but also very exhausted.
On Sunday, we had a very much needed day of rest. We went to church at 9am and listened to the Haitian sermon. There were many beautiful songs that we listened to, and we had Eyleen translate some of the service for us. Our very own Ian Tonner gave a beautiful speech to the community, thanking them for welcoming us so warmly. We spent the rest of the day visiting different areas of Bayonnais and getting a lot of research done.
One of the places we visited was a small market about a 15 minute walk from OFCB. There were small stands with people selling biscuits, packaged cookies and a few tools. Brigitte decided to buy a few packs of matches. She got 8 boxes of matches for a dollar, verifying with the children around that it was indeed a fair price. We walked away from the match stand to look at other things to buy, and the woman who sold Brigitte the matches decided to come back and say that she needed more money because she had no more matches. A confused Brigitte held out her money, and was surprised when the woman grabbed two dollars and ran off. The market culture was definitely different for us- not at all like shopping at Target!
Today we got back to the physical labor and started back-filling the area on one side of the canal. We’ll continue back-filling on the other side of the canal tomorrow, as well as laying the concrete for a section of the canal.
A pi tard! (See you later!)
Our first day of work is done!
We started out the day by laying out the wingwalls and assessing the past construction. We got our crew of laborers started on digging, and talked about some patch work we needed to get done. Not too far in, a few of us were sent on an epic quest for more supplies, including a screen for sifting the aggregate. After searching long and hard, it was decided that we better just make up a new screen. We definitely thought we could handle a little 3x5 frame with a screen nailed on, but oh the lessons of carpentry we learned from the Haitiens! They really are the masters!
We finally got the supplies up to the site (yes, up the mountain), and a few of us went on to help out with the start of the drain field at the clinic site.
It was a long first day, but so much got done! The holes for all of the wing walls were completely dug, and many piles of sand, gravel, and rocks were gathered. At the clinic site, the drain field was all mapped out, pipes were prepped, and many holes were dug as well. Many field calculations were conducted, as well as some good engineering on the fly, and for once we all feel good.
Right now we are all playing with the children who swarm the front stoop of the guest house where we all will later sleep in our bunk-beds, waiting for dinner to be ready. They love getting their pictures taken and writing their names.
Oh we’re told it’s time for dinner! Orevwa!
Now that you are there. Is the project something you believe can be completed and then maintained by the local people on a permanent basis?
This is one of Engineers Without Borders’ main focuses. In this case, the community directly asked us for a way to continue their network of irrigation canals. They are helping every step of the way, with labor, materials, and organization. Not only does this make them part of the project, and give them ownership, it teaches them to maintain and replicate these canals, and others like them, in the future.
Thanks for the question!
It’s been a lot of traveling, but we have finally arrived at OFCB.
Today started out in Miami, where we met Kyle, James, and Noel at the airport, and boarded our flight to Port Au Prince.
After meeting up with Kenold in OFCB’s school bus, we stopped at Eko Depot for some supplies. Who knew Haiti had their own exact copy of Home Depot?
After the shopping trip was (finally) over, we headed off towards Bayonnais, stopping off for a great lunch of goat, mystery fish, and red sauce. We arrived at OFCB around 7, and spent the next two hours making friends with the Haitian kids.
We’ll update again soon!
Engineers Without Borders - University of Wisconsin, Haiti Group
We’re travelling to Bayonnais, Haiti from Jan 11 - 19, 2012 and we’re very excited. Follow us on our journey! We will post things as we have internet! This blog will (hopefully) continue for all of our future travels.