Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another week of work in Hot Haiti

Does a squealing PIG strapped onto the back of a chinese motorbike qualify it as a HARLEY H.O.G.?

The things you see here.Small motorcycles of 125 cc, mostly Chinese made are:
1.A mode of transportation for a family. (the most we have seen is a total of SIX humans on one
2.Taxis for hire; by just flagging down the next one to come down the road.
3. Freight haulers: No matter how large or how heavy, if it can be strapped on or held on, it can go.
4. Tow trucks. I think the craziest we have seen is a bike towing a telephone pole down the street.
5. Status symbols: Mostly for young men of course
6. Obnoxious. They use the horn button way more than the brake levers, and they consider themselves priority over humans, humans carrying loads or pushing wheelbarrows, kids, old people.

You know it's hot when:
After resting for a few moments in the shade, you put your sweat soaked Tshirt back on and you get chills
The temperature has increased significantly in the last week.
The much anticipated rain has been on hold for the last week also, just muggy, but no rain
Things are starting to smell.

Continuing work by HODR volunteers:
1. Rubble removal is the main task occupying most of the 100 or so volunteers here now. This has been my main activity as a cre leader so far. Clearing mounds of crumbled cement block and cement walls is a nescessary first stage in making it possible for families or schools to re-occupy their property where their home used to be.
Any crushed buildings that have human remains in them is done by different crews from the UN with specialized equipment. I am told that earlier there was a distinct recongnizable smell, but now that has diminished
2. Helping at the tent hospital next door. Those who have done this task have while working have witnessed: births, amputations, operations and helped many medical technitians and patients.
Apparently a couple days ago a poor man came in suffering from elephantitys of: the testicles!
3. Structural Assessments of Schools and Homes. The American Society of Structural Engineers sent out a notice for volunteers to come for Haiti. We have a rotating crew of 3 or so who have been going around with HODR translators and guides to inspect various sites and determine if they are savable or need to come down. Very helpful for the people who are very scared to re-occupy or even enter buildings after what they have witnessed. That is why so many are still living on the sides of the streets.
4. Building Shelters. Our crews continue to build plastic temporary structures mentioned earlier.
5. Distributing tents for Shelter Box, and today going up to the hills to aid in helping recipients erect their large tents
6.Setting up Programs to help those children labeled "severely motherless children"
7. Helping OXFAM with creating temporary wooden shelters. Today I am refining the design and cutting list for them

This next week I am being shipped off to a separate island to instruct and help building structures under Habitat for Humanity.
My Satellite Connection is starting to fail so I will publish this post now without editing or corrections!!!!

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