Sunday, April 18, 2010


HORD accomplishments this past week:

Mapping Water System
Two volunteer engineers have been mapping the exixting piecemeal piping for the local water distribution system which has been innoperative for over two years.  They are doing this using some high-accuracy high yield GPS unit donated to HODR by Trimble.  Hopefully they will use this information to some day re-build a water distribution system to Leogane and surrounding areas.  For now you see people carrying buckets on their head (women mostly) filled from large "bags" mounted on stands at some street corners.

Shelter Box tents:
A group of us went to an outlying community to erect large tents supplied by SHELTER BOX.  We set up 29 tents for families to inhabit in the courtyard of what used to be a church.  Then distributed another 71 tents for others to take away to their dwellings up the hills behind the church.  Two days later the Shelter Box representatives went up the hills to check on a sampling of the recipients of tents.  Not one had been erected, they were just laying in the ground in their boxes.  The pastor of the church was notified of this and he took action.  A further visit by the Shelter Box reps three days later showed all tents to be erected in  the 30 or so random sites visited.  This coming Friday we are to do this again with another 100 tents, this time with us going up into the hills to facilitate erecting them.

Rubble Removal:
This is the main effort  by HODR volunteers at this time.  Some 60 young and old volunteers with shovels, picks, sledgehammers and whellbarrows removing rubble from critical sites.  This past week we focused on three school sites and two homes.

Pyramid School:
This is a school for some 500 students to which the entire second floor crumbled, somehow leaving the first floor under the concrete ceiling functional.  I have been team leader of a group of up to 20 volunteers clearing rubble from this school building and yard and moving it out to the street.  I estimated a total of 260 cubic yards of rock, broken concrete and cinderblock rubble to be removed.  As of yesterday Saturday we had moved about 200 of those 260 yards to the street.  Therein lies the problem.  We keep running out of room to place the rubble.  We built ramps on top of piles so wheelbarrows could be moved further and further up the mounds.

Yellow Shirts:
A government sponsored work for pay program is to have two dozen or so Haitian people in groups with the purpose of loading the rubble stacked in the streets onto trucks.  Unfortunately these yellow shirts are mostly innefective.  They spend most of their time sitting waiting for a truck to arrive which when it does can be there for time with mechanical problems.  Their method  of loading is to have lines of people handing one rock from person to person to eventually be tossed into the back of the truck. After a few hours of this they will all disappear to maybe show up again at the end of the day.  Needless to say, not much removed.

US Aid and CHF
They have the heavy metal equipment:  Large Volvo articulating dump trucks, huge  CAT wheel Loaders, Large track hoe excavators.  They come to sites with the above mentioned equipment towering over the neighboring shacks and creating a cloud of dust in hours they clear huge areas of rubble and twisted re-bar.  Rudy the headmaster of Pyramid School claims US Aid and CHF will come tomorrow to our street in front of Pyramid School to remove our rubble.  This will help us.
Yesterday Saturday I finally succumed to the intestinal crud so pervasive here.  While I was laying in my bunk sweating Rudy the headmaster came to our base camp to see how I was doing.  Made my day.

Hey you! gimme dollar!
This is the greeting the small Haitian kids have learned to yell as we walk by:  Hey You!
I have started saying back to them "good job" see if that will catch on as their greeting.

Satellite Connection:
Is still extremelly limited from our base, so uploading photos for you is out of the question because it occupies too much bandwidth which is in high demand by all the volunteers.  It can take me 2 hours sometimes just to get a couple of emails.  So I will post more photos on this site in mid May when I am back in the US.
For now I will post another update next weekend.
Doing good work!
Richard Wodehouse

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