Saturday, November 5, 2011

One great mad dash

Late to the airport I missed my flight!  Back to the office to finish a report and back to the airport on 4 hours of sleep.  Now a direct flight to Miami, left the airport during my layover to pick up a power chord I'd mailed to a Miami hotel and back just in time to catch my flight to Haiti.  Out the airport in Port au Prince where Anthony was waiting for me.  To save time we each hopped a motorcycle taxi to the bus station.  I nearly lost it bouncing through an especially large pothole but made it in one piece with all my bags.  Then smashed in a taptap with 12 other Haitians we zipped up to Hinche on the newly paved road!  One more moto taxi and we were just in time for a killer dinner of Louisiana fried okra, rice and pork chops at a missionary compound.

This morning to the chagrin of all at the compound I just walked out the gate with no plan to get to Pignon.  I had just enough time to grab a bite to eat before I was again back on a moto taxi.  I arrived in Pignon just in time to meet the missionary flight which I could have been on had I recieved an email in time, oh well.  Kiki, my pseudo-adopted 8-year old son was all smiles when we met.  We walked hand in hand out to the airplane to drop the power chord with the pilot who would see it to it's rightful owner.

Within the hour I was in a pickup with Sarah and Raynold out to Saint Raphael to plan work for the upcoming week.  We hiked up the mountain to the site of our planned retaining wall, the break pressure tank and springs.  The wall will hold a steep hillside in place and prevent erosion above our pipe.  We'll be tapping the existing tanks to install new and larger pipes.  Then a quick downpour to drench us while we planned piping around the two spring sources.  Finally we stopped by the reservoir near town to plan the new pipe connections to that tank.  Raynold was soaking up engineering sketching skills like a pro and soon we were back in the pickup to Pignon.  One last stop in Pignon to review Gidel's plans to install a temporary water tap while the system is under construction.  All in the span of 2 days, it has been one great mad dash.

I'm back in Haiti for a week to check up on the Pignon and Saint Raphael water projects.  It was amazing to see the progress they have made in just the past 4 months since my last visit.  Sarah is doing a wonderful job of mentoring Raynold and Gidel.  The two of them, being Haitian, are drastically more efficient than either Sarah or I at working out the details of construction.  That was my dream and so far they are living it out.

The plan for my week is jam packed.  Tomorrow starts with a trip to Ronkit with Cory to conceptialize the layout and site conditions of a planned school.  Then I'll be off to Saint Raphael for 3 days to work with Raynold on the construction of that water system.  I'm not looking forward to the scant rations, bucket showers and steemy nights but there is nothing like watching the harmony of Raynold and his crew digging and setting life-giving water pipe.

I'll be out in the sticks for a few days but hang tight and I'll be back with an update as soon as I can.

Chow for now... Dave