Monday, October 18, 2010

Internet, WMU and Plywood. It's a beautiful thing.

The internet at our apartment has been... nearly nonexistent. The internet is partying like it is 1999, so unfortunately it is over a decade behind. It moves with all the speed of turtle and, despite what we tell kids, slow and steady is not winning this race.

I know when I am addicted to something. I am addicted to caffeine. I am addicted to Haitian Coca-Cola. I am addicted to the internet. When I am without it I obsess over all things I need to be doing. I need to enter grades and comments for report cards. I need to email family. I need to write donors. I need to know the Rangers score. All of these things are important... err, most of them anyway.

There was a big project we scratched off our to-do list this week. In the spring, we received a grant for $5,000 from WMU to build and furnish a house for some earthquake survivors in our community. We were very excited to start this project, but it was also a learning experience.

Getting things accomplished in Haiti is never easy. I often fear that a lot of harm was done after le quake because so many well-intentioned people came to Haiti to start projects, but then those projects encountered difficulties that arise when you are trying to do work in a strange place. People then got frustrated and gave up, leaving projects unfinished and promises unfulfilled. I do not want to be too hard to the well-meaning Americans, but there is a reason everyone in Haiti will say, once they have heard about your project, "someone is doing something like that- you should partner with them." It is because those who have been here before you and will be here after you do not want to have to clean up another mess made by a well-intentioned, albeit clueless, blan.

I digress. There were delays because of the summer, everyone's need for rest, and to Foundation Maxima (the manufacturer of the pre-fab houses) blowing up. Their wait-list is longer than an A-list restaurant on a Friday night. But now two families in the Delmas 75 area are living in new homes.

One family, the Espiril family, live near the school. Their house was completely destroyed in the earthquake. Their little four year old, Jude, suffered a broken leg from falling concrete and was splinted for days until he could be helped. Today they are putting the roof on their new house, and it will then be painted.

The other family also lives in the community, the Fednel family.  Their house was completely leveled in the earthquake. They have been struggling to take care of their very young infant while living in a tent- a difficult, muddy circumstance. Now they are in a house!
Kate and I, along with Quisqueya Christian School and the community ministries we partnered with, are so happy to make things like this happen. But remember, there are still 1.3 million homeless people in Port-au-Prince because of the earthquake. There is so much more work to be done.

-Ben

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