Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The first night in Jacmel

It was not quiet.

We went to bed early. I feel asleep quickly – it was a long day and we started at 4:30am, it was like 10pm when I crashed. After a cold shower that smelled like Haiti, I went to sleep under my mosquito net on the bottom bunk. Just after midnight or so I woke up, and one of my team mates said “Are you awake? I think the power is off.” And it was. The city power is running about 12 hours a day here, and the house is on generator the rest of the time. We went and woke up the director and sent him downstairs to talk to the guard about getting the generator turned on… being without power makes you a little more vulnerable to intruders. Plus, it’s hot under those mosquito nets without the fans.

The generator turned back on, but it was so loud. You can hear everything in the street, and let me tell you, their streets are not like American cities. There were dogs howling, roosters crowing, people yelling. The Mangine’s refer to Haitians at the “Italians of the Caribbean”, just because they are INCREDIBLY animated and loud. And beautiful.

It took me forever to fall asleep, but I eventually did. Then sometime around 4am I think, there was a woman with a megaphone, chanting and yelling something in Creole. I have NO idea what she was saying, but we just laid there and prayed. Voodoo curse? Just crazy? Who knows.

We woke up at 6am. We’re headed out to Sisters of Charity today to hold the babies at the orphanage. Gwenn explained it to us as the Mother Teresa model, where they only take the poorest of the poor. A lot of them are sick, severely malnourished, handicapped. And their situation isn’t likely to change. A lot of them are kept 2 or 3 in a crib, in nothing but a cloth “diaper” the thickness of a bandana. Basically, a poop catcher.

Anyway, I’m trying to prep myself. Praying.

After that, we’re headed over Citae. Barton Brooks of Guerilla Aid has been there building a new school – aside from that, they’ve received very little aid. We’re headed to hand out water filtration systems and teach them how to use them.

Should be quite a day. Will update later.

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