Friday Morning Stuff

Memo to self: If something goes crash in the night and sounds like glass, and you know there wasn’t any glass near the sound of the crash, it’s not glass. It’s that paint can that you left in a “safe” spot and you’re gonna have a lot of work ahead of you.

I was painting window sills yesterday and had cleaned up my stuff, closed up my can, and left it on top of the bench outside the window. I wasn’t anticipating that we would get another batch of rain in the middle of the night that would have enough wind to slam the 30 lb. wood shutter closed, but we did. And, in the process of slamming closed the shutter also slammed into the paint can hard enough to knock the bench over and send paint flying about 6 feet. It was a new gallon. We have a tile deck with a cemented rock step around it. You can imagine how much fun it’s going to be to clean that up. Actually, maybe you can’t. Here’s a picture so you can have some sense of how fun my morning is going to be.

Chris went and asked one of the guys to take on the project. Maybe cleaning up paint would be more fun than taking filters out of molds. I don’t know. I know it’ll come off. I’ve had to get paint off the tile before and gas worked really well, this will just take a whole lot of gas and time. Mostly I feel sorry for the lizard that unknowingly jumped to his demise last night. Poor thing, he was just going for a walk in the wilderness.

After I get some more coffee in me I think I’ll be ready to tackle the day. I was already planning on going down the road to buy a couple more paint brushes this morning so now I’ll just buy more paint while I’m at it.

Our house has been in a constant state of disaster for the last few weeks. After we put the new roof on we realized that the upstairs was hotter than before so Chris found this nifty (wow that’s so 50’s of me) insulation on a roll that we decided to tack up inside the roof. There’s only 1/2″ plywood there so prepping things meant clipping all of the nails from the shingles down. It took a few days to figure out what kind of tool would actually work for the job. Troy came through for us and lent us his cable clips from when he was working back in the US. Our guys, over the last three weeks, have all taken turns in various precarious positions on the ladder to get everything trimmed down. I’m still finding nail tips everywhere. I wonder how many Jabez has eaten from the ones that fell into her food bag unknowingly.


Chris showed Thony how to measure, cut and tack up the insullation and he’s been doing a great job. The only hitch was when we ran out of staples for every single staple gun we have. If we were in North American we would have just made a quick trip to Home Depot to pick up more. Unfortunately the little wooden, falling down, kiosks on the side of the road don’t keep staples in
supply. Locks – yes. Random pieces of used wire – yes. Batteries, back packs and flashlights – yes. But staple gun staples – no. We were able to find everything we needed in Port though so the work has resumed. Thony kind of has his system down now so I think the insulation will take less time than we anticipated.

After the insulation is all up we need to paint it and the rafters. Last night we looked at each other and realized what that meant. Tarps everywhere. I told Chris that I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that our house will be a mess for the next couple months. There will be things falling from the upper levels. There will be ladders. There will be paint. There will be boys working that don’t always understand the way a woman likes to clean up! I know that all of the work that is getting done is needed and that it’ll make the house better in the long run and will mean less maintenance down the road. I am actually happy about it because for a long time we just looked around at all the stuff that we saw needing to be done, but couldn’t do because the mission didn’t own the property. Now that they do we need to play catch up. Doing that means planning work based on seasons, like not replacing your roof when the rain comes. I’ve decided too that having all the work going on means now is the best time to tackle some of the projects that I have on my list while things are already in chaos.

On top of all that we are in the process, again, of rewiring our security system. We’ve had a few problems with things, so we’ve moved stuff, changed equipment, changed it again, moved things again, and now are going back to the original set up with a few minor changes. This has meant lots of wires being moved around, and Chris and Jean being frustrated with certain things not working out.

I love the fact that Jean is able to help us with stuff like this. He’s soooo incredibly smart. It’s very rare that you find someone out in the provinces that has the knowledge that Jean does. Usually they live in Port au Prince or Petionville and are the children of boujwa who have the money to send them to university in the US or Canada. He’s the same age as us and went to one of the best schools in the area, but has had no real formal education beyond high school. He is however, able to understand things like calculus and other really technical things that Chris learned in university. Actually, there are times where he understands or can figure things out that Chris has no clue about, just by instinct. He’s such a blessing to us and it’s been so amazing to watch him develop his skills over time. He doesn’t know it but Chris and I have talked about working with him and slowly training him to eventually be in an Assistant Director role here. Telling him that would freak him out though so we’ll be subtle ;) One time Chris said, “Jean, you’ve got so many skills and abilities and few opportunities here. Have you ever thought about going to the US?” Jean’s response? “Chris, Haiti is my home. I can’t leave my home.” We were blown away because most people would leave in a second if they could. Jean understands that he has the ability to do something positive and set an example for his people, and that’s what he’s doing.

And now for something completely different… I’ve been realizing that things here are becoming more and more “normal” if there is such a thing. What I mean by that is that things that struck me as completely odd before don’t really stand out all that much anymore because so many things here are odd. Often when people from back home ask me what’s new and interesting I say, “Nothing.” Not true. There are always new and interesting things here, I just have to remember that and tell people about them. I know that most people would sit there with their mouths wide open if they heard about or saw even a quarter of the stuff that we see everyday. So, in light of that and me wanting to look at things through the “weird and wonderful” lens again, I took this picture of a
“Haitian cattle truck” the other day on our way into Port. This, is the norm here. Well, that is if you don’t just put them on a large transport truck with other things like, say, bananas, or use a tap tap. But that would be more for an individual cow I think. Or two. I have seen that. Two cows and two men. One man was holding the tail up for clearance in the event that the cow needed to relieve itself, which it had done, and the other man was firmly holding the tail down because the cow was relieving itself. I guess no one had told him that you can’t force it to stay in.

If anyone knows a cow chiropractor I think these guys would appreciate a visit.

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This entry was posted in this is haiti, this is life by Leslie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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