Thanks for your comments and prayers. Sitting here now and thinking back on the last couple of days I can definitely feel God’s hand in things. We really appreciate the support we get from so many people that we haven’t ever met. You are a blessing to us.
I don’t remember the last time the mission was this quiet. So completely quiet. Yesterday I shared that we made today a mandatory day off for everyone. Not a single person has come by which I’m so thankful for. Chris and Otto left for the airport at 5 am so now it’s just Liv and I for a good part of the day. We are both still in our pajamas and I think she’s already on nap #2. Chris will do some errands before he heads home, but after that we get a long weekend of rest.
Yesterday we had to lower the boom, as they say. We were in a place where we were willing to move on from the events of the previous day and just chalk it up as a learning experience. Today would have been payroll for everyone, but since they’re off Chris did it yesterday. He realized right away that most of our staff had exaggerated their hours for the previous day. This is one thing we don’t tolerate at all. It’s out right lying and we have no room for it here. People have been fired in the past for doing this. It made us really sad because it wasn’t one person, it was most of them, including the one staff member that we would have expected to rise above it because of his position. Chris gave everyone a chance to change their time sheet and no one wanted to, so we went from there.
Chris and I talked about things for a while, did a lot of double checking to find out who hadn’t participated in this, and then made plans for how we would discipline people for it. It was incredibly difficult for us. We sat down and prayed about the decisions we had made and asked God to give us wisdom and peace about things and to just guide us as Chris talked to each staff member.
One by one Chris called people in the house. They knew something was going on right from the start because usually Chris goes outside with their envelopes, they sign a receipt and go on their way. In the end this is what went down:
*The two extra workers that had been hired for the construction project were told the work was done and that because they had lied about their hours they would never have work here again.
*One of the ‘bosses’ was fired and told he wouldn’t work here again. He accepted this and didn’t even say anything about fudging his hours. Until later when he found out what decisions we’d made in regards to the other two bosses.
*The three workers that hadn’t lied about their hours were given a bonus and asked to come back to work on Monday.
*The other regular CWH workers that exaggerated their hours were given two weeks off of work. They all admitted they had done it and accepted the punishment. I think they were all afraid of being fired.
*One of our workers was already on a last chance basis and we had planned on firing him, which was an incredibly hard decision for us to make. He’s been with the mission for several years and we had thought from the last issues that we had with him that he would have learned his lesson. After talking to him we decided to give him some grace, letting him know that after this, he really would be fired. He was given a month off of work.
*The foreman, who should have known better, and who sets an example for our other workers, was given a pay cut and told to come back to work on Monday. We’re hoping by having him here at work he’ll have some time away from the others and because things will be calmer around here he might be able to collect himself again.
*The other two bosses hired for the construction project had asked someone else to write their hours down and didn’t even know what had been written down. After some hand writing checking it was found to be true and that it had been the boss we fired that had been responsible for fudging their hours too. Chris was already hoping that we could keep one of the bosses, but happier that it worked out we could keep the two of them because they’re both great. He gave them a good talk about making sure they take responsibility for their own time sheets.
When it was all over we both felt really relieved that things had gone much better than we had expected. There are so many labor issues here in Haiti, many around the entitlement issue. Many people think that once they have a job they can’t be fired and it amazes us what people think they should be allowed to get away with. One thing that we’ve had to do over the last few years is actually teach our employees what it means to have a job. That you have to take responsibility for your actions, that you’re getting paid to do the work that you do, that there are expectations of you while you’re here, and that employees don’t control how things work here – that’s our job. We’re proud of all of them and how they’ve grown as people, but we know there will still be issues that pop up. Chris and I can see many of the reasons for the things we’ve seen over the past few days, and like I said, were anticipating that something would happen.
We’re hoping that having a reduced staff for the next couple of weeks will get everyone a chance to regroup a bit. Those that will be working won’t be working erratic hours and being separated from the group will give them some breathing space from the group mentality. Those that are staying home will have time to think about their actions and make decisions about how they want to conduct themselves in the future, as well as being reminded that they have a job when many others don’t.
I’m actually happy that we won’t have more than 6-7 people here for the next couple of weeks. There were so many staff, several of them new or temporary, and it just felt chaotic. Chris and I will be able to collect ourselves a bit as well and prepare for Matt’s arrival on Thursday and be able to ease him into life here rather than feeling like we’re juggling again. I feel like this giant weight that had been pressing in on Chris and I for the last few weeks has been lifted and we can breathe again. It feels good.
As for the building, yesterday I was able to go up and walk around on the floor. It’s fun to see the space now, rather than just trying to guess how big it will be. There’s still part of me that’s having a hard time believing that we’re at this point. I think it’ll finally settling in when all the form work comes down next week. For the last week or so I just kept anticipating that something else would hold up production, or that when they did start pouring it wouldn’t get done in one day etc. It’s like we’ve climbed the mountain and finally got to the top, now we get to come down the other side. Phew.
The blog is going to go quiet for the weekend unless something incredible happens that I just need to share. We’ll be resting up and enjoying each other. Liv will be back down in her room and Mom and Dad will be enjoying more sleep! Yay!