When I first moved to Haiti in 2005 the interim President decided to observe Daylight Savings Time. Coming from Canada that seemed normal, and it was weird when President Preval decided not to do it. Haiti has a funny relationship with DST. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. In the past when they have observed it, the island of La Gonave (that island in “the claw” on the map) decided they weren’t going to observe it even if the rest of the country did. Sooo, when the ferry went over there was always confusion about what time it was really departing and coming. I’m sure you can imagine :)
This year we’re springing ahead again. You wouldn’t think that it would make that much of a difference so close to the equator, but it does! We realized we would have to temporarily adjust our entire work day. Normally at this time of year we’re starting at 6 am and working until 2:30 pm. We were gearing up to change to our summer hours within the next month or so, depending on when the sun came up. When we change we start at 5:30 am and work until 2 pm. Now, with DST, we have to start at 6:30 am and work until 3 pm becuase it’s not light enough at 6, or even 6:30 to be honest, to work. But, we’ll adjust.
I didn’t realize how much this would affect our kids either. Poor Alex didn’t want to take a nap yesterday afternoon, so by dinner time he was pretty much done. We ate dinner, did bath time, gave him his bottle and put him to bed. Except it was still light out. He slept for about an hour then at 7 woke up and couldn’t understand why he had to go back to bed. Poor kid. Olivia, as we were getting in the car to go to school this morning said, “Why are we going to school? It’s still dark out!” :)
We’ve had some fun developments in the neighborhood recently. We’ve had new renters on either side of us over the last few months. We’ve gotten to know the ones on one side and really like them. They have kids around Olivia’s age, so when they come for the weekends they all enjoy playing together. They’re very conscious about safety like we are, so it’s nice to have people that understand why we don’t want our kids playing outside the gate. We met the neighbor on the other side last weekend and liked him. Those two renters only come out on weekends though, so essentially things are still quiet and as usual during the week. Until this week when our new neighbors moved in across the lane.
They’re a young American couple with a 2 year old boy that they’re adopting. They had no idea we lived here and that we had kids until they came over with their landlord to meet us. We’re all super happy about this because it means friends – our own age – right across the road. They have a group in right now, but we’re looking forward to having them over for dinner soon. We know we’re planning on moving in the next couple of years, but as Chris said, the new faces in the neighborhood mean it might be a bit more enjoyable until that time comes.
Olivia, Yonese and I took a drive up to the land on Friday. Chris and I wanted her to see it because we appreciate her perspective on things, and when I think about moving from Pierre Payen one of the hard things is knowing that it may mean losing some of our workers if they don’t want to commute. We thought that showing Yonese where we were planning on going, letting her see the community etc would help her wrap her mind around things and see how it would affect her etc. We were right and I’m so glad I took her.
As we walked around there were two little boys that live just over from it that came along. We spent some time talking to them about the different kinds of trees on the property because some of them are fruit trees we haven’t got at our house, and some we haven’t seen before. It was nice to listen to Yonese asking them questions about the area. How hard is it to walk from the main road? She hates riding motorcycle taxi’s so this was an important question. Are there tap taps that run up the road? What are people like? Did they know Pastor Francois? :)
As Yonese and I talked I was able to explain where we were hoping to put certain buildings and some of the things we would do differently etc. I loved hearing her thoughts on things, especially when it came to talking about the guest house. She does all the cooking for classes, so there are things that I want her thoughts on when it comes time to build the outdoor kitchen etc. She asked if there would be a room where she could sleep during the week when we have classes because the days are very long and she wouldn’t be able to go home late and come back the next morning. That was exactly what I was wanting to hear. All of our workers are great, but Yonese has a different relationship with our family. She’s become part of it. She knows our rhythms and when it comes to classes and hosting people, I can leave her with a lot of responsibility and not worry about how things will be done. The thought of not having her working with us made me really, really sad, so to hear her asking questions about how it would work made me super happy :) I also think that as we do the building project it’s going to be important to involve our employees in the process. Many of them have been with us for years, so we’ve all gone through the journey of making changes and adjustments at the mission. Being able to find out what our staff think are important things to consider with facilities and the like so they can do their jobs better will help them feel more valued and more a part of the inner workings of CWH. There are things they factor in because of culture, climate and methodology that we might not think about. Those can be really important things.
The best part was that Yonese just kept saying, over and over, “This is a good piece of land.” Chris and I care about what our employees think about some of the decisions we make, so it was encouraging to hear the stamp of approval :)
We have our first Vision Trip of 2012 arriving on Saturday and we’re really looking forward to it. We cap the trips at 6 people because we really want to provide people with a personal experience. When you have more, in our opinion, it becomes more about managing people and getting them from point A to B. There’s less time for one on one conversations where you can give good responses to the questions people have (which are many!) and it’s harder to connect. We really want our visitors to understand as much as they can, so that time is really important. This group coming in is our first completely full trip, with 4 people coming from Canada and 2 from the US. We’ve been getting to know each other through the emails going back and forth and we’re looking forward to meeting everyone face to face on Saturday. Until then I’ll be planning meals, doing some grocery shopping, and getting rooms ready.
One thing that we decided we want to do next week will be a first for us. At least once a year we try to do a staff day. If you’ve been reading in the past you’ll know that in the last few years we’ve treated the employees to a day at Club Indigo – something they would never get to do on their own. It’s always a good time. Recently we went to Haiti’s National Museum and were really impressed. While there I mentioned to Chris that I would like to bring the workers because many of them would never have the opportunity to go and see it. Many of them haven’t see the Palace since the earthquake, and it’s right next door. We decided that since we’re doing a 3 day work week now, on Thursday we would take our Vision Trippers and entire staff to the museum and to do some other things we think they’ll all enjoy in PAP and the surrounding area. We normally have our Vision Trippers helping out in the work yard and out on delivery days with our staff, but this will be the first time things have worked out for us to do a “fun day” with everyone. Chris mentioned it to our workers this morning and everyone is excited, which makes me more excited.
Those are the points of interest from here. I hope you have a great Monday!