I’m giving myself exactly 10 minutes to write this, then it’s off to bed!
Chris and i headed back in to Port au Prince today. We had a meeting with a realtor to start talking about putting the mission property on the market in preparation for the move. We’re still very much in the early stages of developing the new site, but we know how things work here in Haiti and we know we need to start having these conversations now.
It was a cultural experience… Chris’ parents are both realtors in the US, so he has some understanding of how things work, though we both know this is Haiti and we can’t expect it to be the US. So much is done by word of mouth here, and it’s more about who you know that what you know. After a bumpy start that really amounted to different communications styles we got through the meeting and were encouraged. We don’t think we’ll have any issues selling the old place, which is good. It’ll just be a matter of time.
From there we headed over to meet the guy that connected us with the realtor. I’m part of a Facebook group for expats in Haiti and after seeing a posting on there that we were selling he sent me a message and connected us with the realtor. Again, it’s all word of mouth. In Haiti they call it radio tren de – Radio 32 – for the 32 teeth you have in your mouth. On the way to both meetings the car was acting up and I was imagining all the rest of our plans going out the window, but after a full tank of gas and some prayer things resolved themselves and we were good to go. We grabbed lunch then headed up to the grocery store, and then over to the Petion-Ville Club. I say it like it’s simply to get around town. It’s not. Those two stops between the gas station and the club took two hours. And that’s normal PAP traffic.
We were heading to the Petion-Ville Club to meet up with a friend. Ben worked at Clean Water for Haiti back in 2004 for one month. Chris regularly tells people about Ben the amazing volunteer because Ben basically learned Creole in that time. He later went to work in Africa, in a couple different countries for CRS. After the earthquake, because of his time in Haiti, Ben was asked to head up a CRS project in one of the tent camps. It ended up being the JP/HRO camp – the one Sean Penn runs. Sean met Ben and after a while asked Ben to come work for JP/HRO and Ben eventually became the in-country director. Ben just moved into a new role with the organization that will have him based out of Washington, DC. We found out that he was here because of the guy I was sitting next to at the conference yesterday – the Director of the PV Club. When he found out we knew Ben he set up a time where he knew Ben would be available so we could get together, which was so sweet. We enjoyed a nice visit and some coffee, then Bill gave us a tour of the Club. The Club had a golf course, and after the quake Bill told the US Ambassador that it could be used as an emergency location. It turned into a tent city and slowly in the last year they’ve been in the re-location process. Bill and Ben explained how things had looked post quake and the stages of relocation. Ben then took Chris and I on a bit of a tour of the camp. What I really respect about JP/HRO’s relocation plan is that they’ve done an incredible amount of work to re-establish people in their pre-quake community of Delmas 32, rather than just trucking them off to some outlying area that no-one was living in before. As we walked through the offices and Ben explained the different aspects of their programs it was hard not to respect the work that was being done. As a wife, what was really fun for me though, was when Ben would introduce us to people and people would say, “You’re the Chris that Ben worked with!” It was obvious that Ben had talked a lot about his time in Haiti before, and it made my heart happy to see that :)
After our visit we headed over to the Apparent Project so I could pick up a bunch of stuff for fundraising this summer when we’re home. I’m excited about the jewelry because it’s made in Haiti, giving parents jobs so they can support their families instead of having to give a child (or children) up for adoption. They sell to other organizations at wholesale, and then we can resell and make a profit to put back into our programs. Win, win!
As I was finishing up my shopping it started to rain. It’s been raining heavily in PAP in the last week late in the afternoons. Torrential is the only way I can describe it. As we were trying to navigate down Delmas 75 we realized that the rivers of water running down from the side streets were enough to potentially wash our car away, so Chris turned around and we headed back up to take the long way down. As soon as we got back onto Delmas it was easy to see where all the cars had gone. It took us an hour to get out of the city from there, something that would normally take 20 minutes if traffic was moving at a steady pace. It rained halfway home, not as hard, but still rain. It’s rumbling here as I type, but if the last few days of weather have been any indication, that’s all we’ll get.
Okay, I’m over my time limit, so it’s time to shut down. Good night!