Haven Haiti Day 5 Diary

Record breaking heat, enthusiastic american DJs, talkative females, billion dollar teams, positive attitudes and a question and answer session with Jimmy Carter. All in a days work for the chief Declan Murphy and his team of volunteers in Haiti.

 

Just when I thought this place couldn’t get any hotter it broke all records today. This may sound a little rough but after 2 hours working today I had a photo taken of myself taking my t shirt off( not for public consumption!) and wringing at least 1/2 a litre of sweat out of it.

I was optimistic this morning when the 5.30 call went out and it was overcast and cool. Little did I know that this is a sign that humidity is reaching 100% and even sitting down the sweat just starts to run.

On the bright side I have thoroughly detoxed today and probably lost at least half a stone!

I mentioned the morning call that goes out. This is fast becoming the most hated sound of the day. By this evening I was barely able to climb the steps to the bus as every bone was aching.

I know that in the morning an over enthusiastic American volunteer will be plugging his iPhone into the speaker system as he does every morning and at 05.29.59 will start playing music out across the camp.

We have been treated to among other titles ‘when I wake up in the morning light’ and ‘I feel good’ ( which is the exact opposite of how I feel)

We got one house completely finished today and I believe it was the first one of the 100 we are building, not that I’m in any way competitive! The home owner who has been with us all week was delighted and immediately commenced sweeping the floors and raking the ground outside, even though it may be some weeks before she moves in with her family.

Instead of finishing the second house we jumped on with the team next door which is 7 women of various ages and two guys one of whom is a retired tennis player from Florida.

Imagine his delight when ‘the A team’ started on his house and put the roof on hung the doors and fitted the inside walls. I heard enough ‘Praise the Lords’ to guarantee me at least a pass through the pearly gates!

Actually the most impressive person on the team was an Irish volunteer in her 60’s who was up on the scaffolding fitting sheets of cement board.  She had a team with her and was getting stuck in while delivering instructions to all the members on her team! The funny thing about this team of females is that they all have to be talking all of the time and each has a different opinion on how the task should be done. It’s comical to watch but the important thing is that it gets done and they show up a lot of the males on site with their skills.

One if the best things about the trip are the people you meet. I have discovered another team member worth more than 100m dollars which brings the combined wealth of my street to just under half a billion dollars.(If you add in the Irish volunteers that reduces significantly!)

Everyone though just gets on with it and the attitude in the camp is always positive!

The most impressive aspect for me is the praise an compliments paid to the Haven team who organized the catering and logistics for the build it week!

I know it’s early days but the whole event has been flawlessly planned and executed and its a tribute to Leslie, Carmel, Orla, Cathy, John Henry and the security team, the Haven management and support team for the work that they have done.

This evening the dinner is a traditional Haitian meal which consists of spicy rice, chicken or beef, some sauces (which are hot) and salads and a sort of potato pie. The meal is delicious and is served by local Haitian women in their traditional clothes.

This evenings entertainment is a sit down Q&A with president and mrs carter. They are amazing people. He is 88 and are both out on site working every day. In total they have raised over 500m to fund the future work of their Carter foundation which researches and funds initiatives in third world countries to eradicate things like malaria in Ethiopia (down 90%) and river blindness in South America (almost completely eradicated).

The entertainment finishes at 20.30 and the bar closes at 21.30 with lights out at 22.00. I reckon though that my lights will be out long before then!

Regards

Declan

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