Friday, July 25, 2014

Time to let you know we are all okay here still.

The saying 'no news is good news' was not necessarily written for Haiti.  When you hear nothing from me it could mean a few, or a lot of, things are going wrong.  Thus I feel I should try to let you know once a week we are okay.

Luckner and I decided we would leave our regular work on Wednesday and go to PAP to take care of something we saw as important for all of us at the HATS-Haiti Mission.

I left the compound later in the morning than planned due to more generator/electricity problems.  I was in 'blackout' again during the night and I needed to take care of some things with generator and inverter so I would 'hopefully' return home to electricity.  I finally picked up Luckner who was standing on the road waiting for me, and we were on our way.

Luckner and I have made a few visits to a business in Port au Prince that sells Lister Petter generators.  This store knew we were interested in purchasing another Lister Petter.  They called us numerous times to encourage us to come in and place an order.  We had obtained information, a group from my home town of Springdale fundraised the total cost, and then last Friday we were were quoted the amount of money we would have to bring in as a down payment for the generator we wanted.  We were encouraged to not wait but to bring a cheque in this week, and were quoted an arrival date of six weeks for the generator to come from Miami.  I was thrilled with the prospect of getting it in six weeks.  In reality, however, I was doubting it would happen that quickly.  This is Haiti! We were told to take the funds to a different address in PAP than we normally do our business with them.

On our drive in we were pulled over twice by police who asked for our vehicle papers. At the first stop we sat for a long time in a line of vehicles that were being checked.  While waiting one policeman walked back the line of vehicles and was looking at license plates. We knew we did not have our sticker on our license plate, but we did know we had one.  It was sitting in the envelope with our vehicle paperwork.  Eventually we made it to the front of the line and a policeman asked for our papers.  He was ready to give us heck for not having our sticker.  He saw it and asked why we had not placed it on our license plate where it belongs.  Luckner explained because it would have been stolen and put on someone else's vehicle. Obviously this was not something new to him.  I was stifling laughter as he quietly explained what to do before we place the sticker on our plate.  He said to take a razor blade to the sticker and make several lines crisscrossed throughout it.  Then when someone tries to steal it they will end up with just a small piece of it.  Too funny, but this is Haiti.   At the second stop the policeman saw our sticker again and asked why it was not on. Luckner quickly explained what the other police had told us to do, so he let us continue with his strong advice to get it on the plate.

In PAP it took quite some time, and a few phone calls, to find the place where we were to make the  down payment.   We found a gate but no sign - no indication whatsoever of what was behind the high cement walls topped with razor wire.  Eventually the gate opened a little bit and a man slipped outside.  He wanted to know who we were, why we were there, who we were looking for, and what we wanted.  We explained we were told to come to this business.  He insisted we give him a lot of information first.  By now, I was ready to leave and go buy a generator elsewhere.  Then a security agent, armed of course, joined  the other man.  Eventually we were allowed to drive inside the compound where someone came outside and led us into the office.  I was not sure if the treatment we received was because they did not trust us or if they had reason to not trust anyone.  Not trusting anyone was something I could understand.  We were recognized by employees, that knew us from our visits to the other location, so we did not need to explain the reason we were there.  Luckner filled out our cheque for down payment on the generator.  All of a sudden we could see something had changed. They would not take the cheque. We were told there was no generator the size we wanted in Miami.  It would have to come from England to Miami to Haiti and it would take approx 3 months.  Now, remember they had told us earlier in the week to not delay coming in as they needed the down payment right away.  While sitting there with the cheque filled in they said they would look into a generator and they would call us.  Obviously the right hand at that place did not know what the left hand was doing.  We have heard nothing since we returned.

We continue to operate here with one refrigerator only for all of us on the compound - normally we have three refrigeraters and at least one freezer running.  We continue to purchase large chunks of ice in Liancout to put in a freezer so some things can lie on top.  We continue to daily bail out the cold water as the ice melts.  We continue to purchase perishables in very small quantities.  We are making out okay.  We continue to thank God that our old generator can put water in the tanks and we have lights in the evening.  That in itself is a big blessing.  The small inverter that is now at my place can't run much at all, and can only run for 2-3 hours at a time.  I thank God daily that we do at least have that one small inverter to help a little until such time a new generator is ours. We have lots here to be thankful for that others do not have available to them.

After realizing we had made an unnecessary trip to Port we took care of two things for HATS and headed home.  We arrived back to Pont Sonde and quickly realized there was a problem just ahead of us.  We heard lots of gun fire, we saw people running and yelling, we saw rocks being thrown, we heard rocks hitting vehicles.  We saw lots of police, those to control riots and those for ordinary daily police work.  I was thankful I was in the vehicle with Luckner.  The one and only thing to do in a situation like this is to calmly try getting away from it.  Luckner stayed  perfectly cool and calm and slowly backed up as people got out of our way, while keeping a close eye on the situation.  I stayed low but kept an eye out as well.  I saw a lot of very angry people and was thanking God that they were not after us.  We sat and waited it out. Eventually we saw things start to settle down.  We waited until we were told it was okay to proceed and then quickly passed through Pont Sonde and headed home again.

Made it home and walked into my house thanking God for our safe arrival.  Discovered quickly that I had no electricity.  My place was once again in 'blackout' and had been for some time.  We were, however, home safely and that is what was important.  It was just another day of life in Haiti.

Germaine returned to work a couple of days ago from her bout with Chikungunya.  She is not 'up to snuff' yet but is doing what she can. She spent five days in absolutely horrible amounts of pain unable to do anything - could not lift a finger, or turn over, or anything.

The children are all well, as you will see from the photos.  Our newest little one, Magdala, is fitting in beautifully.  She is getting so much love, attention, affection, along with good nutrition, that she is thriving.  She still dearly loves her "Ti Mama Leica' but will now happily go with the other children and all of us adults.  If, however, she sees Leica her hands quickly go up for Leica to take her.  All the children here just love having a new little sister in the family.

Sandra likes being a big sister

Fun on our afternoon walks

My adorable mischievous Jonathan

Mama's early morning walk with Moise

No mangos for months. What a treat they got from Richard

Magdala and Ti Mama Leica

Sandra sat there and said - Photo for Dickie, Mama

I T    I S    A L L     A B O U T    A L L     T H E     C H I L D R E N

Blessings,
Karen and gang

4 comments:

Jim said...

I am sorry to hear that there are yet more issues with replacing the generator. It is a delight to see the pictures of the kids though. I think Magdala chose well :)

Dickie MacDonald said...

Thanks for the update. Can not fanthom what traffic must be like in Ponte Sonde with that going on. Normal traffic is crazy enough.
My fondest memory is a traffic jam behind a Tap Tap with 15 people, a 250 pound pig, 7 goats tied upside down on the sides and as many chickens.

Sandra said...

Good to see the photo of Sandra for Dickie...she still remembers him fondly! Glad to see Magdala is adjusting well with all her siblings and care givers. You had quite the day on Wednesday..very interesting all but Pont Sonde, that place scares me everytime we go through it. Give my love to Germaine and hope she is 100% better real soon.

Keith said...

Any chance of Home Depot opening in Haiti? Wouldn't that make life easier.....
Tell Germaine she has 10 weeks to get better as I will need my Mango Salads!!