A lot. Work to be done in a few hours. I woke up a bit more comfortable today. Not as stressed, but determined to move forward. Awaken by Bro Darguin and I got up to get ready and get going. Quick shower to get moving. Listening to the other volunteers I got to see something you DEFINITELY don’t see. I was informed that the dinner was going to be goat! I thought cool, but to make it more interesting I was invited to the slaughter of the goat. We surrepeitiously named it Billy. Not one for being squeamish I figured it’d be interesting. Poor thing was lead and intuitively it knew it was coming. It was even more interesting watching a young guy no older than twenty work with Bro Darguin work like an assassin to slit the throat of the goat. Not for the squeamish.. watching it kick and scream you almost feel bad.. and then I realized Im from Chicago and thought how much money I contributed to the Corporation of Harold (aka Harolds Chicken) and thought wow. An experience never done in the city.. and I understand that this is a way of life to eat. I am sure PETA people will call for war but I digress.
After watching the draining of the blood I got to watch the blowing of the goat (perverts shut it!) What as done to remove the skin was a site to see. The young assistant cut a slit in the now rigamortis laden body around the leg. And then proceeded to blow air in it like a balloon! And it blew up like a balloon after which they hung Billy for the dissection.. and that was when I went back to work lol. Billy was gonna be on a plate in 12 hours no need of seeing Billy til he was seasoned.
I returned to work and begun sketching the existing building. Walking from room to room I came across another set of volunteers that are separate from the group of which I am with, and when I told them what I was doing I got the look that I am used to. “What is this Black guy doing saying he is an architect” Now those who know me know Im prone to break out into a Samuel Jackson turrets but I didn’t, I smiled and went about my duties. Even in Haiti racism has a way of showing its ugly face and I would see it again later.
I finished up drawing as I was told by Samuel to work on something else and got to take a break and see what else needed to be done. While in Haiti I have been blessed to meet people that are hear from 2wks to 3 months, so I feel in my short period of time I need to maximize EVERY waking moment when I am not spazzing about mosquitos. (These things look like Sarin Palin without glasses out here)
We then went to Port Au Prince airport to pick up the newest addition to the team. Now for those of you that read Day 1! Yours truly was a little thrown off and was ready to get indignant, and since then I have mentally prepared myself for trickery on the way back. BUT I had to remind myself that fear is nothing but misappropriated energy and this would be the PERFECT time to overcome that. So off we went to the Airport!
This ride was only 20 mins, versus the 2hrs on the way back from the airport, as well it was good weather so it was a big difference. Arriving at the airport I felt the same way I did after becoming a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and watching the initation, being on the other side, I felt empowered and the social scientist in me was well aware of what was going on. As we waited, I saw other Americans coming to the gate and looking like I did. I was lowkey looking for the pickpocket to inform him that I wasn’t pleased in a very “Go-Ill” way but I didn’t. While waiting, I stood next to an American lady. And she looked so perturbed. I said “Eskise m” (Excuse me in Creole) and she looked at me like I urinated in her Cheerios. And then I promptly spoke to her in English I told her that I am as American as Apple Pie and she looked like I unleashed a fury of urine her her cheerios. Once yet again reminded of how as Americans we can be QUITE snobby to everyone including our own.
While getting past my civil rights moment I got to watch two people from competitive taxi companies warring over a customer. A petite lady versus tall man. She gave him what we local folks “THE BIDNESS” (Business for those that aren’t conosseiurs of final urban dialect lol) Ending with a middle finger AND the customer, once again reminding us in captitalism someone has to be capitalized ON for it to work.
After we acquired our new team member we went through introductions in the car and got acquainted.. Feeling relieved that I conquered my issue., we got back dropped our backs and went on to a conference that Bro. Darguin was to rendezvous with in the southern part of the area. 90 minute drive through the countryside YES! Camera dead NO! So frustrated by not swayed we pile in and Im armed with my Blackberry camera and I will say it put in work! We went through new territory and I got to see the difference between city life in Haiti and rural life. Rural life has been even more harmed by the earthquake. Over lush landscapes of mountains lay miles of waste! Plastic bottles and garbage that is BURNED! (no landfill or recycling element) Now I will not act a treehugger myself but seeing that and thinking how this truly effects the environment was touching. We waste so much and we truly do hurt the earth.. it was like looking as a post card shot and someone just taking a dump on it! Ideas came springing to me of how this can be alleviated.
Another thing noticed was the vast tent cities that laced the landscape. Displaced urbanites trying to find life in these tents. One couldn’t help but to thank God for the simple things and yet along the way we still people laughing smilng and playing and selling goods to make ends meet. The earthquake may have broken their buildings but it did NOT break their spirit! We proceed to the more well off section as we get closer to our destination and we notice its ritzy because old vehicles and “tap-taps” (pickup trucks with roofs converted for makeshift taxis) gave way to range rovers an Yukons.
We arrive in what looks like a parallel universe! A former club Med the place was snooty to say the least. Mind you we didn’t pay the absurd amount to be at this two day gala we just got in and was horrified by what we heard. Many representatives from various agencies, U.S. and others all interested in the rebuilding of Haiti. Good on paper! But they were so not in touch with the real situation! One lady, and American, had the audacity to complain that her hotel didn’t have air conditioning and its very uncomfortable for her to be in such an environment! Less than a mile away from this resort people are bathing in grey sewer water and you are complaining about A/C! Once again showing peoples REAL intentions! Problem is this group of people have THE MONEY! So we earhustled conversations while people looked at us like hippy backpackers (3 of us had backpacks) and we learned of other peoples interests depending on country. Cloaked in helping but looking for a quick buck hurt my heart! I love free market capitalism but not the cost of being a misery pimp, but I digress
We finally met our target person and had a wonderful discussion about partnerships and how we could elevate our vision and goals and vice versa. It was refreshing to hear in the midst of these money hungry vultures that there were actual people concerned about the improvement of Haiti and not just contracts and profits. All this to a backdrop that looked like something out of a Corona commercial. After the meeting I took a moment to photograph it. It was Heavenly! Type of place if I ever settle down you marry the woman of your dreams at! I let my mind run for a second, but then realized why I am here and went back to the work necessary
After meeting, we came back and road through Haiti at night! Very different. Not in bad way! The nightlife has people aggregating to the cooler location and watching the people made me smile. I even caught to lovers at a stop exchanging pleasantries! People are beautiful even in tragedy the circle of life continues
Along the way we saw some of the structures that suffered massive structure failure and it reminded me why I am here and I will be back to see it through!
The journey concluded back at the compound where we were served the goat from the morning! And I must say, it was excellent! We sung happy bday to one of the cooks showing indeed everyone deserves appreciation
We end today at our nightly ritual watering hole where I reflect.
Looking at the vision for the area that Bro Darguin and our General President have I can’t help but to be blessed.
I have worked in corporate America and have never had the chance to make the impact I have made in these few days. Some have said that maybe this is Gods way of bringing me back to architecture! If it His will then so be it! I have learned more about what is at my core in the last two days than I have in the last 4 years! Realizing the importance of the work I have been blessed to be apart of, many have congratulated me, and honestly I don’t feel worthy! Because love for mankind is what we are supposed to have AND show! I feel I am doing what God wanted me to do in this situation and for that I’m merely being obedient (for once lol) but seriously its the causal interactions that have shown me the people of Haiti are that! PEOPLE! Not statistics, not investments and not opportunities but people, and if you are not genuine in helping people then reconsider your motives, I sit with 1 day left on this journey awaiting what God has in store
(Sidenote: that goat was pretty damn good and it didn’t need hot sauce lol)