November 10, 2010

the next step

So I know its been a while.

Couch surfing in DC, LA, Boston, and NH. Thank you all for the hospitality.

But as I am currently in this "transition" period, I decided to take a step back out of the country. I had my eyes set on a couple jobs, through the Cristo Rey High Schools, and the Boys and Girls Club of America. But everyone knows the situation we are in right now. No Jobs. They say where one door closes, three more open behind you. So instead of staring at that closed door, waiting and waiting, I moved my eyes to where there is work. Haiti.

I first thought about this possibility because a dear friend, Melissa, got involved in a public sanitation project, building toilettes. She said I should come and check it out. And when a good friend tells you to jump off a bridge, you take a leap of faith.

So I took my next step to Haiti. And its nice to know that it is just the next step. And I got involved with Ryan and Carissa as well. We flew into the Dominican Republic and bused our way over to Haiti. Crossing the border was oppressive. Guns, baggages, vans, buses, papers, smog and noise. We walked, 4 white kids, with our backpacks through the confusion. And 3 buses later, made it to Cange, Haiti.

There we met up with David, a friend working at the Partners in Health facility. He was in the highlands, so we could wait out Hurricane Tomas with a certain degree of safety. There we hiked, yoga'd, journaled, listened to reggae music and relaxed in front of the beautiful mountains of Haiti. Our comfort level was high and it was good to meet some hopeful people involved in the inspiring story that was popularized by Tracy Kidders book, Mountains Beyond Mountains.

Then we bused to through Port au Prince to see the other side of the country. The buses are loud and claustrophobic. The city is packed with endless rubble, water, congestion, heat, and tents. Tent camps are vast. Tents pack street dividers. It is tough to imagine. The whole ride, I shook my head in sadness. With all of the disasters; cholera, earthquake, hurricane, flooding, and cluster of NGO's claiming to solve the problems- I am asking myself, is this country a disaster?

We are currently working with "All Hands Volunteers." The NGO's base is filled with about 60 volunteers. Anyone can volunteer, you just need to show up and work. No age, no religion, no race, no country, no school, no profession. I have met some very interesting cats who all seem to be in this transition period. And everyone has a story to tell...

We are located in Leogane, the epicenter of the January earthquake, and victim of flooding from Hurricane Tomas. Right when we got off the bus, we stared shoveling mud out of neighboring houses. Areas of the town were flooded leaving 6 inches to a 1ft in some houses. The mud was a product of the flood, and with the recent cholera outbreak, it poses a huge sanitation threat. Just imagine. So we use words like, toxic and decontaminate a lot.

Aside from mud, is rubble. Yes, despite the fact that it was about a year ago, there is still rubble. Everywhere. Not just in the poor sections of town. Even their main government buildings are down. As we passed, Melissa commented, "a reflection of the government here."
The second day, we rubbled. Sledge hammering, shoveling, barreling, and pick axing rubble. Little by little.

And today, I spent the morning taking care of infants at a local orphanage. This might be the greatest need and challenge in Haiti. Caring for the youth.

So this organization is completely opposite of Rostro de Cristo. The latter boasts "being and not doing" while the former is "all hands." There needs to be a balance. And I enjoy working for what seems to be a polar opposite organization. Why not experiment with the other side? And since we work so much, its time to get back to it...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All Hands-- no, you don't just "show up." You're supposed to contact them to sign up and make a reservation. Get yourself there on your own, but there is no charge for meals and lodging.