Our family packed up and left for North America June 10th. A long day of airplane rides, security checks and recycled airport air made for a tiring touch down in Calgary. We all have colds and have spent the week recouping, but enjoying the cooler weather and neat, organized life. We are relaxing a bit before we prepare to head out for a month and a half of traveling and speaking engagements. We will be sure to share with you all our summer speaking schedule soon.
Roy and Olive Ralph had come back to Canada weeks before we did, but Roy has already made a return trip down to Haiti to help get the last cement pour of the technical school roof finished. He was pleasantly surprised to see how hard the workers worked to get things ready for him in less time than expected. Here is an email from him yesterday, with italics added comments:
"Greetings from Haiti!!
As you can tell, I have arrived in Haiti. Had a good trip and was shown some favors along the way. Didn't arrive in Miami until 1:30 AM which was a drag. The flight into Haiti was threatened with delay because of the AC unit. We taxied part way back to the terminal but maintenance told the pilot to just turn it up to 50% and it would start. The flight arrived on time and Marc Eddy and Sterling were there waiting. They were quite excited to see me. They were in Archange's little vehicle (the gear shift comes out in your hand if you don't keep it down!) and the clutch is very stiff. Sterling has a sore knee so he asked me to drive home from the airport for him. That was exciting!
Madam Artise and Se Luc were jumping when I came in and they had a lovely supper cooked for me. Beef stew with a delicious sauce, carrots, and potatoes. No rice and black bean sauce! I should gain ten pounds this week if I keep my promise and don't work, but I hardly see that happening since I was already down there fixing things. Wanclelow and the gang were pretty excited to see me as well. Maybe we did build some relationships here. I shared tears of joy with a lot of them.
As always when you arrive for an inspection there is good news and bad news and I will start with the bad news first because I like to list things in my order of priority:
- I cannot find my shower bag and if I don't find it in a day or two even the Haitian men won't be able to come near me. They will be correctly calling me a "couchon" (meaning pig) for sure.
- I am never coming back here again in the off season. (There are no teams there now). This is one stinkin' lonely spot after five o'clock. (Yes, I debated whether this should be in the good news section).
- ALL the Mango trees behind the Technical School have been cut down (on the neighbors property outside our wall). I almost cried.
- At this point I should say that we will be starting the pour tomorrow and hope to finish on Saturday. That will allow me to strip a few forms before I leave.
- They have done an amazing amount of work since I left and have, for the most part, done it well. One minor issue, plugging holes to keep the cement from running away from the aggregate and creating honeycombs needs a lot of attention but they will still start the pour and we can keep ahead of the pourers. I am very impressed at how well they followed the work that we did on the first half. A great job and leaves me with a lot of hope.
- Cleanup of the site and the building was incredible and they were so proud of it; might have been trying to impress me. Wonder why we couldn't keep it clean when I was there. Maybe I am the messy one!!
- Everything that has a roof has been parged and looks really good!
- The mixers, sand, gravel, and boxes are all in place ready for the pour in the morning.
- We still have to install a lot of PVC chairs but we will also do that on the run. A lot of rebar is touching the form sides and deck but I think we can keep ahead on that as well.
- Wanchelow wants to run just one shift from seven to five and I agree with him 100%. We still think we can finish on Saturday.
- Having the Mango trees behind the Technical School cut down allows a lot more light in from the East side !!
Blessings to All and give my love to the children."
-- Roy Ralph