Hello Everyone, Chad here again. It was the Thorne's turn to blog today but they came up dry of ideas so I was volun"told" to fill in (jk, I actually kind of enjoy this).
Today was a really great day. Most of the team headed off to the Grand Goave market this morning. I didn't go but am told that the market was quite the experience. The team said that it was extremely busy and the smell of food, especially meat hanging in the hot sun, permeated everything. While the group went to the market, Bill from Elbow and I continued our cabinet building project and a few others also stayed back and did some more tiling. The cabinets are looking really good, I tell you it has been quite the experience building cabinets from scratch. It is a bit more difficult than assembling pre-made boxes from Home Depot! Adding another level of complication is that we don't have a proper table saw. Bill and I have been undeterred, however, and have come up with our own "Haitian" table saw comprised of 2 clamps, a 4' level and a circular saw. While the cuts may not be perfect, they do work well enough and we actually have the makings of a pretty nice kitchen! Working with Bill has been a lot of fun. He is a very patient guy who is easy to get along with and his fine finishing skills are very apparent in the job that he does. Considering my carpentry background is more on the framing end, having someone to work with who has built a few cabinets before has allowed us to make pretty good progress and I have learned a lot along the way. Another bonus has been that we have had a bit of help from a finishing carpenter from the Edmonton area. He used to work at Haiti Arise and actually married a local girl while he was here. He is staying with his wife's family outside the walls of the compound while here and has some incredible stories to tell. He and his wife and son were here during the earthquake and his account of that time is absolutely rivetting. He does a great job telling a story and relayed to us the miracles that allowed his family to survive that devastating event.
This afternoon was beach day. Wow, it was so nice to jump into the ocean and just wade there in the cool(ish) water enjoying the surroundings. As North Americans, most of us have a picture of a Carribean beach in our mind, this beach isn't exactly what you would imagine. While it had the sand; the water is not the vibrant blue you would see on a postcard. As well, the area is littered with trash and while there is coral, it is pretty muted in colour. Having said that, it is still a beach in the Carribean and we enjoyed it! While I was in the water, the group on the beach was serenaded by a man who had a homemade ukeleili (sp?) with one string. On top of the challenge with his instrument, he was deaf and could not speak but he managed to "sing" his song for a couple dollars. Talk about resilience and perserverance! Faced with the handicaps that he has, he still fights through and does what he can to survive. Let's just say it was not much of a song but we tipped him based on effort! Out in the water, Haiti Steve (aka Steve the carpenter from Edmonton), showed us a puffer fish that his Haitian nephew had caught in a hapf a coconut. It was puffed up perfectly round, was about the size of a cantaloupe and completely covered in little spikes.
We had a boy named Ricardo follow us down to the beach. He was a great kid. He didn't speak English or French but despite the communcation challenges we got to interact all the way down there, tossing the football back and forth as we walked. At one point I pulled out a pack of gum and he, not really knowing what it was, went through the whole package one piece after the other. Hopefully, for his sake, it isn't true that gum stays inside you for 7 years! While at the beach, I showed him all the pictures on my camera. He was enthralled with them, especially the pictures I'd taken while flying. To Ricardo, an airplane is a fantastical thing that is just an occassional speck in the sky above his village. After looking at the pictures, he wanted to take a few of his own. I showed him how to use it and, somewhat nervously, gave it to him to roam around and snap a few shots. He sure enjoyed that!
Near the end of our stay at the beach, Marc and Lisa's little girl, Misha, came and plopped herself on my lap and asked me to sing her a song. Not wanting to scare her with my awful singing voice, I asked if I could tell her a story instead and she agreed. I went on to tell her the "Tale of the Three Trees" and "You are Special (Punchinello and the woodcarver)", 2 stories that I often read to my boys at home. As she leaned up against me and nearly fell asleep, I couldn't help but think of my 2 boys back home and my heart ached a little just missing them. Even though it was a bit difficult, it was also kind of nice to get my "kid fix" after a long week away from home.
Anyways, as always, we ended the day with some rowdy card games and just enjoy each other's company and the strong bonds that we have formed amongst the 3 teams. Tonight I thank God for my kids, my wife, my health and for the incredible work of Haiti Arise.
Good night, and as before... please say a prayer for Haiti.