Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm here

I'm not dead. I'm still alive. Sorry for the silence. It's been a crazy couple of weeks here.

I've made 2 long trips to Santiago/Puerta Plata, DR to pick up and return a group of 10 Canadians. Quite the adventure. I made the return trip by myself just fine - although it took me 12 hours!

We got a lot accomplished in the clinic in the past couple of weeks. The majority of the painting is done and a lot of organizing of the supplies has been done. I couldn't done it by myself, that's for sure. We got the internet working in my office again - very thankful for that.

Yesterday, 2 more Canadians arrived and tomorrow 4 Americans and one more Canadian arrives. So the house will be full again.

I'm enjoying a lazy Saturday here - might even take a nap this afternoon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Calm Before The Storm

One more day.

One more day until the first visitors arrive to stay with us. Starting tomorrow, we will have 1 to 12 extra people (Canadians and Americans) staying with us for the next 2 to 3 months on a rotating basis. There will be medical personnel and work teams coming to help with the painting and tiling of the hospital. Starting tomorrow, I shift into host mode - which I'm looking forward to, because that is part of my job. But it is also very tiring making sure that everyone has everything they need - meals to eat, water for showers, toilet paper, transportation, managing money, translating, etc. Normal life here will be put on hold for awhile.

Life has been somewhat normal the past couple of weeks. It's been great to have Shauna here to share life with - to laugh and talk with. We spent a few days bird/house sitting for the James' while they were gone to Port au Prince. It was kind of luxurious to spend a couple of nights in a house with 24 hour electricity and a tv to watch movies on. A mini vacation for us.

Yesterday was a surprise good day. We ended up going to a clinic at Bayae - about an hour away. We went to see how their financial systems work as we are working on implementing some changes at Ebenezer Clinic. After a meeting of about an hour, we went to the most beautiful beach ever, called Chou Chou Bay (sp?). It was more beautiful than Labadee - especially because there is nothing or no one there - just a natural untouched beach with white sand. I got to spend the afternoon with 3 good friends, swimming, playing frisbee and just relaxing for a while. A very nice treat before the busyness comes.


Next Monday, I will be going to Santiago, DR for a few days - i'm quite looking forward to it. It'll be nice to be "out" of Haiti for a while... to go to a restaurant, to go to a store and hopefully get a haircut. Then on Wednesday morning, i will head to Puerto Plata to pick up the Saskatoon group of 10 which includes my parents. Very excited to see them and show them my life here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Monday Adventures

Monday was a very exciting day for me - my good friend Shauna was due to arrive from Canada. She had spent 3 months here this summer in the same community, so I was excited to spend time with her here, with our friends. Monday was also a very clear reminder of how nothing goes as planned in Haiti and of how a lot of the time, I have no idea of what is going on.

Now, her plane was due to arrive at 12:45 in Cap. Me and 3 of our mutual friends (Alin, Ben and Calvin) were planning to greet her and pick her up. Normally, this should go smoothly. However, on this particular day, both of the vehicles we normally have access to, were not available, so we had to make other arrangements. My friend Alin was able to borrow a truck from a friend so that we would be able to bring Shauna and her luggage home without using public transport.

Monday morning. The plan was to leave at 10 in order to get to the airport on time.

10:05 - Janelle begins to wander through town to find her 3 friends and the vehicle that we are supposedly borrowing.

10:30 - I'm at the end of my driveway, 3 friends have been found, but no vehicle. I innocently ask where it is and Alin tells me it's in Cap. Alright - how are we getting to Cap? Public transportation! I haven't taken the bus yet here, so I was kind of excited to do that.

10:45 - We're still standing at the end of my driveway. When I ask why, I'm told we're waiting for a motorcycle to get a ride to the "bus station". I laughed out loud at hearing this, because really it's about a 7 minute walk to the end of the road to the "bus station" and we had already been waiting for 15 minutes. Anyways, a motorcycle finally comes and we get a ride to the "bus station".

11:00 - we're waiting on the side of the road for a tap-tap going to Cap to come by. They are all full and nobody is stopping.

11:20 - a bus comes by, we get on. (Public transport in Haiti is usually old pick up trucks or school buses). But it's going the wrong direction. It's going to Limbe, not Cap. When I ask what we are doing, I'm told we are going to Limbe to see if we can find a bus going to Cap. Alright, but i'm starting to get a bit concerned that we won't make it to the airport on time.

11:35 - we make it to Limbe, but we don't get off the bus. Again, I ask why. Now they tell me that the bus will turn around and go back towards Cap. Okay. Shortly after, as we pass by Haut Limbe, we ask the bus to stop because Alin forgot the 2 propane tanks that Mama wanted us to fill in Cap, so we pick those up. Finally we are on our way.

12:20 - we start entering Cap. Alin had said that we will pick up the truck when we got to Cap, however there was now a change of plans. Alin and Calvin will stop at the gas station to fill the propane tanks and get the truck, and Ben and I will take a taxi to the airport to meet Shauna. Ben and I get off the bus at the bus station and are able to find a taxi - a real taxi that is a car, not a motorcycle! Luckily the traffic was extremely light and we were able to drive up to the airport at 12:47.

1:00 - no Shauna.

1:30 - no Shauna. remember there are no arrivals/departures monitors in Cap Int'l Airport and as far as we know, the plane is supposed to arrive at 12:45.

2:00 - no Shauna, but Alin and Calvin arrive with the truck.

2:30 - no Shauna

3:00 - Shauna finally arrives! Apparently her plane was delayed in leaving Ft. Lauderdale and they had to stop in the Bahamas for fuel. I was so excited to see her and get a good hug. The only problem was, her luggage did not arrive from Minneapolis to Ft. Lauderdale. So, as it turns out, we could have taken public transport home - but oh well.

At this time, we still hadn't eaten, so we stopped at a restaurant for a bite to eat before heading back to Haut Limbe. It was a long day, I was very tired, but I was very happy to see my friend.