Saturday, May 29, 2010

Evan's Trip to Haiti

Thanks to my lovely husband Evan giving up his lazy Sunday afternoon, here are some pictures of his trip to Haiti, with his commentary. So glad there was lots of pictures so I could share in his trip a bit!

Headed out. Lee drove us to New York City to the airport. It is easiest to take a direct flight from JFK to Port-au-Prince.

Our first view of Port-au-Prince. Just a small portion of the shanty-towns.

Haiti has many beautiful mountains. The island of Hispaniola, which contains both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, has mountains on the north and south with a low valley all through the middle.

The baggage claim at the airport was very crowded and not very organized. Very hot. Very, very hot. There was a fan on the wall here that did nothing but blow hot air at us. First time I have ever wanted a fan shut off when it was hot.

Very crowded and confusing outside the airport. Very good to spot Dan.

Tire repair shop.

There are a few "normal" stores. This is the only one we saw though.

Many, many "Tap-taps". These are vehicles, usually painted in many colors, used for transportation of people and goods. Usually overloaded and in very bad shape. When someone wants to get off, they 'tap' on the drivers window, hence the name 'Tap-tap'. Also notice the bubbly dash of the Patrol. Not a unique design, rather result of heat.

Arrived at the grounds (near a town called Cabaret) after about a 40 min drive. This is Diana.

Local 'Home Depot'

Breakfast. Cooked over man-made charcoal.

Eating and cooking area at the grounds.

Typical lunch. Lots of rice and beans and some meat to go with it. We worked about 40 min away from the grounds so the lunch was usually made in the morning, and we ate around 1:00. Too hot to spoil...

Eggs out all week.

Loading up one of the friend's trucks to drive down to where we worked (I called it 'the property') No regulations for loads here.

Typical street scene. Making your way through town any way possible. Steer and honk.

Arriving at the property. Next to it there was a 'decoy' tent city. Totally empty until foreign aid shows up, and then people living nearby will inhabit the tents for awhile to try and get some aid. Some of the sadder side of Haiti.

We are here to start to help build some houses for some of the friends. The first thing we do is build a fence. The two people far in the background are just local people interested in what is going on. Some people get a little too interested, so a fence becomes very important.

Someone was hired earlier to dig a well. Dug by hand, 33' deep. Took about one week. $250 American. Wages are very low.

We put a pump down the well to try and get water for construction purposes. The only way to power the pump was to stick the ends of the bare wire into the generator.

Another reason to build a fence: keep people from wondering through.

Imagine standing way down in there passing up buckets of gravel?

Eating lunch in whatever shade we can find/make. Shade is VERY necessary.

Piles of rock that belonged to the neighbors. Tossing it to their side of the fence before the fence goes up.

Break time. In the shade, of course.

No town sewer system. Need to dig their own. Cody did most of this.

Foundation for house number one laid out and starting to dig.

Built a shed to lock tools away. This shed will probably become a kitchen after construction is complete.


Hauling a bag of charcoal to market.

Roadside food stand. In the background is a "Bank". We saw many of these. They are actually places to buy lottery tickets, hence the 'N. York' and corresponding numbers.

Finished bathroom.

And necessary shade area.

Large friendly spider.

Love the view from the grounds.

Market day.

One way to make money: buy water/drinks and some ice and cool them in old refrigerators, then sell the cold drinks. Very few places with power, so used just for the insulation value.

Mike with some breadfruit.

Entrance to the grounds.

Another hot day at the property. Fence complete, laying out the next two houses, ready to start foundation on first house.

Moto-taxi center. Another quick way to get from place to place. Also used to transfer small amounts of goods. One man delivered two five gallon jugs of water to the grounds on his motorcycle.

Truck breaks down? Fix it in the middle of the road.

Construction in the streets of Cabaret. One of the only places I saw a large construction project happening. Most of the work done by hand, or not at all.

Mixing mortar right on the street.

Meat market in Cabaret. Flies. Lots of flies.

Selling the man-made charcoal.

Tent city a few miles out of Port-au-Prince. This is all government land and there was nothing here before the quake.

Flamboyant tree.

Open range.

Fishing.

In a section of Port-au-Prince called Cite Soleil. Full of violent gangs and not all that safe to go through. Someone was probably hiding in this window at one time and others were trying to shoot him.

Some of the shanty-slums of Cite Soliel.


Walking up the hillside to meeting in Port-au-Prince.


No running water. All water for washing, laundry, cleaning, cooking, drinking has to be carried to each house.



Madochee. The ceiling above is made from cement blocks covered in a thin layer of concrete. Cheap, but very weak.

Waiting. In the shade, again.

Auto-body shop.

No place to put garbage or debris. Usually piled in the street, and once in a while, burned.

Mack truck repair shop.

Used to be a two story building. "a demolir" painted on most buildings by some important foreign engineer. "Demolish this." Really?


The people below were sitting under the building above. Shade is important, but I think I would prefer sun in this case.


Salvaging wire from the rubble.

This used to be the park near the Presidential Palace. Now full of refugees. You can see one of the palace domes in the background.

Presidential Palace. Some demo work has been done. The central dome is gone and there was some construction happening here. Most of the government-related buildings have been torn down in the city, but hardly any privately-owned buildings.

Water distribution near the park.

Another 'bank' and man-drawn cart.

Lunch at the batch in Port-au-Prince.


Houses behind the batch. Much destruction, but people still living wherever they can.

Roadside market.

Lumber yard. This is what we used for uprights for our fence.

Fish store.

Gravel pit. Some enterprising man would gather a pile of rocks, gravel, or sand from the river bed and sell it. These rocks were used for the house foundation.

Freshly plowed field. Probably will be planted with Plantain trees. (Cooking banana)

Typical road scene. Large vehicle, small vehicle, donkey. Steer, beep-beep.

Bending and tying re-rod with steel-worker Dilus.

Used in corners of house.


Someone said her name was Maytag.

Some aid group put many of these wells and pumps in around the city.

Start of the foundation. Rocks and concrete.

Roadside concrete block factory. All made by hand.

Loading a large dump-truck by hand.

Fancy Tap-Tap.

Yeah... That's 100.1 in the shade at 11:59am. Lovely day.

5 comments:

Chloe said...

Thanks for sharing....brings back memories of my trip to the Dominican to visit Aunt Ruthie....even though the Dominican is wealthy compared to Haiti!

Cecil and Amy said...

Wow! I couldn't do it. I need air conditioning, flush toilets and showers!

Thanks for taking time out of your afternoon!

Ivan + Norma said...

Great job posting all these Evan - sure enjoyed seeing all the happenings! Glad for those of you that could go to work there. Love, Ivan & I

Rebecca said...

Awesome pictures! Great you guys could go and help!!

The McCoys said...

Wow...what an experience. Thanks for taking pics and posting with captions. We've enjoyed hearing from Dan a few times but nice to see the sights. Glad you made it home in time for Lincoln's arrival :)