Apr 12, 2012

Week 4 - Water Features, Easter, and Voodoo

Week 4 volunteers finish off the mud, add water features, and enjoy local celebrations
Category:Haiti Project 2012 
Posted by: Rome

And over the hump we are Yoda!

The Week 4 team of Barbara, Jennie and Abby arrived to find us working our way (still) out of the mud.

Barbara 'overhead pressed' thousands of pounds of mortar by the shovel load, up to our Rock Goddess Claudia, who was perched high on a ladder laying rock after rock after rock.  At long last the beautiful retaining wall was done!

In celebration of mudJennie jump in, literally, to lead the kids in the final leg of mud/dirt/clay removal. Every time I looked over to check on them, there was Jennie, kneeling in the mud, (not one 6" square area of her clothes was clean or dry) surrounded by kids, speaking French with them, learning Creole from them, singing the Abraham song with them, all the while throwing mud with vigor. I have no idea what they were talking about for hours upon hours, but they loved being with each other and every kid knows their Jennie!

The kids didn't realize that grass came from seed, so we capped off all the dirt moving with a ceremonial sowing of grass seed on all the new dirt surfaces. I told them the grass from these little seeds would still be here when they were old men. It was a special day.

The last of the gravel got laid today and we are officially mud free!!

Abby attacked the puzzle that is the second floor decking. Still without our scaffolding, we formed a human ant hill and passed 31 sheets of 20' long pan decking from the ground up to the second floor joists! Abby got all but 6 sheets laid out, cut to fit around columns, screwed down and trimmed with the pour stop at the perimeter. Now that's a lot of impact drilling!

In our spare time, between 2 rain storms, we also dug French drains to handle the run off. They each turn into a rock lined waterfall as they exit. Every project needs a 'water feature' right?  It's actually very cool to watch as they drain the site during the rainstorms.

The wildest part of the week though was Good Friday through Easter. On Friday morning a long procession passed by our place. It was led by a priest, followed by chanting and praying at what we were told were the Stations of the Cross placed throughout the neighborhood.  Very beautiful and we stopped working to watch and listen.

This was followed about two hours later, by a Voodoo ritual parade. These participants and their music were very different from the earlier procession! In fact people on the street were running away as they came along because, according to our translator, you don't want one of the followers who is in a trance to make eye contact with you and put a spell on you. These parades went on all over town for 3 days straight. Good vs Evil was the theme. God vs the devil. All I know is that I was definitely not making eye contact. Definitely.


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