May 23, 2012

Week 10 - Project completion

A massive push to the finish crowned with two celebrations
Category:Haiti Project 2012 
Posted by: Rome

Full ProjectSitting here on the plane, about to leave Haiti, it's a challenge to write this final blog.

On the project side Week 10 was a full court press. Getting the downspouts up and connected to the 1,000 gallon rain water collection tank, putting the trusses and roof on the chicken coop, steel framing the interior walls, securing the portapotties and building the steps to each one, cleaning and double coating all the concrete floors, finishing the gravel walkways, attaching the stucco belly band, plastering the block base of the building and of course erecting the multiple playset components in all their bright shiny colors.

Kids SingOn the people side, Kathi organized a touching final celebration on Saturday afternoon that included the church choir and band led by Nathan on keyboards and Maxime on the electric guitar (can you hear the generator running in the background?)

About 15 of the kids also sang us a goodbye song with several of our hard working boys tearing up. It's hard to sing while crying.
Kathi and her staff went to special lengths to add American sandwiches to the local rice, beans and chicken dish on the buffet. We all had a very sentimental afternoon.

On Monday, I realized that I wanted a more deliberate goodbye party for just our 7 steadfast boys.  Everyone agreed and we invited them to come over on Tuesday at 5 pm, reason not given.
We all pooled anything we had at least 7 of to make them each a gift bag. 7 Cliff Bars, 7 Mini Sharpies, 7 Lollipops, 7 boxes of chalk, 7 pairs of new (size small!) work gloves, 7 size small Haiti t-shirts and best of all, 7 of Caleb's Eddie Bauer headlamps. Faith whipped up an awesome chocolate cake with caramel frosting and candy/trail mix topping. Karlyn supplied the balloons and she, Nicole and Claudia decorated our dining space and set a table for 7 in the middle.
Job called Nathan to get his band to add some joyful sounds.

We were set. Their favorite snacks and drinks, bag of goodies, chocolate cake, table for 7 and music.

The word got out that something was up, so around 4:30pm a few party crashers also showed up. Nope not gonna happen here guys!

So we made everyone wait outside with the door closed. Then we called the 7, one by one and clapped them in.

Boys' PartyMonsieur Alex!
Monsieur Carlo!
Monsieur Janell!
Monsieur Sohnel!
Monsieur Mewidnior!
Monsieur Schneider!
Monsieur Wilson!

They were smiling shyly and a little overwhelmed at first, but Job translated our appreciation for their hard work and their cheerful attitudes and how they will always be in our hearts. Want some chocolate cake? Big smiles! Headlamps on!

Nathan and his band came a little late because he and Sharon had to get a new 3 year old orphan admitted to the hospital, but once they got started Job sang, we danced with the boys, Boss Rena, Gino and Romario.

As darkness came the boys scampered home and we adults took a last walk to the Florville for a little local rum.  5:30am was pick up time for the airport.

I am incredibly proud of the work we got done in 10 weeks with so few local volunteers (about 2,000 hours provided vs the 7,200 required). Our LUCOF team really turned on the juice and never gave in to the bruises and blisters and backaches and long days.

We left behind a 3,600 square foot, 2 story, hurricane and earthquake reinforced building, a 4 stall septic system with drain field, a chicken coop for 300 free range layers, a rain water retention system, a water pump, tower and tank with 250 feet of buried piping and an awesome playground.

I think I speak for most everyone when I say that we really will always remember the time we shared with each other, the wonderful people we worked with and the kids, the kids, the kids.....and that we can't wait to take a long hot shower!

With great thanks to Kathi for her excellent organizational work and her vigilance in caring about our needs on site, I'm yours in service.


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