A blurb from two of four boys who are apart of our Base Camp Staff. They are here from Crescent City and will be here for three months. They were sent to Jeremie, Haiti to help work at the church and orphanage:
About a week and a half ago we were approached by our leader John and he told us we were going to a town called Les Cayes for about a week. On Friday, of last week, plans had changed and he told us we were going to a town called Jeremie and were going to start doing the footing for the wall surrounding their soon to be church. They had already started their wall but spent the entire budget for the wall on seventy feet of rock footings. The builder used a technique which is extremely popular in Haiti, but is super primitive and very expensive. The four of us were going to Jeremie to start the new footing and wall and at the same time teach the Haitian workers how to finish it once we left. Jeremie is supposedly a 10-12 hour drive away from Port-au-Prince. The Jeremie church project was perfect for us, so we were excited. We soon began our trip to Jeremie with a few tents and our packs on our back.
The trip ended up taking us two days. There were a total of eight of us, with five in the cab and three in the bed of the truck. The first day was fine, but crammed, until we ended up in the middle of a mini-rainstorm. The three guys in the back got completely soaked. The next day we had to go through the mountains, however none of us had ever been there; not even the drivers (most people fly to Jeremie). Gabe, our translator Emanuel, and I rode in the back enduring the rain for most of the day. The rain caused land slides on the mountains, so for about two hours we literally dodged falling boulders and rocks, it was one of the craziest things I have ever done but we must have had God’s hand on us because not a pebble landed in our truck, when a boulder easily could have.
After a long hard second day of traveling we finally made it to Jeremie. Jeremie was the most tropical, beautiful place we had ever seen. There was still trash and rubbish there, but there were a lot more trees and plants and we were right on the beach. Our drivers dropped us off and headed back home the next morning. Over the course of the next few days we started digging footing and getting all the rebar and forms ready for concrete. This method is nothing like what they do in Haiti… so the Haitians obviously didn’t appreciate four white boys showing them how to do things… but in reality we knew more about what we were doing and what was best. Everything is so primitive there, no electricity and everything is done by hand, so when we had to bend rebar and mix large amounts of concrete, it was pretty tough.
By the end of the week we had most of the first wall done and two awesome Haitian men trained on how to finish the project. It was so sweet being able to teach those guys something so valuable and practical.
John had told us that he was thinking of flying us back to Port Au Prince because the roads were so bad, but then he had a change of heart and told us that he was going to have a driver come get us on Saturday. Friday morning rolled around and we were getting ready to go to work, when John called us and said we had to be at the airport by 12:30. We went to work and stayed as long as we could, the morning consisted of us sitting back and watching our trained Haitians build the footing and the wall by themselves. We got to the airport and our plane was waiting for us, our pilot was the first white person we had seen in a week. We hopped out of our tap tap (taxi) with our bags in hand and jumped in the prop plane, thirty minutes later we landed in Port Au Prince. It was definitely nicer than a ten hour drive, or two day trip.
Being in Jeremie and living so simply was an awesome experience and we have a new found respect for that way of life. We are really going to miss our family in Jeremie, they were so sweet and so much fun to spend time with. Hopefully we will be able to spead a lot more time there.
– Hawkins Brothers