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  • Tom Stein

Peacocks and Slapstick

Wednesday began with the singing of the peacocks. I might have slept through the rooster. Then came the gobble gobble of the turkeys, followed by a not so raring version of happy birthday for Tricia at breakfast. It brought tears to her eyes, but we really don't know what caused them: her emotions, or our poor rendition of the song.

We shared a hearty breakfast of eggs, tomatoes and lettuce, porridge and meat, rolled ham, coffee, coffee, and a little more coffee, topped with a nectar and with three scoops of sugar added. Then there was the conversation with a man visiting Haiti to help churches run a camping program. It felt a lot like the David and Tom hour. Wonderful sharing faith, mission, vision, and new friendship. After breakfast we packed for the day, and our long drive up the hill to Bucantis. But first it was a stop at the bank to convert cash to charcoal. Those in the banking field will like this.

Valery and I enter the bank and get into the queue. A gentleman comes to tell us to return to the desk by the front door. In a moment I am signaled to sit in the chair at the left of the person behind the desk. The person sitting there is asked to step away. As I sit down I notice all his paperwork still sitting on the desk in front of me. The person in the chair to my right whispers something to the person behind the desk and then stands a leaves. The person behind the desk than speaks (whispers) in my direction. I don't understand and turn to Valery three feet behind me who whispers something and the woman behind the desk picks up a form and begins to fill it out. She looks up a speaks to me, I look to Valery who inform me she needs my ID. I do as requested and she takes my cash, does a calculation and gives the slip she has written and my cash and sends me back in the queue. Valery follows me in the line. When the bell rings (nice touch) you have to look up and figure out quickly which of the five tellers rang it, because none of them look up and the bell rings before the previous customer steps away from the counter. I go for the right teller with Valery right behind me. Then Valery received a stern whisper from a burly fully armed guard that only one person at a time can approach the teller window. Luckily the next bell to ring is for the teller next to me. Valery is soon once again by my side and he can once again return whispers with whispers and I receive my change after the teller counted it and the manager recounted it and then the teller the counted it out to me.

One hour after entering we exit back to daylight. Next stop: buy minutes for our iPhone which welast used over 6 months ago. The sim card, we were told, needed to be replaced. Then the fun started.

While installing the previous SIM card, the clerk had broken off the cover that protects the card. So today's team, Moe, Larry and Curly, couldn't figure out how to take the card out, at least until one popped off her earring. Once out, a new card was placed in the phone, but the phone wouldn't accept it. I suggested that the card might be bad, but was informed it was brand new. After a little cajoling, I had them test it in a different phone and it once again didn't work. Bad SIM card. Then we moved into another with the same effect. Then the card couldn't be removed. After another hour, I suggested buying a cheap phone which we did. We bought 35 minutes and where then informed we had 150 minutes the first weekend. Why didn't we know this before we put minutes on the phone? Only Moe, Larry or Curly knows. Upon departure, we decided to see if we could find a cake at a market for Tricia' s birthday. This is when we learned Hinche is not as big a town as we had thought. Afterall, it is the capital of the Department of the Centre and the seat of the Diocese of Hinche. But alas it has but two markets, neither of which carries pastries or much of anything. For locals this is fine, as there are hundreds of street vendors serving up every conceivable dish from bbq fish on a stick, to bbq corn, breads, and much more. But we have found through experience that our palate doesn't truly appreciate street cuisine. So off to the mountain, sorry Tricia.

Once again we place 7 people in a 5 passenger vehicle with a back end loaded with donations.

We arrive at the office to meet with the farm manager and discuss how the distribution will take place and how we might interview the workers and people of Beiucantis. Then it is off on the 5 mile, one hour commute up to the farm. At various points on the drive, the back seat revolts and jumps out to walk rather than be shaken like pinball machine. We climb rock walls in our mighty Toyota and finally reach the farm.

The workers and their family members are thankful for the abundance of clothes. They also participate eagerly with Valery and Nathan in the interview process. After which, we head out on a trek through the fields to an outcrop where the workers have a house built so they have a place to watch fields and protect them from fires. We could see a blaze farther up the mountain. But it is a beautiful spot with gorgeous vistas.

Then it's late afternoon and being out in the 93 degree sunshine it is time to head to the barn a try a cold shower to relax. Only to walk out again into a 93 degree evening. Ahh, but the cold or cool or semi not warm beer hits the spot. Until tomorrow.

Thank you again for your support and donations. More pictures once we have proper internet access.

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