- Tom Stein
April Trip, Day Two
Well meeting number three did happen at 8:00 last night. Msgr showed up and we talked about the agreement of with University Portland and presented him with the gifts the university sent with me. The coffee, mug, and pin were received with much thankfulness. The meeting led to two more appointments this week. Today we will meet with the chancellor of the Bioscience school at NDUH Hinche and Thursday with a candidate for our scholarship at Concordia Portland.
We had a good night's sleep. Could use another few hours, but morning is here and we are off to the land at 8:00. Please pray for another successful day and for my right leg. Woke this more with a terrible cramp. Hope to walk it off today on the farm. Thank you.
What a day so far. Anaxe was waiting us at 7am. So it was a quick breakfast of hard boiled eggs and fresh mango. Then the drive to Thomonde' which took three hours due to rock slides that took over the road in dozens of locations. Rocks half the size of our Rav4.
We even bought black market gas for the first time ever. All ten gas stations we visited were out of gas. The gas shortage is a serious issue for Haitian commerce and business.
From Thomonde to the factory site took another 30 minutes as the road washed out in many spots. Driving through divots at a 60° angle or better is quite the feat for Bellegarde. The ruts can be 3 or 4 feet deep. Mom could get lost in one. But avoiding them is impossible.
We walked the property line to see the PVC pipe boundary markers. Came through with only a few scrapes and cuts. 3.8 miles of walking so far today. After mom saw the land we sat down briefly to discuss the building plan. We marked a 12x24 pad site for the kiln. This will be a 4 inch thick cement slab. Then we discussed where to place the office. We decided to put it next the road on the NW corner. It will be a 20x40 building with office, bedroom, meeting room, and bathroom. Next step,where to put the septic tank? 10' from the office we marked off a 10x10 spot. Final step today, where to put storage containers. Picked a spot near the kiln 4' from the cactus fence that surrounds the property.
The neighbors gathered around the big tree in the middle of the property in the shade. I had to compliment them on their wisdom. Spending two hours in the noon day sun was very draining as the multicolored clothes will attest to. We thanked them for their help today. We told them about the new jobs coming to the area, which brought out many smiles and head nods.
A few minutes later we dropped into the current office, which is only 100 meters down the road, and found it filled with community members having a meeting. I asked them if the space was good for them and they all agreed it was. After telling them about the new jobs in the area, we also donated the building to the community of Benico. I hope to visit more community events there in the future.
Off the hill now heading to lunch in Hinche. We will go to the farm tomorrow and meet with the workers and distribute the BonZeb t-shirts Cy Graphics made last week.
Lunch is over, but just as we sat down to meal of goat, plantains, rice, and beans, I remembered meeting 3 from last night. That's when we set up meeting number 3 for today. It was set for after 3:00pm so in Haitian time, 4:30 still counts as on time. We will be meeting with the chancellor of NDUH's Biosciences College. We will see where it goes.
Fr. Herald, a PHD in bioscience showed us around. The campus consists of four buildings and 250 students. He explained their biogas process used to cook in their kitchen. He also showed us their garden where they use manure and food waste as fertilizer. He then took us to the nursing wing and showed us their newest lab room. We had a nice time together and we agreed to continue the conversation. He will visit our farm after Easter with FanFan. Numbers were exchanged, business cards swapped, and we were heading back to Hinche.
We got a surprise when we headed through town. There is a new road to Cap Haitien being built, and the road to Papaye has been redone. New drainage ditches and curbs. We didn't recognize our turn because so many of the landmarks were gone. When we turned around and got on the right road, we knew where we were because nothing had changed. We bounced along for a few miles and reached Emmaus House where a lot has happened. The rooms are all air conditioned, pathways are lighted at night, and not with the Christmas lights we saw in the past.
When we arrived, we realized the I had left my money belt in the bag at Matthew 25. We had to sweet talk our way into 3 rooms for the night with the new director. Knowing his predecessor, the local chancellor, and the previous bishop helped convince him I am trustworthy and will have the $240 here by Friday.
After dinner we had a little rhum, and we are off to bed.