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  • Writer's pictureTom Stein

January 2020 Trip, Day 4

The day begins.

We woke at 7:12 just in time for our 7:15 breakfast. We decided to leave at 8:30 since our conversation lasted to 8:10. Our departure actually happened at 9:10. That could be considered on time in Haiti. We met up with FanFan and got air for the tires and gas for the engine and are off to Pignon.

Today was a day of delays. Thank God Haitians are so patient. Not. Our team is though. Our meetings were very fruitful. Geral at The Fuller Center is also the director of a K-12, school. We talked about BonZeb, our vision of partnerships, and our scholarship program. He took us to see three of the 20 homes they have built in the last few years. Very nicely done four room houses with latrine for $6,000. They also build two room houses and 28-49 square meter houses. On our way out the woman who founded the school told us that Geral should try for one of our scholarship. He would be a good candidate.

After this meeting, we backtracked a little, past the first home on our tour, to Haiti Outreach just 100 yards away. Here we met with Neil, who has a well digging business. We discussed our program and goals and he shared many insights into how things are done in Haiti.

He shared many cautionary tales about well digging and land ownership. He was not real positive about finding water in our area and pointed out flaws in our thinking that streams would fill an aquifer. Since the water is seasonal there is no underground aquifer or it is real deep. He is sending a bid on drilling a 350 foot well. If we don't find water at that depth we will have to consider another way to bring water to the site. FanFan will check with neighbors along the road to see if anyone has a well. If we find one, it improves our chances tenfold. We left Neil with a recommendation for lunch, a nice little cafe that served just about anything. Jambon and fromage sandwiches, seafood pizza, fried pork with rice topped off with the first Prestige of the trip.

Then we were off on the newly laid highway, which alternated from pavement, to dirt, to gravel, to rocks, to cracked old pavement, and every other type of construction. The 50 mile trek that looked and felt so nice at the start took 4 hours. It felt like riding an angry horse. I haven't bucked like this for years. We past through. communities which took pride in their road through town, but you knew the city boundaries by the extreme changes at the edge of town.

We made it Cap Haitien around 4:30, at the wrong school, UNDH. Had a nice chat with Fr. Francois, the director general of the university and agreed to meet tomorrow morning before we head to Gonaives. We are going by an alternate route to avoid issues in one of the communities on the mountain. The new route will force us to back track and add hours to the trip. Oh well, oh well.

After meeting Fr. Francois, one of the professors volunteered to lead us the Don Bosco Technical school. We had a wonderful time talking about Salesian education. Bellegarde went to a Salesian elementary school in Port-au-Prince and my whole family, except my sister, went to Salesian seminary or high school. After that we discussed the HEAR scholarship program and then BonZeb. This really a note with director who is determined build the kilns at his school and use 50 hectares for a BonZeb farm. When we realized it was 8:00pm we ended our chat headed to Villa Cana.

We missed it on the first pass and had the same issues as the other night, but we made it. It is a beautiful resort with two pools, two bars, two dining areas. We managed to check in 8 minutes after closing, but were told we could find food if we hurried. So we went toward the lower bar, but I started talking to a doctor who was with team from Virginia. He said we were going the wrong way. So we turn around walk up the hill to the other dining room, and we were told they just put away the buffet.

When we entered there was a gentleman standing at the podium, but he vanished behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz. When we looked behind the curtain everything was locked. So we headed downhill to the other dining room, and asked if we could order food. They wave us up to an open air cafe. We order dinner and Prestige, after being told we couldn't have the appetizers. When the server brings the drinks, I ask for a salad and she brings it. After a half hour she brings the bill so she can go home. We asked what happened to our dinner. She forgot to order it. So 20 minutes later they serve us, not what we ordered, but something they could make quickly. It is almost 11:00, so I need to say good night.

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