Friday, July 30, 2010


awesome hat

crying animals filled the air. Market day.

everybody needs shade

Aristide's former residence

the girl on the right is jennifer.

Today while riding the motorbike through yet another rush hour (which seems to last all day) i noticed the bike in front of me had the word "dayang" on the back of the seat. I thought to myself, "dayang!' and then I heard loud snorting emanating from the back of a white box truck, back open, stuffed full of humans and apparently pigs.
It was market day. I had my boots on. Why it has taken me this long to realize that I should wear my cowboy boots while driving the motorbike instead of sandals is beyond me. But wearing them, I swear, increased my expertise on the bike ten fold. I am not over confidant, though I did feel more fierce. Yesterday I got a leg burn on the exhaust pipe. Not today. Today I was driving Julian and I to a couple orphanages. Julian and I are becoming good friends. He directs me from the back of the bike and encourages me. The first day I drove us, while I was hesitating at an intersection, wondering how to enter into it, kind of like skipping rope, he leaned in and said in my ear "engage with the traffic" He is like yoda or something.

Today. Julian on the back, "that way" me"that way?" he"that way" and he pointed at a dense crowd of people and goats walking in the market place. "what the fuck?" I shouted back at him. He said "do it, honk the horn"

Ok. It's one kind of fear to enter into a danger dance with vehicular traffic and an altogether different kind of fear to enter into human traffic. I prefer to risk my own life than to risk running over another person or even a goat. As we rode through, we hit this enormous rubble patch and I had no alternative but through it. crazy. I saw a SUV driving through, we were behind them and the dude driving started running over an old ladies basket of grains. Harsh.

We drove into a field full of people and animals and sought shade under a tree with a bunch of other people and goats. Julian bought us some bags of water. I am still not used to sucking water out of a plastic bag. I squirted it into my water bottle and wadded up the plastic. I cant bring myself to throw it on the ground as is customary here. I just cant do it. I'm a fucking environmentalist. He laughed at me and said, "give it to me" and I almost did until i noticed the glint in his eye. He was going to pretend to pocket it and then throw it down. I grabbed it and put it in our bag. People were watching us curiously. the goats even seemed interested.

I looked over at the field of milling people and goats and cows and I imagined I heard sadness and lament in the crying voices of the animals. Today they would be bought and slaughtered. I get itl, the beauty and connection between people and their relationship to food. It's so intrinsic here, unlike shopping in whole foods and buying a packaged slab of meat. I still feel bad for the animals. I cant help it. There is a rooster on the compound where I am staying. Every morning without fail at 6 am, it comes right up to my tent and cock a doodles his doo dad right in my earlobe brain cell. I gather from what I've heard that there used to be 7 roosters on the property. Not very popular. Kind of like the greasy wheel and not as necessary.

Vegetarians are unherd of here. People look at me like I am insane when I tell them I dont eat meat. I am insane but not for that reason.

Today I realized that people have been commenting on my blog. Friends and relatives. It was like christmas when I found out. Thanks for reading and commenting! It makes me feel so happy and good.

I cleared it with the Grub logistics coordinator. Any of my close friends who have the inclination and means to come down here are welcome. The only requirement is that you fill out their volunteer questionnaire. I highly recommend coming. It's an experience you'll never forget your entire life. There are plenty of projects to plug into here and we will put you right to work and house and feed you.

I have an empty tent waiting! I will personally pick you up at the airport.

I was sent into a giddy revelry imagining various favorite human friends of mine here with this international community of folks staying at Grassroots United. I would love any one of you to come. If you are thinking about it, please email me.

Went to two more locations today but was unclear whether they were actually orphanages or not. One was more like a day care. None of the kids were orphans, just children of really poor people who cant feed their kids. It was actually a sweet location, a nice house with trees and a back garden. Some kids were on the back porch watching a haitian singer on the tv, it was showing scenes of the streets and the music was beautiful. I asked the guy where his kids were and he said they were "out playing" in the streets. He wants to start a school. As it is the kids just come and eat when he has something to give. I have always marveled at the generosity of the poorest and the lack there of among the "haves" What exactly is up with that? He had one of the kids go out and gather up the others and they all sat politely and curiously on a bench under the shade of a welcoming tree as I interviewed the young man in charge with the help of Julian. I was disturbed when I saw the kids drinking water out of the hose. I asked and he said they haven;t gotten sick from it. I want to bring him a water filter and books and food and so much more. This cat is golden. I asked him "why are you doing this?" and he said "These kids will be me in the future" I got really choked up at that. I tried unsuccessfully to hide it. Julian asked me if I was alright and I said yes. I told the guy "What you are doing is really beautiful" and I thanked him. They dont need a dome.

I took some photos of the kids which really livened them up. They said "magic" and "jennifer" one of the girls names is Jennifer. I thought of my dear sister up in Alaska. Hi Jen! These kids are the future. Can we please take care of them.

We said goodbye and got on the bike and drove away. That is when we hit the marketplace and the me driving into the human sea. We were headed to the next location and it was arduous as hell getting there. But we made it alive. Thats good news.

The next place was hard to decipher. But I liked the ladies hat alot.

We passed Aristides house today and I had to get off the bike and take a photo.

We headed back to the base and found our friend Mike from MMRC chilling on the front porch. We had lunch. It was three oclock.

Naftalie came by and told me more about her friend who has 36 kids living in a tent nearby. I will go visit them as soon as I can. I went out back and did laundry. I asked Naftalie "do you know what a laundrymat is" she said "Yes." I love the way this kid says yes. She draws out the s in an adorable way. When I asked if they have them in Haiti she laughed at me. A big laugh.

I threw the bucket down into the cistern and pulled up a bucket of water and sat in the shade and scrubbed my dirty clothes. Really dirty. It's enjoyable. It takes awhile. I hung the clothes up on the line and then the storm came. A huge thunderstorm. The lightening danced across the sky in a brilliant stripe shaped like the roots of trees. Loud thunderclaps shock the ears and guts. I thought of all the kids I have seen so far and their pathetic shelters. I thought of them trying to stay dry under there unsuccessfully. I cringed and growled to myself over my lack of domes and my inability to provide the meager help I had hoped to give. I could have already made a difference a significant one in their lives. I have to wait. Waiting has never been my strong suit. Never. It has to become it or else I will just go insane. I mean bad insane not the good kind.

I sat with the folks on the back porch, yakking about the state of Haiti and various solutions they are implementing or thinking of implementing. I watched the rain in the trees and on the vinyl roof of the 60 ft dome warehouse. I watched the gutter coming off the roof spew an impressive stream of water. I got the 50 ft stare. I wasnt listening to the people around me. I got up and took off my vest and got under the gutter and had a shower in my bikini. The pressure was fantastic.

A word about the customs man. He came today and said it;s almost out. He made it sound like he was going to go get the stuff today and then disappeared. Its Friday. I would be a million goude that it wont be here until at least monday and if it is here on monday, I will be the luckiest person in history.

Thanks to all the people at Grassroots United for supporting this project by welcoming me into their compound and family. I love this place.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

many hands make light work

this little girl was out back, playing by herself, making a small shelter out of sticks and an old umbrella cover. She was the tipping factor to make me chose her orphanage as a dome site.

these are the current latrines at the site we visited yesterday.
too bad the photo isnt scratch and sniff

I believe this is their cistern

The back area of the orphanage we went to visit yesterday

the kids loved Emily's sunglasses..........

being with the kids i meet at the orphanages is when i most keenly feel the sting of my lack of creole. we cannot communicate verbally for the most part, other than them saying "what is your name?" over and over and me saying "se bon" or "mwen pa pale creole" its a wee bit maddening. but there are plenty of non verbal means of communication available to us, so we manage to connect despite the language barrier.

the kids took turns wearing my bike helmet
yea, i know what you are thinking and i dont care

Domes are still stuck in the other country known as "Customs'
It's incredibly frustrating to have worked for 6 months on a project with alot of forward momentum only to be stalled on the ground in country. However, I am redefining the meaning of forward momentum by utilizing my time in ways that are both edifying and productive. Just being here is an education. Learning to drive a motorcycle in Haitian traffic is like boot camp for the insane. I have been visiting orphanages and doing assessment interviews. I have located 6 solid sites for the domes and had my eyes opened to a myriad of deceit. With the opening of my eyes comes the understanding of what is behind these deceits. It's a system flooded with orphans at the same time a devastatingly poor in monetary terms country. So with the observations comes a grain of compassion, however infinitesimal, however horrible the abuse, it's a result at least in a small part due to the environment.
The environment does not excuse the behavior in any way shape or form, but it does frame it accordingly.
The place I mentioned in an earlier post will be having a visit tomorrow from a team who will bust them and get the kids out of whatever shitty situation their parentless state has put them in. Grown up people preying on children as an economic means is absolutely unacceptable.

I'm sitting on the back porch of Grub, five mosquito coils burning quietly silently while the crickets sing along with my friend Richmond's guitar playing. He shaved his enormous beard and cut his shaggy hair off about an hour ago. He looks like a entirely new person with a chin.. We decided his name is now Jack. I dont know why.

For some reason, at 11pm at night, a semi truck is suddenly backing into the compound. Voices in the dark are shouting in creole directions to the driver. Another shipment of medical goods perhaps for the new warehouse that is a 60 ft geodesic dome.
In a word, it's awesome. I love Buckminster Fuller. The night before we put the skin on the dome, I laid out on the concrete slab and looked up through the patterns of interlocking triangles and marveled at the intricate geometry of the thing. Pure genius. Pentagon in the center surrounded by hexagons forming ever widening pentagons made of triangles. The full moon crawled its way across it's map as I listened on my ipod to the voices of friends singing in another time and another place. I got up and danced and danced and danced. Kind of like the other night when I had so much energy I did laps around and around and around in the cool of the night until I was sweating through my clothes. Only then could I go to sleep.

This is me, waiting for my domes. In a community, a closed compound with some of the most amazing people I've met in my life. We venture out fairly freely during the day, but there is a curfew of 10 pm. It's not so dangerous out there though. Just people.

Today I went out to amerijet and customs and got very little accomplished and then came back to the compound and stuffed aggregate sand into plastic liter bottles to be used for building shelters with. I then made some hummus. Tahini is delicious. Is this interesting reading? I dont really mind if you think it's not pertinent to my project.

Later I took Emma on the back of the motor bike and we headed out to a "close by" orphanage that she has been working with for a couple months. Turned out to be rush hour. Oops. Some things are the same no matter where the fuck you are. The thing that is not the same is that you have never seen rush hour traffic like you see in Ayiti. It's insane. My friend almost got hit with a dresser one day. A dresser in traffic. You couldn't make up the shit you see on the streets. In NYC, riding a bicycle in traffic is one kind of crazy. Here, riding a motorbike in traffic is taking it up 500 knotches and adding an 360 degree radius of potential projectiles. I am learning to weave in and out of all manner of pedestrians rolling tires, wheelbarrows, giant carts, motorbikes with three people and huge chunks of ice on the back, a kind of air conditioning I reckon, mack trucks, water tanks, houses being transported, this writing is not doing it justice at all, the speed with which things appear is insane. I have learned that the best place for a motorbike is in the middle between oncoming vehicles. But then something might come up in that path that makes it nessecary to cut over to the side for a minute. Honking the horn does actually work wonders. Today a person nearly backed out on me and I beeped and it was interesting because when I beeped a whole slew of random people on the street yelled instantaneously at the driver to stop. Haitians are reckless. They will jump on the back of a moving semi truck and cling to it like lizards, bouncing along the insanely bumpy roads.

We went to an orphanage. We met some kids. They were awesome and totally affectionate

I have to go help unload the truck now. Be right back.


those plus marks indicate time passing and alot of boxes being handed hand to hand
to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand to hand an entire semi truck worth of miscellaneous goods ..... 15 people, some already in bed, got up and got busy. its done, the truck is gone, the dome is fuller. buckminster that is

Monday, July 26, 2010


I'm taking in some IV saline solution right now because I got really sick from dehydration this morning. It was weird because I started out the day feeling fine, we even had a mini dance party in one of the domes at around 7:15am to start the day right. Afterwards, I took a quick bucket shower and then suddenly my ears went all muffled and i felt really ill.

I called up my friend Mike from MMRC and they were here in 10 minutes. Heather, my home girl from Brooklyn, got me hooked up to an IV really quickly and efficiently. I love her. So I've been sitting here getting dripped.

So much has happened since I wrote in here, the other day.

Julian, my new translator and guide, is fucking awesome. He grew up in Haiti until he was 15 and then moved to NYC to live with his Mom. He and I have been cruising around on the motorcycle, me driving (!) to do orphanage assessments. We visited 4 in one day on saturday. Extremely productive. I found 2 sites for domes, one amazing shelter for girl victims of abuse called Kay Fanm, and one shady operation that we are going to try to shut down.

I'll start with the suspicious place. We were in this neighborhood and some people were telling us there is an orphanage nearby to there so we went, unannounced to check it out. The young man and woman who answered the gate were extremely unwelcoming, at first only peering out a small opening in the gate, a peephole that closed and opened..
We finally got them to open the gate and they stepped out. I got the intuitive feeling immediately that they were uncomfortable, kind of like when you catch someone with their hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. We explained that we were humanitarian workers and we were there to see if there way anything we could help them with. We asked if we could come in and look around and they said no. I asked if they needed anything and the kid said he didnt know. I kind of laughed and said, surely you know if you have food, water and shelter? He said we had to ask his boss. We called him up and Julian spoke with him and he granted us entry. Julian told me later that the dude said to him something to the affect of, "if you get us some stuff, we'll make it worth your while"
When we entered, the kids looked really scared. There was a yard with one tent and a pretty large two story house. The first floor of the house looked like a storage shed with boxes piled up pretty high. When we asked what was in the boxes, he said it was stuff that had been donated to them by the french people. Apparently, it wasn't an orphanage but rather an adoption agency for French people. He claimed that the boxes of stuff was being given out on the streets to people who need it, but I dont believe that. I think they are selling it for a profit. The kids are certainly not benefiting from it, they looked ill cared for, dirty, hungry and not clothed well. I asked the guy, through Julian, my translator, "is this a non profit or for profit venture" and he said non profit, of course.

Being in Haiti is all about networking. On the grassroots level, that is what we do. We share resources and information freely to better help those in need. For example, right now, by buddie from MMRC, the ones who just gave me an IV, just went and got a truck load of palettes for our new warehouse full of medical supplies and then they took Julian and went to visit one of the orphanages we visited on Saturday to give the kids some medical attention. The Woman who runs that orphanage said some of her kids were sick with fever and chills. So we do what we can with the human resources available.

So, Tara, who works for Heartwood Alliance, can maybe do something to stop whatever weird abuse or possible for profit adoption business is going on there. I gave her the address and name of the dude who is living in the second floor of the building in probably luxury while these kids live below him in a storage room.

Now for the Positive. Enter Yolette Jeanty from Kay Fanm.

She welcomed us into her compound with open arms. When we entered through her gate we found a beautiful yard with music playing, girls with wheelbarrows moving rubble, gardening, a full on construction site, trees, alot of activity, girls sewing and washing clothes and cleaning the premises. The vibe was happy and productive.

Yolette showed Julian and I around and spoke at great length about her hopes and plans for the shelters she is building for the girls. They had been renting a shelter in PaP for the girls but it fell down in the quake. So she took the girls, 15 of them and brought them to her home, pitched a giant tent for them and then she got a grant from Unifem to build with. She doesnt need shelters, but she could use other stuff like furniture, beds, water tank and filter system. She has two treadle sewing machines for the kids to use to learn how to sew garments as a mini cottage industry.

Additionally, I told Yolette about another org staying at Grassroots United called Kleiworks. They have a mission to empower women to learn construction skills in permaculture building. Yolette was very excited by this concept and so I put her in touch with Kevin right away. I can also help her help the girls learn to support themselves by donating the fabric and notions I brought with me if I ever get my freaking shit out of customs. I would like to buy them an electric sewing machine.

Also, they could use a composting toilet as it is there is alot of people using one toilet there. She was interested and open to the concept. I am in touch with Amy from Soil so will see if they can go throw one up over there in her lovely compound full of budding flowers.

I was extremely touched and moved by my visit with Yolette at Kay Fanm.
People like her are rebuilding Haiti, one person at a time. The only real way to get things done is to start small and grow.

We got on the bike and drove away. Driving this motorcycle is at the same time exhilarating and terrifying. A perfect Challenge for me. I'm glad Julian trusts me, but then again, he is used to this chaos

Women can do whatever we set our minds to. We are just as strong as men, proportionately.

I noticed many many girls staring at me on the bike. Julian said its because women dont normally drive motorbikes.. HA! they were adorable and I hammed it up a little bit to cover up the fact that I am really not such an expert. Especially when it comes to U turns. I did wipe out, I am not going to lie, but only once! In a mud puddle! we did not get hurt. I was embarrassed though, but that doesnt hurt that much.

On a side note, Kara Blossom left today to head back to NYC. Her time here was too short!! Everyone loves her and she has promised to come back in 20 days..... Thanks Blossom! You are truly Awesome.

The next place we visited was called Foyer Des Orphalins D'Haiti and they have 35 kids living in very squallid conditions.

There is a bombed out looking cinder block building and a large open air type of tent. Kids were abundant and they looked well cared for but hungry. Desamours Eyanette is a lawyer who lost her job in the quake and owns the property where the kids are staying. This is our next dome site.

They desperately need shelter, food and the kids are sick with fever and chills. I just sent a EMT team there to give them some medical attention. I will bring them a dome and build it there as soon as I get my freaking shipment. (today??? who knows, I am waiting, pretending to be patient, beginning to wonder if I will make it back to NYC before August is over. I do want to have my birthday party in Haiti, though. Ef Burningman. my bday is the 31st )

Julian and Desamour

We visited one more place, to get to we drove through Cite de Solel.
I will have to blog about that one later, I am hydrated and although I feel a wee nauseous, we are going out to see another orphanage or two today.

Keep your fingers crossed that my shipment comes in today!

Friday, July 23, 2010

haiti cell

if anyone reading this is in haiti and would like to contact me, i have a cellphone now, the number is 509 31 10 75 29. please contact me if you have any of the following:
1. A connection to an orphanage or home for kids at risk that needs shelter, food or medicine.
2. A desire to volunteer your time to help prep sites for domes, ie clear rubble
3. If you would like to build a compost outhouse for an orphanage so they can move onto land

My customs broker came today to update me on the situation with my shipment. Apparently I need two more signatures and then they can approve the release of the shipment. It may seem to some of you reading this that having my stuff held up for a week in customs is a long time, but in the larger scheme of things, it's nada nunca.
Other huge NGO's have had their shit held up for months. I will be lucky if it gets delivered on monday.

I hired a dude today named Julian who was referred to me by some medics from MMRC, one of them is a power house of a woman named Heather. she is from Brooklyn! Julian is a Haitian guy who speaks excellent english and is willing to drive a motorcycle. In fact, he lived in Brooklyn on flatbush for awhile. I will be paying him cash 35 bucks a day. We start tomorro morning. I have a list of orphanages we will start calling in the morning on my new cell

I realized today that I am just now getting my Haiti legs, so to speak. The culture and environment here is so foreign it took me a week to fully grasp it, well, grasp it enough to know how to proceed, realistically in this environment. I have learned not to travel via car, truck tap tap if I want to get anything done besides getting stuck in traffic. That alone can save me days.

I drove around today by myself on a motor cycle. I got a wicked sunburn on my arms.
I weaved in and out of traffic, avoided humoungus potholes, mudslicks, kids trying to hop on the back at intersections, UN vehicles hogging the road, aggressive vendors and beggers....

I just want to say a word here about time. Time is a concept that is relative.
When I first got inspired to do this (very small) project, I naively thought it would take three months. Three months from start to finish, that is. From concept to realization.
It took me 6 months so far. The first phase was slow because that is how long it took me to raise the money. In the US, the determining factor was mainly money. I managed to get a substantial amount of the funding in the form of in kind donations, but to complete it, I really needed cash money. Thanks to my community back in Brooklyn, I was able to realize the funding goal and get my ass to Haiti along with ten domes, tools, soccer balls, peanut butter, soap, fabric, notions and leather. Actually, the goods are not officially in Haiti yet because among aid workers, "customs" is not Haiti. Its a country in and of itself.

Now, the second phase of the project, in Haiti, I allotted myself, 3 weeks HA HA!
If I use the model of the US as a time estimate, I can double the projected time and get the realistic time. In Haiti, do you think it's going to take double the time? Well, I think I can easily add triple time. Getting shit done in Haiti takes at least triple the time it does in the US. I think that is a conservative estimate.

I'm just saying.

Today I met Patricia Arquette. I've been hanging out with her brother Richmond for a week. They are with the Give Love foundation and they are building container houses. They were building it at Cite Sole but they moved it to the Grassroots base. It is almost finished, it's a two container house connected in the middle with a roof. It's really nice. Today I learned that she plans on building these container houses for an orphanage. But guess what? It's going to take a few months to build them and in the meantime, the kids need a place to live. Hmmmm.. .. tomorrow they are hoping to go visit the orphanage in its present location. If they do, they invited me to come along.

It's difficult to see through the labyrinth of smoke screens thrown up by any given potential recipient orphanages. There are so many ways to be deceived. I have had my Haiti cherry popped already.

peace and love from Haiti

Thursday, July 22, 2010


sand bags full of sand waiting for domes to anchor...............

I've never been a terribly patient person. In Haiti, impatience is not a productive use of time. It would probably follow that the same would apply anywhere in the world, but I am not sure of that. I am picturing someone with big hair in the US getting all red in the face because her latte wasn't served up quickly enough. Maybe her red complexion and shrill voice would make the worker deliver her latte quicker, perhaps it would have the opposite effect. It would just depend on the psychology of the cafe worker, if they were more inclined to exert their power to make the impatient one suffer more or if they were more inclined to just get the impatient one to go away thus serving them more quickly.

In Haiti, impatience only hurts the impatient. So what's the point? Just put your attention elsewhere and get done what can be done and hope that by the time you get all the other stuff done, the thing you were waiting for would have happened by then.

The domes are still in Customs. It's what is. There is nothing that can be done that hasn't already been done to make it happen quicker. Getting red in the face metaphorically has no results other than bursting blood vessels. I have been told that the earliest they will arrive is today and the latest is by monday. All of the paperwork is in the hands it's supposed to be in, I just need one signature from one dude and then the other dude can pick the stuff up from customs and bring it on over to the base.

In the meantime, I am spending my time going on excursions to orphanages to asses whether or not they are in need of shelter and if there is room for it. Locating orphanages is no mean feat. It can take hours just to find the orphanage, especially if one is traveling by car or tap tap. Tap tap is a sort of public transportation device that is basically a pick up truck painted all fancy on the outside with an extra plastic truck bed insert attached to it upside down on the top to create a roof. People jam inside like sardines. You catch a ride with one, if you are lucky enough to find one with any room at all, by standing on the side of the road and pointing at the ground in front of you.
People bounce along the crappy streets on wooden benches in the back of the truck that really hurt your ass.

Yesterday, Emma, who is the Grassroots Unitied's Orphanage Project Manager, Naftalie, who is the young girl who lives behind GRUB and serves beer and drinks through the magical "hole in the wall" and is a translator at 15 years old, all three of us set out on foot from GRUB to go visit, unannounced, an orphanage we thought was close by. It was raining and I luckily found an umbrella to use because wearing a rain coat is sweltering.
Naftalie happily wore my raincoat which has bikes printed all over it in bright orange. (Thanks Ray for letting me use your screen)

We started walking and soon had a posse of motorcycle guys haggling over who would give us a ride and how much it would cost. It was rather unpleasant and I didnt like the tone of voice they were using with Naftalie. So I encouraged us all to walk away. Just walk away, so we did. We ended up getting into a car, a sort of gypsy cab and the dude started driving. Emma and I looked at each other and she said, "this is the bit when we go missing" and we both laughed. The driver drove us really really far. We got lost, we were on crazy dirt roads that you might think require a 4 wheel drive vehicle to surmount but somehow this dudes crappy 4 door sedan made it. I started to feel dubious about our visit when I noticed the neighborhood improving, the amount of green stenciled letters on buildings was increasing and the size of the houses was actually rather huge. We finally found the orfalena and rang the bell or knocked as it were on the gate.

We proceeded to have a very awkward exchange with a somewhat puzzled looking young man. He showed us around the place, which was immaculate and HUGE and nicer than any house I've ever lived in. The kids seemed really happy and well adjusted. There were bedrooms and verandas and a comfy couch and a television set. There was a brand new soccer ball. They clearly did not need anything. So we asked the guy if they were open to having more kids sent there. He said yes. We thanked him, took a few photos and split.

The car guy had left when he realized we didnt have enough money to pay him for the return trip. So we started walking. It was a very long walk. We passed a goat on the street who was giving birth and a bunch of other goats who were just milling about.
We passed many street vendors and heard many voices calling to us the standard "Hey You" and "Blanc" We got to the main road and tried to get on a tap tap but every single one that passed us was packed to the gills. So we walked some more. Bought a few sodas and walked some more. It was not raining anymore. It was fine. There were alot of paintings on display along this one particular part. One of the paintings was of a woman with an enormous behind. It seems to be a repeating motif.
Emma and part of Naftalie
We finally got on a tap tap, Naftalie and Emma got in the front of the pick up with the driver and I jumped in the crowded back. NYC subways have nothing on this public transportation. One woman kept saying something to me in creole that sounded like "cabella, cabella cabella" I think it meant "just stop" but all i did was repeat her and cause everyone in the tap tap to laugh and ogle me. It was awesome.

requisite upward facing shot, note out of focus toes

I dont really see other white people riding tap taps. I did see some pass by riding in the passenger seats of air conditioned SUV's.

Today we were quarantined to the base because of some sort of massive protest in port au prince and a country wide worker's strike. We were told it was too dangerous to go out. However, a couple of us did leave to go out and get some food. More orphanage visits were ruled out for the day. Brenda came back and we collaborated on a Memorandum of Understanding to use as a sort of contract with the orphanages stating the terms of conditions being solely for use as shelters for orphans and expressly not for profit or gain. There are other stipulations included covering all issues that may arise including whether a landowner might try to possess the domes and kick the people out of them, etc etc.

A solid partnership is forming between Grassroots United and Domes for Haiti. I am very excited by the potential for future projects between our two organizations.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Today we visited and orphanage named D'Orea.
They dont need shelter urgently. The kids were adorable.

Our shipment is still in Customs We were able to get connected to the best customs broker in the country and we will be receiving the shipment tomorrow morning at Grassroots United base. It cost us about $760 in fees.

Kara has been working really hard doing physical labor while I am visiting orphanages and customs officials and generally getting my mind blown in every way possible seeing poverty at a level I have never seen in my entire life

Compost lesson at GRUB

Earthship construction at GRUB
Ladies layin concrete for the container house
This is the container building that Give Love Foundation is building at GRUB (grassroots united base)
this is the 60 foot geodesic dome at Grassroots United base which is going to be a warehouse for medical supplies and food distribution.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that our shipment arrives in the morning!
We need to get to work!!