Saturday, August 28, 2010

dom dulse dom

Where did I leave off? Two Days ago?

So... yea, we got lost, found a different orphanage, built a dome there instead spontaneously and called it a day, lending Henri some of our tools so he could work on stuff before we got back in the morning. I had decided to come back the next morning to do more work there dealing with their significant water drainage pwoblems. (that's not a typo)

In the morning, I sent an email to the orphanage co-ordinator for GRU, Emma, who has been on "holiday" for the last two weeks (shes an Aussie, they call it that). Emma and I had been collaborating on the orphanage assessments and so I had shared my notes with her. So she had the dude from the Upper Room's contact info! The one that I had been searching for when we got hopelessly lost and hopefully found the other joint instead....So I planned on visiting the Upper Room in the Later Afternoon.

The "Dream Dome Teen Team" all showed up around 9:30 and we waited for what seemed an eternity for Gingin, the tap tap driver driver to come come. It was very redundant and he finally showed up claiming "blockage" slowed him down with his sweet smile. I am falling for this guy, he is old like me. (come on, not really, he is married!)

Before we headed back out to Bon Repose to Henri's orphanage I decided to stop at the grocery store on the way and buy some food for the kids. They had no food. I spent like 100 bucks american and it still was not enough at all. I bought a couple huge watermelons off the street too. When we arrived we found that the heavy rains the night before had flooded under the dome because we hadn't dug a trench aka canal in Kreyol.
So they hadn't slept in there. Also, the zipper door wouldn't close. Luckily, I figured out why. When we put the dome together sans the missing strut, it really was an illusion that it was just fine without it. The geometries of geodesics are intrinsically linked! Of course if one strut is missing, it's going to throw off the rest of the gestalt. So it had been stretched out in that part so the skin was too taut to close easily.

Nellie, 'Talli and I set about to fixing that situation while the guys set to work digging a nice trench around the dome for water to be diverted away from under it.

Marco in his Superman Pose

At the same time, the orphanage dude, Henri, had a whole posse of child labor industriously clearing rubble off the foundation where his house had stood pre "event" and filling in under their other tent shelter structure where it had been flooding every night.

(a rat just ran by me, just fyi and there is a rooster walking in front of me with a baby chick. I am sitting under a mango tree listening to Ray LaMontagne as I type this. It's about 4 in the afternoon and the sweat of the day is dried on my hot skin which is turned yet another shade darker today. There is a nice breeze. All is well in the world. Mwe kontan)

I spent some time digging trenches yesterday. I also chilled in the shade with the petit timoun too. Just quietly sitting with them all staring intently into my face, looking for signs of intelligence I suppose. I wonder if they found any. I know I saw brilliance reflecting out of their sweet eyes. They pet my skin like I am a cat. They pull my braids tenderly, fixing the ends of them by braiding the shit out of them to the very tippy tips. I have to admit I love being groomed by orphans. Is that not PC? I dont give a damn ha ha. I am aware that they might have some sort of bugs or other living on them, not by their own fault, but how can I refuse their sweet affection? I dont give a shit if I get lice or ticks or scabies or whatever. I really dont.

I fell in love with two kids in particular at this orphanage. One of them is called "Pastor Wilson" That's his name!! He is Tiny! They call him "Pastor" I think, because he says poetic things is what I am guessing. The name just tickled me to the gills. How can I forget this kid?
Pastor Wilson


The other one is called Jessica and she is just a skinny little girl with dimples on both sides of her mouth. She loves dancing and her and I had a good dance session in the afternoon.

We worked really very hard digging trenches and moving earth and rubble around that day. The kids ate oats and watermelon and some of them worked just as hard as we did!

We finished up, Henri asked if he could borrow some tools again and I said sure and we called up the dude from the Upper Room and he came and met us at the huge yellow church.
He got in the front of the truck with Gingin and navigated us to his place. It was SO CLOSE! We could have spit up into a good wind and it would have hit the goat outside his door square between the eye balls. We all had a good laugh over how close it was while we had been driving circles around looking for it the other day.

We stopped in, scoped it out and told him we'd be back the next day to build them a dome.
When we got back to the base, I was totally wiped out but with a good feeling of satisfaction.

We got an early start this morning, left the base with our truck all loaded up by 9am, headed back to Bon Repose to the Upper Room Orphanage to build them a dome.

This is becoming routine. We are getting used to this daily ritual. I go to work each day with a group of teens and a nice guy driving us all in a pick up truck full of gear and dome parts. It's not your typical 9 to 5. My day starts usually at about 6am, but the funny thing is, I dont need an alarm clock. I dont even look at the time in the morning. I just get up and fill up a bucket with cold water, walk over to the shower booth and then pretty much just dump the thing over my head. Then I go in my tent and get dressed. After that I go to the kitchen and make tea and I've been making chia seed pudding every morning. Yum. Beats spaghetti by a stones throw.

The thing about chia seed pudding is; one, you dont have to cook it, just add water and let it sit for five minutes, voila! Also, it gives you tons of energy and also, well, it makes you shit.
Speaking of shitting, I want to tell about the outhouse here at GRUB. It's a composting toilet located next to the earth shit I mean ship. It's basically a 55 gallon drum with a toilet seat on top. It's quite a throne and when your done with your bidness, you throw sugar cane bagass in on top of it. When the drum is full, it is emptied on a special compost pile where it is again covered with another layer of bagass. It will sit and compost for 6 months at which time it is ready to be used as fertilizer on fruit trees.

It's funny to go to the shitter at night when it's dark out. Someone installed a motion detector light on the palm tree next to it. So when you approach it, the light goes on so you can see the throne. You then are illuminated by the light while you sit on the toilet. It's like a broadway show in there! Also, there is a strategically located window that you can gaze out upon the yard through. Thing I always wonder is, how much of me can someone looking in see? Is it like I am Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street and you only see me from the chest up? I sure hope so!

We went to the orphanage, the Upper Room. We built a dome.

this dude's hat is the shit

While we were at the Upper Room building a dome, the director stopped by to meet me.

A nice guy named Jean Raymond.
He is a pastor too, just like Pastor Wilson.
He spoke with me in English, which was a relief, honestly.
I've been learning alot of Kreyol, but sometimes its just a relief to not have to struggle

Remember a few weeks ago when I met the man with the typewriter under the tree?
I swear to god I met his predecessor today! Out of all the kids, this kid was the only one with a crisp, button down shirt on like someone would wear in the office, or under the tree with a typewriter:

This is Kerlyn, the Mom of the orphanage with the Pastor in their real office. She wants me to paint a mural on the wall when I come back. When I come back. Notice she didnt say "if"

This is the cook:

When we were done with the dome, the kids were all in their cool little dining hall eating, so I didn't get the requisite, "kids standing in front of the dome" photo. I got this one instead:

So here is Dome Number Four:

We left and drove the short distance to the Random orphanage that we dropped a surprize dome on the other day to pick up the borrowed tools and say hi to them.
Just a word about driving. Again. I keep skipping over this part and just saying that "we drove here we drove there' but the driving itself is ALWAYS an event, an adventure. The roads we've been going down are positively rivers and lakes and mud ponds. We have been using the truck like a boat at times. It's really exciting!
So, today, my thing was to open the door and jump out unexpectedly and start walking away. When the kids in the back look at me, I say "later" and "peace out" and act like I am leaving.
I dont know why I kept doing that, but it was entertaining to me. I was really just wanting to walk a little bit and usually you can walk pretty much as fast as the truck can carry all of everyone.

So, when we got close to the orphanage, I did the, "later" gaff and then told them, "allie, allie" which means "go" I was admiring the dome from a distance and I wanted to take a photo of it.

When we got over to the orphanage, Henri and his partner were Beaming at me. They couldn't wait to show me the work they had done using the tools I lent them. It was actually quite remarkable what they had accomplished! The whole back had been a pile of rubble formerly known as "house" What I saw today was a cleared out area that was elevated and flat with a nice stone floor.

He was so proud of it and I was totally touched. He asked if he could borrow the tools for another day. How could I say no??? Everyone needs tools, actually. When I am done with the dome builds, I am going to be giving tools away to some deserving people like Henri. Probably Henri himself. Haitians are funny, by the way, they are always mistakenly calling a he a she or vise versa. It's because there is only one pronoun here for male and female. It's "Li"

I am also looking forward to after I finish all the dome builds. I have other things I brought to give away to people. Like leather. I have a bunch of leather I got from Materials for the Arts. The last few days on the way driving, I noticed a shoe maker sitting in the same place everyday. He looked like a really cool, kind of earthy crafty guy. Maybe I will drop off some of the leather with him.

The flooded shelter was all built up with the rubble they had moved. No more flooding!
Then the real moment of fruition for me came. They showed me the inside of the dome.
It was Beautiful. They had put all the bunk beds in there and covered the floor with the scraps of vinyl I had given them and a bit of rug here and there, but it looked AWESOME. The one guys wife was in there and she came up to me and kissed me on the cheek.

I think today was the day I have been waiting for since February.


  1. Wow!!! I just got chills reading that and seeing that dome all done up for the kids!! So awesome Di!! What a birthday present for you!

  2. Eyes fill with tears, just like Dad's would be if...

    Truely a gift to and from at the same moment, as giving gives...