Thursday, October 14, 2010

Culture Shock

I've been back in the states for 2 1/2 weeks now and the culture shock is starting to wear off a little bit. I still crumple paper money up in a wad like the Haitians do and when I ride my bike in the streets I tend to weave in and out of traffic a little bit more than I used to. I am also so much more appreciative of the modern conveniences that we so easily take for granted here. Things like refrigerators, sinks, showers, toaster ovens, laundromats, water faucets and regular garbage collection seem almost miraculous to me now. Another thing that is freaking me out is that one can eat better out of the Trader Joe's dumpster on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn than most Haitian people can eat on a daily basis. I myself have been known to dumpster dive with wildly bountiful results.

My community here in Brooklyn are as active as ever. Three different groups are putting together various sized art and performance projects. After an initial burst of visiting all my friends, I've been a bit of a shut in inside my studio, working on some large drawings and stencils of kids from Haiti. I will be putting together a show of my new work sometime in the next couple months.

I got word the other day that they built my tenth dome in Jacmel! It went up without problem, they built up the ground first with rubble and dug a good drainage ditch around it and anchored it in with the rebar stakes and cement. It's solid and kids are sleeping in it.
They sent me these photos.... The kids look kind of bored except the one on the right, he is totally psyched! These are boys from Pastor Joseph's orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. His kids have been sleeping, eating, having classes and everything else in a tiny room. Now they can sleep in the dome!

Thanks to Adam and Kara from Living for A Cause and Dave from Calvary Chapel for project managing the tenth dome build for me! Meeting them the last week I was in Haiti was inspiring, they are totally sweet people doing really good work in Haiti. They are missionaries. I am not a missionary, but I dont see any conflict of interests in collaborating with people who share the same focus of working with Haitians to improve their situations.
I know that Dave from Calvary Chapel just scored an entire wood shop's worth of tools that some organization donated to his mission in Jacmel. They are building a wood shop!

I am in the preliminary stages of planning my next small project in Haiti. As I mentioned previously, I plan on commissioning some Haitian builders to construct 50 bunk beds out of bamboo for the orphanages I built domes at. Many of these places had no beds besides dirty old mattresses that the kids shared and were simply laid out on the ground for them to sleep on. I will be headed back to Haiti soon to visit the orphanages and check the domes.
It will be a quick trip to assess the domes and make arrangements to start the bunk bed build in motion. Rest assured that if you feel inspired to donate any amount of cash, it will be utilized towards this goal. I am hoping that I can get the price down to 30$ US for each bed. I am negotiating the price now with a potential partner in Jacmel.

Keep an eye out for an announcement on here for a slide presentation/ potluck which is coming soon to Brooklyn where I will show some of the highlights of my trip and outline future plans. It will be probably the first week in November at my friend Will's loft in Dumbo.

Try telling these three about your problems. Watch your problems dissolve in comparison.
I met these kids at the orphanage we surprised one day with no prior warning. We found them because the walls in their neighborhood were painted with arrows and the word "orphelinat" and we just followed the arrows. You can read that story here

Thanks for reading!!

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