Saturday, February 6, 2010

Is it Saturday?

There are no days off after a disaster if you're working on the ground. The only way I would know its Saturday is the lag time in hearing back from folks via email or phone call that normally doesn't happen during the workweek. Today is a good day for me to catch up on messages that came to me while I spend most of the day out in Cabaret.

Cabaret sits about 20 miles north of Port-au-Prince and was originally built as a testament to the will of the Duvalier regime here in Haiti (some maps still show it as Duvalierville - not a good thing for them due to the issues around the last Duvalier in power here.) This community was still reeling from flooding after multiple storms in 2008 when the earthquake hit and damaged more than 9000 homes there. We had a chance to see some of the homes we built there and only some of them sustained damage. All but a few of those were repairable.


We met with the local CCPC (civil protection committee) and talked about how we could help there by providing structural engineers (and other engineers that had been properly trained) that could go through homes and tell families whether or not their home was safe to stay in and what kinds of repairs they would need. This would help address the many tents that we saw sitting outside of homes in perfect condition after earthquake. We would also later work on building about 400 transitional homes there.


On the way back from Cabaret we hit a massive traffic jam near the airport in the early evening. Despite the traffic we had a chance to joke around with some of the UN, US military, other NGOs, and doctors passing by us since there wasn't much we could do about the cars in front of us. Lesson learned: try to avoid bringing stuff into Port-au-Prince on Friday.

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