Our work at Clean Water for Haiti has been getting easier for the last little while. The first way has been security-wise. Our security situation has been pretty tense since we received an arson attack in 2009 which is why we hired PAP Security. Things remained tense for a long time but since our return in August things have been noticeably calmer in the community with a lot less animosity towards ourselves and our workers. I actually reduced our night guard from two agents down to one to save money since two no longer seem needed.
I like having a security company rather than private guards for several reasons, but one of them is that if I catch a guard sleeping, I can simply call his supervisor and the guard gets changed out within a few days. However, it can still cause some bad feelings when a guard is caught sleeping, so I’ve taken the example of a friend of mine who’s directing JP/HRO: he carried takes his phone out and snaps a picture when he finds a sleeping guard and mails it directly to the supervisor! This may sound hard to believe, but after waking a guard the first thing he will say, without exception, is “I wasn’t sleeping!” It is much easier to just take a picture – it cuts that whole conversation off before it ever gets started.
The security agent’s job must be one of the hardest ones I think. It must be difficult to wait and watch and wait and watch for something to happen for days, months, years. I see how it must be tempting to close your eyes, especially come 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. We keep a stock of energy drinks in the fridge for the night guard now.
When Bryan and Kelly Fox were watching over CWH from June-August while we were in Canada having a baby, Bryan started reading a chapter of Proverbs out loud to the workers every morning before work. They all love it, and asked if I would continue the practice. I didn’t know that I could read Creole, but apparently I can and some of the workers follow along in their own bibles. I find it remarkable how many of the workers have memorized long passages of scripture. They will quote the scripture right out of their heads as I read it aloud. Unlike English, Creole has only one translation of the Bible and that makes it much simpler for everybody. After Proverbs we moved on to Matthew and we will be through the whole new testament after a year. I think reading the Bible is a good way to start the work day – not just for the workers but for me and my family as well.
We have had some issues to deal with. For me personally, I’m really concerned about our dog, Annie. She has a taste for chicken – live chicken. She’s extremely fast, and when she gets hold of one she crunches down hard and it dies. Some of the neighbors are understandably starting to get annoyed, but they have been so good about it. They accept that I’m doing my best to train the dog, but I’m worried my best might not be good enough. She really is fast – two days ago she killed a cat and those things are much faster than chickens. I hope we don’t have to give her away – she’s a sweet dog when she’s not killing chickens. Or jumping up on people with muddy paws. Or frightening passers-by. Or turning over her food dish and spreading food all over the place. Or knocking Olivia down when she comes home from school. Why do we have a dog again? Oh yeah, security. She is a deterrent, but I wish my deterrent was better behaved.
Deliveries have been slow the past few months and it’s kind of driving me nuts. This rainy season has been particularly long and muddy. Most of the time we have to send the 4X4, and twice when I thought it was safe to send the 2WD the workers spent several hours trying to get out of the mud and returned with half a truck full of undelivered filters. In addition, we’ve been taking a lot of filter orders up into the mountains, and the road is so steep and rough that we only load 25 filters instead of 34. Only the 4X4 will make it up, and last week the 4 wheel drive and low range weren’t working properly. Can you imagine why? Because the dog went under the truck and started ripping out wires with her teeth, including the wires leading to the 4wd and low range solenoids. Why do we have a dog again? Because my job is so easy and I need something to keep me on my toes? I don’t have enough grey hairs yet? Gotta love that dog. We have that problem fixed now and the truck is up in the mountains today, actually.
We have a new project going where we are distributing ceramic filters of the “Potters for Peace” design. They are neat little filters because they can be produced artisanally but we are having trouble finding people to take them. However, up in the mountains most people live too far from a road to transport a heavy biosand filter there so it offers an option for those people. -Chris