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7. Concrete to Abstract, back to Concrete again….
We all knew what Saturday morning meant. Larry had laid it out for us: We would start early, the supplies were here, and we were going to help pour a concrete roof. I remembered the roof. I knew what it had done to me on day one. At this point however, I would have rather done anything other than pick out rocks from the ground. We were outside by 6am. There was hammering and loud talking, and machines humming well before 5:30am. I stumbled out to the porch only to see an army of day laborers slinging mixed concrete up the roof at unimaginable speeds. I rubbed my eyes, looked left, and there was gung ho, legs propped up on the rails, watching real men work. Apparently, they were so good at what they did, that we would have got in the way. I’m not sure if this was what Larry had expected, and he had just been messing with us all along, but whatever the case, I think everyone was relieved.
There was no conveyor belt, or giant concrete truck; just a small mixer dumping concrete onto the ground, 12 guys on a cobbled together ladder than had just been extended an hour before to reach up to the roof, and a small contingency adding water, concrete, and sand into the mixer, filling up buckets and slinging it up the ladder. It was almost like watching Cirque De Soleil or even Riverdance; dancers in perfect rhythm and step as they floated concrete into the air and onto the roof. We watched like little boys staring at a car engine while our father showed us the intricacies of such a great machine. Continue reading
5. Can you Dig it?
Being in Haiti is not like being in another country; its like being on another planet.
The next few days blended together with familiarity. Michelle would take us on errands, and a few of the guys would get to see Jacmel a bit at a time. Larry ran the construction chess match, and we were disposable pawns. He was matched up against a mastermind opponent: the schedule. In America, you break your pick axe, you wander down to the local hardware store (or three within a tenth of a mile) and you choose from a wide variety of pick axes. You can get your standard, or one with a built in level and mp3 player. In Haiti, you break it- its gone. Larry was protective of his tools for good reason. But the schedule was the real killer. Concrete blocks showed up when they were ready, and concrete bags were even worse. To quote “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?” ,Haiti is a geographical oddity- two weeks from everywhere. The best thing I can compare it to in America: A cable company. You never know when it i’ll show up, but you’ll be appreciative… otherwise… no ESPN for you.
All of this didn’t sneak up on Larry. He was wise to the ways of Haiti, and also keeping volunteers busy. In the middle of the courtyard was a playground with swings, and a merry go round, and eight holes in the ground. The group before us, and maybe the group before that, had dug holes for the footings to complete the Hands & Feet play palace. “Why don’t you guys finish out those holes and we’ll pour the footings with concrete and have the play set up.” Sounds easy enough right? “And, it will give you something to do while we wait for the supplies.” Continue reading
3. Work Gloves, Concrete Block, and Fire Hydrants
We rode down a long driveway with exotic trees, and piled stone leading us up to a security wall with a large steel gate. It felt like entering another world we had yet to see in Haiti. It was gorgeous. The mountain we had climbed was staring back at us smiling, and beneath it, and giant courtyard, with large white concrete buildings making up the Hands and Feet Compound. We tumbled out of the van only to be greeted by a mass of cheering children hugging us and checking our pockets for candy. They had done this before. Continue reading
Just got back from Jacmel, Haiti working with the Hands & Feet Orphanage. I have started writing the story and thought I’d let you in on it. It will be long, but I hope you enjoy it, and maybe a laugh or two on my account.
1. It Begins.
Flew to Miami with six other men. None of them from my church, and I only really knew one of them well. Chris had invited us all to go on this trip. I originally told him no. I felt like I had too much going on at my church. He didn’t flinch, “Hey man, you are always going to be too busy. You should go with me on this trip.”
I had kind of found myself in this place where I felt like the universe was being set in motion, its every rotation, dependent on my existence. I was Desmond, and if the button didn’t get pushed….
We all are “too busy” It’s all relative to what we think is “busy”. The fact is, we are all replaceable, and only make time for the things we truly care about. Continue reading
Following up with the GIC post below, and our ongoing discussion with our future location, I felt it important to put a link on our blog for folks to listen to this sermon. As always, you can go to our website and listen to any past sermons.
The link is below. Thanks.
“Before & After”