Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Leogane, again?

Why yes.

Planning my return trip to the Leogane project for early June.

Deets to follow.

I was thinking of taking a solo trip to Thailand- but I think I rather go back to Haiti instead.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Band of Horses- The Funeral

My favorite song of the week.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thinking Back, My First Day in Haiti

The flight to Haiti was pleasurable. The experience at the airport and the shuttle ride to Léogâne would need an entire post unto itself.

I wont go into how late it was that I got to base or how starved I was and that there was nothing but burnt rice and beans to eat. I also wont talk about how difficult it is to set up a bunk and mozzy net in the middle of the night without disturbing the other volunteers. I also won't talk about how extremely hot and disorienting I felt. But I will tell you my biggest fear about being on base was taking a shit.

I loathe port a potties and I knew what I was up against- flushing toilet via bucket. Eweeeee!!! I was not afraid of anything but taking a shit. Not afraid of getting scabies, heat rashes, hurricanes, food poising, manual labor, nothing, I was fearless.

I awoke on my first morning in Haiti from what sounded like screaming children. There were no screaming children the sounds came from goats. I had never heard goats before- was weird.

It was 5:30am.

I scrambled out of my bunk and headed for the bathroom with all my toiletries in hand. Lotion, cleanser, brush, deodorant, toothbrush and tooth paste, eye cream all crammed into a quart sized zip lock baggy. I already knew what my job was going to be for the day. The night before the other 3 newbs and I signed up for a new rubble site. The rubble site was a 20 minute ride from our base camp and had just been assessed as high need a few days prior. We were briefed that the new rubble site was a kindergarten and would still be in session while we were working.

I cleaned myself up as best I could. I changed out in the open by my bunk. I wore a pair of shorts, a tank top and my hiking boots.

It was not even 6am yet.

People were slowly waking up- base quiet time is from 10pm until 6am.

Breakfast was a breakfast bar which consisted of corn flakes, oatmeal, powdered milk, tea bags with hot water (coffee if you were lucky), bread, and peanut butter and Jelly. This was what we had to choose from every morning except for on Mondays where we were treated to chocolate chip pancakes.

I ate bread and peanut butter and a lovely girl shared her coffee with me.

By 7:20 most everyone except the slackers were outside waiting for our rides to the sites.
All crew rode on tap-taps with the equipment for the day. What is a tap- tap? Tap-taps are privatively owned public transportation, typically trucks with bench seating in the back. "Tap Tap" simply describes the sound you need to make to get the truck to move or stop, you tap on it.

I loaded the red tap tap with about 7 other people, 3 wheelbarrows, 5 sledges, 2 ten gallon Gatorade coolers and a variety of other tools and junk. It was a tight squeeze.

My ass hurt the entire 15 minute ride to the rubble site.

Our rubble site was near a main road and the children were in school by the time we got there. The 2 story kindergarten almost completely leveled- part of the front of the building was still standing and the children were taking their lessons in this open aired room (3 walls, no roof and partially covered by tarp). You could see their cute little faces in awe at our arrival. To an average 5 year old Haitian child a work crew of Americans (all white crew except for me) carrying tools to clear the rubble from their school must have been a sight.

The entry to the site was difficult, you could only enter the site in single file and passing a wheelbarrow through this narrow walkway proved to be difficult.

A few of us were on 'salvation' and 'rebar' crew- this meant that we sorted through the rubble as best we could to find items that could be salvaged and reused or personal effects that could be important to the owners of the building.

It was hot but the job was not so difficult. We also moved all that was not rubble (trash) to the side so it would be easier for us to clear. Did I mention it was hot?

We took water breaks often and were lucky enough to have shade on the site.

Once a clear pathway was made for the wheelbarrow and all the trash and salvageable items removed, rubble clearing began.

Oh I forgot to mention that there was a hill from the street to the actual rubble site and all removal of rubble needed to go to the street. YES THAT MEANT PUSHING THE WHEELBARROW UP THE HILL!!

There were sledgers and pushers. I happen to have the pleasure of being a wheelbarrow pusher that day and never again for the rest of my life do I want to push a wheelbarrow full of rubble up a hill- this is the worst sort of punishment you can do to anyone!

Moving the rubble from the site then up the hill then across a busy street was HELL!

By the time I began asking myself 'What the fuck are you doing in Haiti you fucking retard', it was time for lunch!

Our tap tap came to take us back to base. My ass hurt the entire 15 minute ride to base, again.

Lunch on this day was rice and beans with a small (size of my thumb) piece of charred goat meat. YUM FUCKING YUM! I don't eat meat usually but I was so starved to death that I ate it. This charred goat meat tasted like a cross between charcoal and beef jerky. We were to go back to the rubble site at 1:30. I think I may have finished my lunch at 12:15 or so, I was very hungry. I lay on the floor next to my bunk and took an hour nap.

Best hour nap of my entire life. I was filthy and it was HOT.

Back on the tap tap, back to 15 minutes of my ass hurting then back to rubble. I think by this time in the day I had asked my self a million times what the hell was I doing in Haiti. It was hot, I was tired, my whole body was in pain and I just wanted to go back to my bed in the states and go to sleep but I pushed on!

We were not on the rubble site for more than an hour when I heard someone yelling at me 'you are bleeding, you are bleeding'. I looked down to my legs and saw blood, wiped it but saw no cut, then I saw the blood dripping from my arm. My arm had caught some rebar and I did not even feel it! It looked worse than it was. We slapped some new skin on me, waited for it to dry and work continued.

Several people dropped their loads (load of rubble) on the way up the hill towards the street, I was determined that this would not happen to me. And it did not. However, on my way up the hill with about a load of 60/75 pounds of rubble in my wheelbarrow, my wheelbarrow started tipping over. I thought to myself 'this motherfucking shit is not going to fall because I don't want to waste any more time picking it up'. So instead of letting this wheelbarrow full of rubble fall, I caught the wheelbarrow with my thigh!! GOOD SAVE! Or was it?

That bitch hurt so fucking bad! But I did not drop my load (pic taken a few hours later). I was happy for that day to end! My whole body was in pain, I was emotionally drained, it was hot, I smelled, I was dirty!!!

Once we got back to base, it was time for dinner- I don't remember what the meal was that day, I just know it was food and I was hungry.

At dinner time I had realize that I had not peed all day, not once. I knew I needed to increase my water consumption to at least double as I was sweating all of it out.

I had been in Haiti about 18 hours and was already friendly with a lot of the other volunteers, every one was so very welcoming- could possibly be because I brought candy to share with everyone, IDK.

After dinner was an all volunteer meeting, where the work for the next day was discussed as well as any other issues volunteers had- meeting went quickly.

I took my first bucket shower after that meeting and let me tell you it was the best fucking shower I had every taken. If you have ever been in 100 degree weather all day working in dirt and grime then take a very cold shower by bucket out in an open stall- you know what I am talking about. I was so happy to be clean I could have screamed.

Many volunteers hang around base, read, try to get on the internet, sometimes there is a movie, or they just hang and talk- then there are the others (i'd say half) who like to blow off steam by having a few drinks. I am with the others!!!

I used to judge people who had a stiff drink every night after work until I became one of them while I was in Haiti! My new friends and I (yes we were friends after just a few hours) all went next door to Joe's bar to listen to loud music and drink cold beers.

Lights out at 10pm- just enough time for 6 beers then to try to pee and wobble to my bunk!

As I lay on my bunk, a little drunk, I realized that I was in Haiti to sacrifice some of the comforts of home to help the people of this country. And as a bonus, I got to get drunk for really cheap every night.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I am THAT GIRL and I don’t think I will ever change.

This weekend I went to two rather large events. First, on Friday evening, I went to a divorce party. The divorce party was not really my cup of tea[bag]. I think it is a little weird to be celebrating the destruction of something that was once held in high regard to the couple- but whatever. I attempted to have a good time, I put my ‘smiley’ face on and made small talk with trophy wives that I had nothing in common with. Ok I had a terrible time; I was bored out of my mind. But, I wanted to be there for my girlfriend (the divorcée) and show her that I cared enough to drive 20 minutes in the rain and risk getting my hair wet. There was a lot of free liquor and I can never pass up shots of Patron. In addition to the fantastic free bar there were a handful of very attractive eligible bachelors. Sadly, they were all corporate ‘suits’ who were conservative, native Texans, and non passport holders. Again, not my cup of tea[bag].

I did not get moist once.

Best thing about that party was antagonizing the ‘suits’.

On Saturday night, I had the pleasure of going to see the Toadies at the Dallas Palladium. I love the Toadies and have seen them quite a few times. They put on an awesome show! I did not drink my usual shots of tequila; I was introduced to Absolut Vanilla Vodka which is surprisingly smooth and just as effective as my precious tequila. I had many shots, I don’t recall how many, but it was enough to get me really drunk. I was a good happy drunk and enjoyed the show from about 30 feet from the stage.

I do try to fit in with my peers- most of which are trophy wives who have given up their careers to fulfill some suburban fantasy. But, I don’t really fit in with them. Some of my girlfriend’s husbands really enjoy my company more than my girlfriends’ do, only because they say that I am ‘like one of the guys’. Yeah, I am that girl, the ‘one of the guys’ girl and I don’t think I will ever change.

Nothing would thrill me less than to have a typical SAHM/trophy wife life. I need to work for pay outside the house. Can’t accrue human capital folding laundry now can we?

I need adventure. I need to be active, humanitarian, and go a little bat shit crazy.

But, I am that girl, not that ‘trophy’ wife candidate.

It is not my fault that I have a love for sports. My father wanted a boy and he got me so naturally he had to expose me to every sport under the sun. I love Boxing and football; some might even say that I am a football fanatic. Those people who say that may have seen me cry a few times when Romo Choked during a PLAY OFF GAME!!! I am over it now.

It is not my fault that I love punk rock, hard rock, alternative, and metal. I grew up in San Francisco and Los Angeles. I used to sneak into clubs and go to back yard parties. I was always the youngest of my friends back then and they would drag me around to all kinds of different music venues. ACAB- now if you know what that is without googling it- we seriously need to be friends.

I like a lot of things some might consider quirky but WHUT EVAR! The things I like, the things I like to do, music I listen to, choice of Manic panic hair color do not constitute my entire being.

And btw


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I took a month PTO to volunteer in Haiti. I got back a few weeks ago and am still having difficulty returning to my pre Haiti routine. I really am trying to get back to 'normal'.

For nearly a month I lived outside on a bunk covered by a mosquito net, listening to the symphony of 100 snoring volunteers with the occasional chiming in of goats and chickens. Accommodations in Léogâne, Haiti were extreme, no roof, no flushing toilets, no showers except by bucket, extreme heat and a tasty diet of beans, rice, and one tomato every day. It was like a camping trip gone wild.

But, at that time there was no where else that I would have rather been than in Haiti doing what I could to help those who have lost so much.

It still brings tears to my eyes to think about all the suffering that I saw. Even as I write this, I see the faces of the children left orphaned and homeless from the quake, the little kid who I bought a coke for on my last night there, the pregnant woman waiting in line at the tent hospital who despite her situation still managed to smile at me. I have a great admiration for the people of Haiti- and they will always be in my thoughts.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Field Hospital in Léogâne closes.

I heard news from a few friends still on ground in Haiti that the field hospital in Léogâne closed. This hospital serviced (when doctors on staff) 300 patients a day. Patient complaints ranged from complications of pregnancy to stroke, dehydration to your common cold. I worked in this hospital for several days and it saddens me to hear of it's closure.
Another tragic victim of lack of funding.

Central Supply
Waiting Area

Watch the video as HODR Volunteer gives a tour of the hospital as it closes it's doors.
The hospital's medical staff were all volunteers.

Elos- Best Danm Local Volunteer ever.
Miss you!!
(Together we made a great team, I am proud to have worked with you, Elos)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Liar Liar pants on fire!! Mantè manteur pantalon sou dife!!

If you live in your grandma's basement and Play WOW all day- don't lie about it. I am sure some chicks will dig it and think you are hot. I am not one of those chicks.