Another beautiful morning in Haiti. Our bodies are sore but our spirits are high. Today more work in Cite Sole. It was a toss and turn night of sleep.
It is 7:00 p.m. now and we have had a long day. At 7:30 a.m. we left our compound to Cite Sole. Half of our team painted the clinic exterior while the other worked at the home site. I went to the home and we finished stuccoing the walls and prepared the floor to pour concrete. When we left for lunch one of the Haitian workers was just finishing up the block work in the front of this one room house.
We left at noon today as Forrest wanted to take us sightseeing in Port au Prince. Our tap tap driver (Fritz) (he drives us everywhere and Forrest pays him for the whole day) drove us to a restaurant for lunch that Michael and Forrest had been to before which had good Haitian food. As slated the food was excellent costing our table of 11 about 90 US dollars including the tip. After lunch Fritz then drove us to the Iron Market. This is a large modernized artist market and voodoo market all rolled up into one. It was a complete madhouse as everyone hounded us to buy their goods of paintings, wood carvings, and metal works. Linda and I managed to buy a small painting for $10.00, a small metal sun for $5.00, and a small wooden box for $3.00. Michael and Austin both bought a larger painting (18 inches by 24 inches) for $20.00. It was crazy place as everyone was desperately trying to sell you their work. After about 15 minutes we just had to get out of there. Even as we sitting in the back of our tap tap some were still trying to sell us items. Forrest then took us to a recyclable art place that was very interesting. We met “the teacher” and then bought a small piece for $15.00. There were some really creepy pieces there made out of burnt plastic dolls and dirty stuffed animals. Everything was made from filthy ugly found objects. They almost all had a morbid look to them although there were some just about design using patterns and textures while others attempted to be humorous. After this we went to see the damaged Presidential Palace where we ended up going in a tent city located in a nearby park to see a couple of statues of famous Haitians. One is the statues we saw was of Jean Jacques Dessalines who in 1804 gave Haiti their independence. The other statue is of the slave chained to a rock kneeling down blowing a conch shell. It is called “Le Negre Marron” (The Black Maroon). Both of these sculptures were once in the middle of a park but they are now surrounded by homes made from tents. They call this area a tent city. It was strange being there and slightly unnerving even though we had two guys who knew Forrest and said they would protect us. After this, we drove a short distance to see the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Port-au-Prince, which was destroyed by the recent earthquake. As we pulled up near the police car Forrest warned us that many beggars would come and ask for money but to not give them any. This was true and quite heart wrenching. We walked through the church shell of what was once a magnificent structure full of stained glass windows as the poor quietly surrounded us. We then came home for a dinner of rice and beans, beef and onions in a hot sauce, and fresh papaya juice. Yummy!