Bon aswe ki soti Haiti! (Good evening from Haiti!)

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My name is Cedric, I am 22 years old, traveling to Haiti all the way from Norway. Co-writing this blog is David, who is 18 years old from Canada. We are both attending university/college in Canada, but are currently in Cap Haitien, Haiti, completing a building project for the school here in Calvaire. We both feel extremely proud to have lived through a life changing experience down here in Haiti, and to have completed the roof on the new school building today.


Today was the last day of working on the school here in Cap Haitien. When we arrived on Monday, one part of the school stood without a roof and the foundation of the building had just been started. Being the last day on the worksite we all had one clear goal set in mind; finished the roof. ‘Roofing’ in Haiti is a very intricate but laboured job that will leave you exhausted. Being from Norway and Canada we have never seen roofs being done without the help of machinery or power tools. In Haiti, the process is done with minor tools such as buckets and shovels, and your bodies are used as the machinery in order to complete this process.
In order to complete the roof the first priority is to mix the cement. Mixing cement in Haiti is a hard task to complete as you only have shovels and the bare ground to use as your tools. First sand has to be transported by hand up a small incline in the mountain and then the shovels are used to blend it with cement mix and water. Once the blending is completed, our group and the Haitian workers form an assembly line to transport it one bucket at a time up to the roof. When the cement reaches the roof, it is poured out on the roof where it is smoothed out and becomes dry within minutes. The process was very exhausting due to the intense heat, heavy lifting, and uneven ground. Also the danger of rain in Haiti’s tropical climate requires the process to be done at a high pace, as rain would ruin the cement. It was fascinating to see the contrast in how we struggled with the environmental natures, compared to the Haitian workers who were not even breaking a sweat after a hard days’ work. We also found it incredible how the language barrier was only a small hurdle to overcome. Communicating with the Haitian workers became gradually easier as they instructed us in Creole and we responded in English; thus, this allowed us to teach each other the languages. They were not only patient with us when we did not understand their instructions, but also extremely efficient when teaching us how to perform the duty. We are very proud of what we have accomplished here in Cap Haitien and it was great to see the finished product in the end. We encourage everybody who is reading this to be brave and to LiveDifferent!
My highlight of the day (Cedric)
Today I got to teach a Norwegian class for the kids up at the school. It was a great experience to see how willing and enthusiastic the kids were to learn, and to see how involved the professors got as well. The teachers are doing such a fantastic job with their students, and hopefully the bright minds’ of the kids will end up in offices of doctors, lawyers, or perhaps teachers.
My highlight of the day (David)
At the beginning of the trip I was very unaware at how big of a language barrier there was between Creole and English. I found out today that you do not need language to communicate with others. My biggest highlight of not only today, but the whole trip was developing such strong friendships and bonds with the children and some of the Haitian workers. One highlight in particular today was when the final bucket was hauled to the roof and a Haitian worker put his final artistic touches in smoothing the cement into place. I sat down on a rock in exhaustion and basked in the ambience of our completed work. A Haitian worker by the name of Toonie walked by and stuck out his hand to lift me up to my feet. I told him “I’m exhausted, the job is done”, he chuckled and just pointed down at the children and kept on working. That moment truly represents why I am here.
Finally, we would like to pay a tribute to our Toyota Coaster driver Alce, who got us through the roughest terrain one can find in Haiti!
– Dave and Ced, Participants, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Haiti

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: May 12th, 2012