Hurricane Matthew Update | “It is intense work”

Ailish O’Reilly, our Programmes Manager in Haiti, is busy supporting communities on the island of Île à Vache to recover from Hurricane Matthew, and tells us of another busy few days in action!

November 7

Well, the weekend has flown by again.  John headed back to Port au Prince on Saturday.  I went as far as Les Cayes to do the shopping, get money, and collect an electrician who is coming over to try and fix our system.  The queues in the banks are horrendous and have been since the hurricane.  Money transfers are a huge part of the Haitian economy and more so now in a time of greater need.

The queue is out the door and down the street.  I have a foreign account so go to a different line, but I need to use the ATM.  It has been out of service for the past few days, so I have to register at the reception desk and wait for my name to be called.  I leave do my shopping and let the car go to Port au Prince before I join the queue all over again.

An hour later, I have my passport copied, my bank slip, and my card, and I am next in line at the bank teller to withdraw my cash.  I’m not sure God made me with enough patience, and he sure is testing it to the limit these days.

On the way back to Île à Vache, we meet a boat taxi with engine trouble.  Our electrician fixes it, and we are all soon on our way again.  Home up the hill, and I’m tidying the house while the lads are helping the electrician.  It turns out that the inverter isn’t good so we must wait another week.

Sunday sees a tidy of the house, visiting in the afternoon, and a quick dip.  I hear it is 0°C back in Ireland – brrrr!

Monday morning, and away we go again.  I’m availing of the pre-charged laptop to catch up on reports and head down to see our new road.  Calise and the team are flying it.  We will soon have smooth sailing all the way up to Chache Lavi.  The electrician is going to come back and help install the lights, plus reconnect the lights lower down, so, this time next month, we’ll be lit up for Christmas!

We start to compile the report for Chache Lavi, which involves documenting each visit and then looking at recommendations for action.  It is intense work but starts to take shape quickly.

After lunch, it is back out on the road and a visit to Pradel to see house damage.  The hurricane made short work of a few houses in this area.  It is getting dark and we see a couple of more houses, so the lads will come out early in the morning and check those.  If we missed someone, they will be sure to tell us.

We are brought off to see two houses where the roofs have completely gone, and the craic starts; sure the houses weren’t even up to roof level before the storm.  It’s worth a shot I suppose, and it is easily known when the owners do not protest too much at our refusal to put them in the programme.

The genuine cases are very grateful, and one lady of about 70 years of age was dancing with delight.  Would she find a boss to build up her walls, we ask? “Would I what?”, she says, “pa gen pwoblem [not a problem].  I will start gathering material tomorrow“.


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