Waiting around in Haiti is a national pasttime. I always have a book or magazine with me because you never know whenever the ‘plan’ will be derailed. Today was a good example, representative rather than extreme.
This morning Gama dropped me at MOHI where we planned to begin bending rebar. We were running late in a Monday morning after New Year’s sort of way. I got there about 6:20 am. The gate was open; women and children from the neighborhood streamed in with five gallon buckets to get filtered water. Leon and his crew, designated to cut and bend rebar, had not arrived, nor had the translator. Within a few minutes the crew showed up and we reviewed the diagrams I had made showing exactly how long to cut each bar and where to make each bend. We need 550, so it is worth the effort to get the first ones right. Leon understood pretty well.
Next chore was to get the saw, which was locked in a storage room and no one had the key. My cell phone was dead, Leon’s worked. We found Ricardo who had a key and by 7:00 am we had the storage door unlocked. The rebar saw is a gasoline powered unit with a pull chord ignition. Of course it did not work; so a few more Haitians joined in the activity. One had a screwdriver, another a wrench. They dismantled the machine, cleaned it, oiled it, put it together. By eight it was running and they started cutting, then bending rebar.
During all of this I am waiting around, which is not my preferred occupation. But there is lots of other activity around the water station on a Monday morning. Jenison stopped by, dressed for school and wearing shoes, though not the ones I gave him. We drew soccer balls, he showed me how to make an origami boat, I showed him how to fold a paper airplane. We got so involved in paper folding that his five gallon bucket of water overflowed and he could barely pick it up to tote back across the road. Two younger boys, Chris Love and Mackin Love got in on the paper folding and we had paper gliders everywhere. Mackin Love, age 4, drew the letter ‘B’ all over his wings, singing a little song “Be Like Brit, Be Like Brit’ the entire time. Everything was good until both boys wanted the only red pen, so pulling and crying ensued and Lex, who showed up at some point, laughed, “This is what happens when Paul is around.”
By 8:30 the rebar operation was humming, only about two hours late, and I headed up to BLB. Sometimes it is how we fill the interstices of time that makes the experience worthwhile.