Early morning Saturday and in the office for 7am. The long walk down the hill – all of 200 yards. Yesterday was a lot cooler and the wind got up a bit (still only in a T shirt) but no repeat of the rain the other night.
This week has been more up and down, really had some ‘what on earth am I doing here’ moments earlier in the week. My laptop also got infected with a Trojan, compliments of a memory stick when someone borrowed my laptop. This meant I’d lost access to my laptop for about 36 hours, we had to do a destroy and rebuild in the end. Communicating with the UK office can be a challenge because even when we get up at 6am it is already the afternoon. If you have to go to a morning meeting the office day is over by the time you get back. I suppose it adds to the feeling of isolation because no one else is around.
Based on the needs assessment last week I handed in a requisition for gifts in kind on Monday. Thursday we got a call to say some were available, I signed the agreement yesterday and we need to collect them this afternoon. It means that next week we can go back to the communities the needs assessment took place in, and take them tarpaulins, ground sheets, water carriers. It isn’t everything we hoped for, but it is a start. It will make a big difference for about 1,700 households currently sleeping out in the open or under bedsheets. There has been a big discussion in the shelter group the last couple of days because the UN released a statement saying more tents were needed. But there has been agreement that tents are not what are needed. They are unsuitable for the camp situation, much more expensive than tarps, won’t last in the long term etc. Big frustrations from group leaders that they are having to spend a large proportion of time going over the same messages again and again instead of getting on with the job in hand. Work is underway to set up the pipeline for supplies for transitional shelter, which will be the focus after emergency shelter. Hopefully the details will be out in the next week.
The British Ambassador dropped in the other day. We’d registered our presence with his office and he literally just called by for a few minutes with a representative from DFID. We apparently have a nicer camp than DFID, he didn’t stop for a cup of tea as he had a meeting with the European Union.
Last Sunday we walked up to a patisserie (about half an hour walk in the heat so were very glad of the air conditioning when we arrived). It was our break for the week and all ended up with a burger and chips. One slightly surreal moment was the Canadian military sitting in the patisserie, eating pizza with a semi automatic weapons on their laps.
This afternoon our two vehicles should arrive. Two of the team went up to SD to collect them and are driving down with two new arrivals. The team will then split on Monday, some going to set up in Leogane with 2 sub offices there. Upland and lowland bases. I’ve been interviewing the last few days for project staff for the health and watsan elements. There have been some very funny moments, where it was hard to keep a straight face. We’ve used a translator for some of them as they don’t need English, one of the translations which made me smile was when the translator talked about ‘the masses’!