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Haiti Diaries #5

The last day had a somewhat mystic feeling in the air. We woke up at 6am, ready to rock the last moments of construction site – the sun was already shining and our dear friend, the rooster, who took us company for the last week, was already singing like there was no future. So we got up and we directly went to the construction site, so eager to finish that we forgot to have breakfast. Our Boss was already there, calmly working. He waived at us was quickly joined by Jason from TFP, who had decided to stay one day longer than anticipated for the sake of the project. They started working together almost without talking, in perfect synchrony. Quickly we all went back to our tasks, trying to fit as many activities as possible in that last morning we had at our disposal. Someone was singing, some other were working and yet, we were both sad and excited at the idea of going back home. The idea that in lovely st. Gallen it was snowing could not be more far from where we were, sweating under the 8am Haitian heat. However, the marvelous green of our toilets, with their shining roof and their marvelous swinging doors (oh, what a pain to build those!) made our stay extremely worth it. Somehow, we are still there.

And then, someone remember we needed something – oh wait, drinking water and bottles for the handwashing facilities! So the brave Anett and Lara went out to buy it, first insecure about the direction given and then, once 30 minutes had passed, secure that that was the wrong direction. However, the walk turned out great: not only they had the chance to witness the slow waking up of the daily Haitian life, with its customs and habits, but Anett received a marriage proposal – yes, another one – by an Haitian, so we can say that in the end the trip did assume a funny and unexpected color. And no, we are not going to say whether or not she accepted :P*

In the meantime, the others were adding the final touches to the toilets, adding the black tubes for ventilation, finishing the handwashing facilities and hanging on the wall the lovely seats for children that Jason had previously purchased in NY – not without firstly playing with it, of course.

And finally, there they were: marvelous toilets. Finally, so happy we did not even have to convince everyone to take a last group picture – in a toilet, of course – we squeezed together and smile! The proof of our contribution is there, to sum it up: 2 passports lost and only one found, 2 days of demonstrations, mosquito bites and delicious Haitian food, lovely people, amazing music, some quick incursions outside, two crazy barking dogs (they eventually became the mascots of the construction site) one visit in Canaan, one workshop with the parents, one with the children, one with the technical students and four toilets later: there we were, tired but happy, smiling together and proudly holding up the toilet seat as a trophy.


soon the time came and we had to start putting all the remaining material in place, counting that everything was left as we found it and saying goodbye to everything that made our daily life while we were there. The pace of our action then increased as far as we got closer to 11.30am, the hour we were supposed to leave. Everyone finished packing, we checked for at least 100 times that we all had our passports with us (probably we were a bit shocked of the terrible track record of the relationship between Rise Haiti members and their passports) and thanked The Boss and Jason for their incredible job. Needless to say, we would have been lost without them and not only they were great “construction leaders” but great people whom with we did have a great time interacting with. Thank you! Meci Ampil!

We then rushed to the airport (one hour and a half earlier, that is needed to be said, however, one is never too early at the airport, right?), told the amazing Jorge goodbye, took some last pictures and finally checked in and gathered the final thoughts on the whole adventure.

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