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My Haiti Homecoming

September 8, 2011

I received a very warm welcome back from our workers.  Yonese was particularly exuberant, greeting me with a squeal and an enthusiastic heartfelt hug.  I was surprised to find on my fridge a welcome back note from the Foxes, along with a family picture.  I had never managed to get one myself; getting five young boys to stay still that long can be difficult.

My first full day back started with rain, unusual in the morning.  I am working with our crew, welding.  We need to step up our mold production as we have outstanding orders, and because our last mold sale left us short for ourselves.  Chris is trying to deal with the situation by extending the workweek for those pouring filters to six days. It is a very long time since I was welding and I have little experience with the MIG process we use here.  My current efforts aren’t too pretty.  But I will learn.

Evans, Molet and I completed a mold today.  Chris was surprised that we were able to do it in one day.  He told me he would have been happy with two a week.  But working with our welders I have come to realize that no one has ever showed them how to do things in an efficient way.  Case in point is drilling holes.  I went looking for a center punch, not knowing if we had one.  I found a very good one still in its package.  Our workers not only didn’t know how to use it, they didn’t know what it was.  I showed them and they instantly recognized that having a simple way to prevent the drill bit from skidding and actually get the hole exactly where you want it made a whole lot of sense.  Additionally, when drilling holes they would simply use the bit appropriate to the size of the hole to be drilled, so drilling large holes was a tedious.  They had no idea about drilling pilot holes.  Tomorrow Chris wants me to organize the mold fabrication process to make the best use of the skills each of the workers possesses.

With the workday over it was time to scrub off the days grime and relax.  By late afternoon the clouds mustered for battle and unleashed a cannonade.  Chris and I sat back in the rattan chairs on my patio to gaze out to sea and enjoy the assault with its cumulonimbus muzzle flashes slashing the sky and the almost constant growl evoking distant guns.  A couple of sailboats seeking refuge from the onslaught dropped anchor in front of our beach adding a picturesque touch to the drama.   The warm tropical rain cascaded off the patio roof in runnels that created a small lagoon at their confluence in front of the tiled floor.

Over the summer I had vacated my round house to allow the Fox family room for their large family.  I have started getting it back to the way I like it, but I am in no hurry.  Life here requires little, and most of what I have is merely extraneous accouterments to indulge my conceits.  There are still a few things I would like, however – a good reading lamp, and some glasses that truly are glass rather than plastic.  I’m sure I can find these if I check out the market in Saint Marc.  Yonese has busied herself making sure everything is comfortable for me, right down to making a supply of the passion fruit juice she knows I love.

During my visit to Winnipeg I took a bit of time to scour the thrift stores for some bargains to better equip my kitchen.  While in the Okanagan I dug a few of my treasured kitchen gadgets out of storage to bring back to Haiti with me – the best of my knives and my steel, my garlic press, my one-of-a-kind handmade teapot, and my favourite measuring spoons which include a smidgen, a pinch and a dash.  I also bought a peppermill, something I had been unable to find in Haiti; most everyone here uses a mortar and pestle.  When I returned I found that the Foxes had left me a fine set of heavy-bottomed stainless steel pots and some good knives.  So my kitchen is gradually moving up to meeting my requirements for expressing myself through culinary creation.  The Fox family’s note encouraged me to “keep cookin’ up that yummy grub.”

Well, my book is calling out to me, so I best say goodnight.  It’s good to be home.

 There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
Nelson Mandela

One Comment leave one →
  1. ZOE WEBBER permalink
    September 8, 2011 9:44 pm

    like they say, “be it ever so humble, there is no place like home!” so true…. I could picture you siting on your porch enjoying the rain storm Barry. It sounded lovely!! Here’s to another day…. peace to you, and yours

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