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October 25, 2011

My second day at the nursing institute.  Things are happening at lightning speed.

On my arrival the foyer floor that I described yesterday as roughly finished cement is now ceramic tile in a soft green.  The tile crew is busy in another room, and I am told the entire administration building including the patio is to be done.  The crew is a wonder to watch.  They are starting with a wickedly rough base.  They mix the concrete with only a shovel and lay on a layer about three inches thick with only a hand trowel.   The tile is set using just a rubber mallet and a spirit level.  The finished work is beautiful.

The work on the patio continues and the walls are now smooth, and the edges, yesterday crumbling, are now crisp and straight.  More of the windows are filled with decorative block and many of the classrooms now have steel doors complete with locks.  Wires have sprouted from the walls and from the patio floor as electricians busy themselves wiring the administration building.

Before 5PM I talk to our secretary who is registering students, asking how many we now have.  She opens her ledger and shows me the last entry.  327.  I am overwhelmed.

I walk down the promenade and listen to the activity in the classes.  As a student passes, she smiles and says, “Hello, Mr. Barry.”  One of our support staff appears, asking if I am alright, something they ask often and obviously mean something a little different than it sounds, and offers me a bottle of water.  It seems everyone is intent upon taking care of me here.

When I get back to my office wires crisscross the floor as circuits are being sorted out. Someone is setting up the computer on the corner desk.  The tiler has moved back into the foyer and is completing the edges of the floor.

By six it is dark.  I leave my office and go out onto the patio.  My eyes take a few minutes to adjust to the darkness. I sit with some of the others who are gathered there working on their laptops and scrolling through their phones.  Everyone here loves their electronic devices.  I listen to the conversations, understanding only a little.  Light streams from the classroom windows illuminating the promenade.  It is a bit cooler tonight.  The sky is clear and studded with stars.  Suddenly the patio is lit up.  The electricians continue to make progress.

Dr. Felix offers to drive me home.  As we bump our way toward Citè Dalencourt, the streets are alive with the activity of the evening.  People are visiting and just hangin’ out.  The little boutiques that sell food are doing a brisk business.  Darkness doesn’t slow anything down.  Dr. Felix asks how my Creole is coming and I tell him I understand pretty well if someone speaks slowly, but if they speak rapidly I understand nothing.  “Like my English,” he replies.  He tells me that when some as the busyness of getting the school operational is over, he wants us to work together to improve his English and my Creole.  I tell him I would like that.

The end of Day 2.  What a difference a day makes.

Wecome to COPSA - Haiti Nursing Institute and Laboratory

The administration building from the front courtyard.

The classroom buildings from the rear of the administration building.










Patio meeting area at the rear of the administration building. You can see how well the masons finished the sides.

New floor in foyer well under way. You can see what was before along the far edge.

Tiler at work. Note the condition of the base over which he is working.

Installing decorative block in the window openings.

We will have power!

My office. Needs a bit of organization.

Our devoted secretary.

Students arriving.

Paying for the moto taxi.

Students headed for their classes. Notice the new iron doors.

In class.

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