This week, Haiti took me to Bolivia.
I spent the week helping Much Ministries, a wonderful group run by friends of mine out of Georgia, with food distribution in my ravine neighborhood on Delmas 31. We gathered a team of 50 local men to help unload and hand out 500 bags of rice, beans and oil each day. Things were a little chaotic, but it got better every day.
Security for the distribution was provided by the Bolivian Army contingent from the UN base. Note to self: brush up on your Spanish next time you are going to be ordering 40 Bolivians soldiers around! Fortunately, with my French and Creole background, I could actually understand them relatively well, but speaking back to them was a little more challenging. They provided a translator most of the time, but occasionally, we had to resort to sign language and Keziah's famous Sprench (Spanish that is mostly French).
On the second day of the distribution, I was late arriving. As I approached the site, I could hear music that was distinctly not Haitian. Puzzled, I walked around the building and there was....a full brass band! I'm not sure if this is protocol, but apparently, the Bolivians brought their own band and are planning to perform at many of their posts during their 6 month assignment. The music did not seem to have the calming effect on the mob that we were hoping for, but it certainly made my day.
After the distributions, we would ride back to the UN base with the Bolivians to debrief and plan for the next day. I think they really enjoyed having guests because they kept us for hours, feeding us, treating us to pineapple juice (must be a Bolivian specialty), showing us films about Bolivian culture, trying to get us to dance, speaking more broken English and Spanish. On Tuesday, we happened to be there the same day as a UN inspector, so we were included in the VIP luncheon. For a girl who has been living on protein bars and MREs since the quake, it was the kindest thing they could have done for me!
Where will Haiti take me next?