Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bedtime Stories

Two short stories for tuck-in time.

A happy story-

As is the usual deal in Haiti, things are sort of unorganized. Try all you want to be organized, something or someone will wreck it for you. Today Troy realized that the team had donated some money to buy lumber to build benches. We did not know that, or we would have planned ahead and gone to get the supplies on Monday. Troy worked with the team all morning and then decided to head to town to try and figure out a way to both, get money (all the way to Port) and get lumber - and still not abandon his work-crew for too long. As he drove he made calls to see if anyone could spot him some cash to avoid having to go all the way to Delmas to write a check for cash.

When he got to Cabaret he stopped at the "lumber place" where he knows Zach (the famous one - also know as "Zo bo pe" or "Bag of Bones") often goes to get supplies. He also has a connection with Rusty - another blan who runs an orphanage nearby. The guy that runs that business was as cold as ice at first. There was no way he was taking a check for the lumber. He said it takes two months for him to get it cashed when it is a USA bank. He was not budging. That is when Troy pulled out the big guns. As the saying goes, "It's not what you know - but WHO you know." Troy just started dropping Zach's name and making jokes at Zach's expense ... and mentioning his connections with Rusty... and BAM - the business owner folded like it was laundry day. Troy got almost $500 of lumber on credit because he's got connections. Even if Zach steals all the best groceries out from under his fellow missionaries, it still pays to have him around. And Rusty - if you're reading this - Troy told him you'd be picking up the tab.

A sad story-

We like to tell the truth about things down here. The good things. The bad things. The frustrating things. That's what this story is - frustrating. Today the family of the boy with the swollen and infected leg showed up. They demanded to talk to Troy while he was solving other problems and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Troy employed this awesome new guy we hired named Peter to try and figure out what they needed and if they could come back later. Peter is the best screener ever. There was hemming and hawing and they did not want Peter. Eventually it came out that they were mad that Troy did not hand over cash to them for the little boy's leg. They were annoyed that Troy sent Pastor Rony with them and had him dole out the cash at the different stops. They questioned the amount they were given and insinuated that Rony took their money.

Okay. Does that not make you a little annoyed? Uh. Pardon? A lot of money was spent so your son could get help. He got help. You're now complaining about the way he got help. You spent nothing. The mission covered it. Rony paid at each hospital they stopped at and paid for all the tap-tap rides. He bought the medicine and gave them $200 Haitian Dollars to pay their bills and get back home. They are mad.

It does not usually happen that way, but it was not a first. That is the definition of looking a gift horse in the mouth. Sigh.

We've learned like four things in the last 15 months. ;-) Maybe five. One of them is, you cannot hand over cash and expect it to get used they way YOU want it to be used. Had we handed the cash to the family they would have tried one hospital and given up and gone to the market. Our goal was for them to get that leg healed so it would not need to be amputated. It must be a result of poverty, but it happens again and again. It is one of the main reasons we only give formula out one week at a time, to make sure there is no temptation to sell the extra.

It was 144 degrees today. We're fantasizing about a run to the end of the road for a DQ treat. We like to torture ourselves that way. The closest thing we can do is put chocolate on an ice cube and suck on that. We're probably gonna try it.
Have a good night. -Tara