Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 4 by Callie (Ascensión - Haitian refugee community)

Hello, everyone. Today we went to Ascensión, the Haitian refugee community, again. Our goal was to turn up 3/4 of the dirt in the plot that we had been working on the previous day. Yesterday, after we left the camp, the workers continued working for two hours so most of our work had already been done. Everyone was very willing to chip in and help out with all of the work. It rained last night so the fields were very wet but the Haitian workers created a trench in order to drain out the water. It continued to rain throughout the day but it did not stop the workers from finishing what they had set out to do. They didn’t treat us as foreigners coming into their community; they worked side by side with us and made us feel comfortable.

Once we were done working Pena, a boy who lived on the camp, took us on a tour of the community. We saw the areas in which everyone lived and the systems they used to transport water and food.  Each row of houses had two-three faucets with clean water. Everyone has access to as much water as they want and can even build faucets to go into their houses for cooking and washing. Each household gets a plot of land to plant on were they can grow any crops they want for the community or to sell. Some of the crops they planted included potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, plantains, yams, and yucca. Although the plots are individual everyone helps out and it is kind of like a community garden. At the top of the community there were people that came to build a bathroom for everyone. Some kids from the community went on the tour with us, although they didn’t have shoes they still wanted to show us were they lived. They were so happy to see people help out their community.

Because we finished the work early we went to Playa Sosúa. The water was so pretty. It was like those screen savers you see on the Internet. The water was the clearest blue I have ever seen in my life. It was a little cold and the ocean floor was super rocky but we sill had lots of fun. We were also able to break out GLA diet and buy food and some of the restaurants along the beach. I had some extremely delicious fish at the beach. It was a fresh catch and the whole thing was intact, head included. Lots of kids wanted American food so they got pizza and hamburgers. Ashley and me also got pistachio ice cream.

When we got back to the hotel we went into the beach again. It was around 5 o’clock, which is when the rip tide comes in, and the waves were really big and strong. Señorita Manuel (Melanie) taught us a game were someone screams out a question and everyone has to answer before the wave wipes you out. For dinner we had cheese and potato empanadas, rice and beans, and for dessert we had mango and papaya. After dinner we watched Crude Impact, and talked about the energy crisis-taking place in America and the rest of the world. Today was super fun and exciting and I can't wait till tomorrow to go to the Barrio where we'll be finishing building a home.

 This is me.

Here's Ashley getting pulled out of a swampy ditch she fell in.


  1. Wow! This sounds like tough work! Your adventures are so exciting and the pictures are really fun. I like the one of everyone jumping up and down! I hope you have more fun and help more people and travel safely.

  2. Callie, Good for you eating the local fish. Sounds like the hospitality that the Haitian refugees offer SLA is really inspiring. Enjoy your swims!

  3. Looks like you guys are having fun,keeeping sending pictures

  4. Callie, I commend you for eating the local catch, too! That must have been out of your comfort zone of what you typically eat, but trying the local food is all part of immersing yourself in a culture and a foreign country.

    Thank you for teaching me about this Haitian refugee community. I feel ignorant admitting this, but I honestly did not know it existed until I read the blog for this trip. I'm already plotting ways that I can share your group's experience with my fifth graders, so know that your blog is creating ripples that are reverberating far...

    I plan to check out that film you mentioned as well. Enjoy every moment!

  5. Callie, not that I doubted your convictions about this trip, but it sounds like you are really digging into the whole experience. Trust me when I say that this week will inform the rest of your life.