Sunday, February 16, 2014

February Haiti Trip Updates--Friday and Following

Friday, Feb. 7
On Friday, we knew that we had to head back to PAP so we left first thing in the morning after breakfast (remember, it is about an hour and 15 minutes drive each way with light traffic). This time it was Kim, Pastor Riccardo, and me. We checked the first location for a pump controller. No go. They only had 240V systems and said that was all that was accessible in the whole country. Good thing they didn't know what they were talking about. Our next stop was Eco Depot (think Home Depot with the same orange color, but different :) ). They had a whole assortment of them, including the one that we needed. We also purchased some additional cable to hook up some new batteries to the new solar panels for charging. So, parts secured and off we went on our return trip. Back to the property around noon.



By the time we returned, the trench had already been completely covered by the workers (they started around 7:00am each morning). It's amazing how fast they worked, especially when we told them that they would get paid the same amount, no matter when they finished the day's work. :) Tom had setup the pool on the site and Ralph had made major headway on the relay box to control the float valves for both the well and booster pumps. We were able to hook up the new pump controller and turned on the pump and we had water again! This time, we were able to fill the entire cistern and also run a little water down the line to the reservoir to test it.

The rest of the day included wiring up the solar panels, installing the inverter and wiring in the building, hooking up the pipe at the reservoir end, installing the float valves and relay box, and setting up the booster pump. Lots of little things to complete before we left. The clothing was also distributed that afternoon. This time, it was done in a very orderly way. Recipients included the kids of the caretaker of the building where where we stayed and installed all of this equipment. It is hard to express the joy that shows on their faces when they receive something of value that they can call their own. It makes the trouble that we experience on the front end with the luggage in PDX worth it. Thanks to everyone who donated clothing and shoes as they were greatly appreciated (part of the reason this is important is that this region is far outside the capital city and is relatively untouched by aid organizations).

We worked that day until after sundown. Lots to finish before heading back to PAP tomorrow. However, looks like we will get everything done that we had hoped to accomplish on this trip (has been a long time since we could say that due to various circumstances).

Saturday, Feb. 8
Up early and working even before breakfast since there was lots to do. We had hoped to leave by 1:00pm to head back to PAP but there were lots of things to do before we could leave. Final work on the relay system and wiring in the building to connect the solar panels and batteries, final installation of faucets and float valve at the reservoir, burying the remaining pipe, etc. We were making great progress and on track to get just about everything done. We wired up the solar panels and then found out that there was no voltage coming from the panels. Something was wrong. Some quick diagnostics and we determine that I must have wired the leads backwards when connecting the pairs in series (easy to do since the wires weren't marked as well as we could have). So, Kim and I went up on the roof after the sun had turned to broil (ask him about his sunburn). Sure enough, the leads were backwards on all three pairs. In actuality, it turned out to be a good thing because we missed at least one other error in our wiring and the lack of voltage likely prevented a blown component in the system. Could it be that God allows us to make mistakes to protect us from ourselves sometimes? :)

At any rate, we resolved that problem and then tested the system and it worked! We then turned on the pump using the solar system and it worked too! Relays whirred to life to turn things on an off. Just like we had planned. Praise the Lord. In the end, we were able to get the foundation of the irrigation system setup and ready to use. That will also give us the basics for water that we will need for our June trip when we will be camping at the property. Our final morning, we took a picture of the pool on the property in the distance which you can see below (it is located on a high point on the property). Praise God for what He has enabled us to do for this people in this area.


We packed up everything and headed out by 2:00pm. Not bad given everything that we were able to accomplish. We were met in PAP by Reghi Louis who would be our chauffeur for the evening and we went to dinner with he and the St. Gelus' and were also met by Pastor Bernarde and his family. We were able to get some great coffee to bring home too (nothing like Starbucks here in the US; next time we plan to get the better stuff at the open air market).

We were hosted by members of Pastor Riccardo's former church in the area who allowed us to stay at their home. It was ironic that it was snowing and icy back in the Portland area since it certainly wasn't cold that last night in PAP in February. And, yes, they do have mosquitos if anyone asks. ;) We were ready to head home.

Sunday, Feb. 9



Up early for our trip to the airport. After dealing with the counter agent who refused to acknowledge that we had a waiver for an additional bag (we had whittled it down to 9 on the way home; yes, American Airlines, we will be calling you to resolve that issue and we have the manager's name). It sure felt good to get on the plane. We were looking forward to the familiar and being able to talk with our families. We were thankful to spend time with our friends in Haiti and look forward to seeing them again soon. But for now, it was a reasonably restful flight home without too many delays. We did get into Portland just after midnight and enjoyed a longer trip on the way home due to the black ice (thanks, Micah, for picking us up at the airport!). Until next time.

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