Immersed and Hot – by Billy Ponko

Billy Ponko is directing operations for The Fuller Center in Haiti.

Being back in Leogane, I was hit with the realization of where the epicenter of the earthquake really was. The drive itself yesterday was the same, from a traffic stand point. The first few days with no traffic and less rubble was nice. It was not as emotionally draining or chaotic. I guess both these thoughts can root from a selfish desire for sanity. I think traffic in general can bring a sense of stress to people, but piling on top of that no chance for order elsewhere is something else. 

Just finished opening a bank account with checks that should be available soon. It was surprising to learn that checks work on the island. Although you can’t deposit a Travelers Check. I find this odd, because they are actually backed from The States, while a paper check written here may be worth less than the paper it is printed on. I have learned you can’t question these kinds of things or insanity and frustration will just haunt your mind, but it’s still hard to just put the ideas away. It’s the same way with many aspects of life here We find ourselves trying to learn the ways of the people around us and some of their ways of going about things. For example, there has been much more road and site clearing than last time, yet you will still find the odd huge boulder or pile of rocks in the middle of the road just because someone decided to put them there. The same goes with some of the drainage ditches along the roads. If you want to dam one to do you laundry you can, but most don’t un-dam it, so you see some people living in a flood because of another’s actions.

There is a massive project underway outside my bedroom. I have heard it’s to redo the water tower here, but I have not been over to check it out. Like this, projects are starting to pick up. It’s a positive thing I think. Yet surprising enough, it all seems to be based on private work. I haven’t seen many government-driven projects, but honestly I am still trying to figure out who is who, so I may have to retract that statement later. There is a nice bridge going in between here and Port-au-Prince. There are some really nice details with concrete and stone work. Stone is Wash. I can handle that.

Billy arrived in Haiti early last week. He’ll be directing the building of the next Fuller Center homes to go up there. Read more about that here.

Visit our Haiti page for more information and to donate toward the project. 

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