Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Irony of It All

A few months ago before I became chief, I worked at another organization, let's call it Org X. A second organization (Org Y) that had been involved in some of our work was interested in hosting an event in Haiti similar to the one that Org X hosted in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, our budget at Org X was overstretched and we did not have funds to share for a new event. Despite this, I thought the event would be a good one and wanted to help Org Y put something together. Because of my contacts at Org X, I wrote several letters looking for funding for Org Y. One person in Org Z wrote back and said they were interested in the event.

I set up a meeting; the contact between Org Y and Org Z was made. In the meeting it was decided that Org Z would finance the event. Fantastic! I felt great. Because I helped facilitate, the Director of Org Y offered me tickets to the concert that would be held on the final night of the event. Since I had 2 friends visiting from the States and 2 other mutual friends that were all hanging out together for this past weekend, I asked for 5 tickets which I received for free.

The evening came and went. It was a very nice time. Everyone enjoyed it....I thought. The next day, one of my friends who lives here in Haiti was very upset with me because I hadn't let her pay for the tickets. She felt I was trying to show her up. She said that she has money and she could have paid for her own ticket and everyone else’s'. Of course, there's a lot more to this little conflict, but this is the relevant part to this story. The thing is that I didn't pay for the tickets! I was given them for free, but she wasn't willing to listen to my explanation.

On Monday, I received a phone call from the director of Org Y. Apparently, Org Z has failed to come through on paying for the event and she was wondering if I could do anything. What is it about money and Haiti.....makes me want to not get out of bed in the morning. Maybe I'll just move to the beach, set up a little subsistence garden and live happily by the sea until a hurricane comes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


It's been a while since I've posted...partly due to huge life changes including a significant job change. I've had a post composed for quite a while, but I needed a catalyst to push me to post. That catalyst was Miss De's blog (who is currently visiting) and writing about it.

So, here it is from a few weeks ago...

Adventures in America

I’ve found that my life over the past few years has been a story about moving. Moving myself from place to place and moving my Stuff from place to place, although often not the same place that I move myself. The most recent moving episode is transporting my Stuff from Lexington to Memphis while I remain living in Haiti. The funny part is that eventually my Stuff (taking on it’s own life) will end up in Washington State while I still live in Haiti. So, while I have never lived in Tennessee or Washington, my Stuff will have resided both places. (This is because my Stuff now lives with my brother who moves around with the Navy.)

This week I found myself driving a U-Haul truck for seven hours across Kentucky and Tennessee. The U-Haul people first made me pay nearly an arm and a leg for ME (and a few very faithful friends!) to load, drive and unload my own belongings and then the U-Haul people tried to scare me from inside the cab of the truck with warning signs posted everywhere. “SPEED KILLS!” “Watch out for low overhangs!” “Wear your seatbelt—SPEED KILLS!” I didn’t hit any overhangs and I went slow enough to be passed by just about every vehicle on the road. So, congratulations to me for driving an overpriced U-Haul truck for seven hours to Tennessee, a place I’ll probably never live in, but my stuff will.

This newest adventure was part of my semi-annual-moving-about-the-US vacation. This isn’t intentional it’s just that all my friends and family have conspired against me to live as far apart as possible. Okay, so I’m partly to blame by choosing to live outside the US all together. So far, I’ve hit Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois although the first two and the last were just the airports. By the time I’m done I’ll add Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York to the list.

This morning my brother dropped me off at 6 am at the Memphis airport, I checked my bags curbside and I proceeded to the gate—C13. I walked down the C corridor and came to a split. To the left was C1to C12 to the right C14 to C 22. No C 13! A cruel joke? The newest version of airport hell? Wandering around looking for your gate and never finding it? I re-examined my ticket. Hidden in an obscure corner of the ticket C22 was listed as the gate. So, I hadn’t had my coffee yet….

Once on board, there were tons of seats, so I plopped myself down in an empty seat, which happened to be in the exit row. There are several good things about exit rows. First, you have lots of leg room and…. well, you have lots of leg room. There is a drawback in the fact that you might be held responsible for getting people out of the plane alive, but really, the benefit of extra leg room far outweighs that possibility. I hope. (Just don’t think about it while typing your blog from 25,000 feet while sitting in the exit row.)

I did, however, discover another small issue with sitting in the exit row. It’s called the faulty, oh-so-inadequate window shade. This was especially obvious when the 7 a.m. sun was shining so brightly. Unlike most window shades that pull down, the exit row shade pulls up and then only half way. This renders the shade practically useless unless one is trying to block out views of terra firma (which is generally obscured by clouds anyway) or the plane happens to be flying above the sun (somehow this seems unlikely). Ah, the joys of travel!