Saturday, February 20, 2010
I realized this morning that I have not posted much about the spirit of the Haitian people. Occasionally I have referenced individuals I have met. I recorded the singing in the camp the first week.
I want to talk about Georges Doemicke and Albert Donald (pictured above.) Georges is on the left Albert is on the right.
These two gentlemen are antenna technicians for MultiLink the internet service company. I worked with them all day on Monday to get connectivity in place at the Universitie.
Last Saturday was their first day off since the earthquake. They have been working every day to get some sort of capability back in place to critical entities such as NGOs, the United Nations, police and government. Their work ethic is impressive and their attitude is amazing. They drive their little white van all around the destroyed city and do the work. If it is scavenging equipment from former customer sites that fell that is what they do. If it is find a post or a pole or a tree that has a line of sight to a transmitter they will crawl and climb in manners that would make their mothers cringe. It is important work so they do it. All along there is laughter and discussion. Both Albert and Georges are hungry to learn more about their profession. Both aspire to become CCIE certified; that is the professional certification for Cisco networking equipment. Given an opportunity I know they will excel.
Well into the day after we had gotten to know each other we were stuck in traffic. Albert turned around to me (I was in the back of the van sitting on a spool of cable) and asked 'do you have tents?'
The question confused me. Once I understood he was asking about tents to live in I told him no. I asked the living situation of each.
Albert lives with his mother, father and five siblings. Georges is married with two young daughters. Both lost the dwellings in which they lived. Since the earthquake both family units have been living, literally, in the dirt.
It just amazes me. These two guys are out doing their work. They have jobs and that is a good thing for themselves and their families. They aren't running around trying to find housing for their families they are doing the work that is important to the nation and are tolerating their living conditions. They also, I assume, ask anyone they encounter if they have tents.
I connected Georges and Albert with a couple of sources of shelter. I hope that they can get their tents.
The spirit that puts the need of the nation ahead of this sort of personal discomfort is impressive. This story is being repeated thousands of times over in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Legoane and everywhere else. Look at the people who dug the hole for the telephone pole. Everyone who has worked in Haiti over the last five weeks has the same story: Haitians want to make things better.
The international community and individuals who want to assist must be certain that when aid is given that the spirit is enhanced. Those who want to go to Haiti and dicatate to Haitians what is best for the nation and its people are misguided. Let those of us who have now become involved with this wonderful culture and its hardworking faithful people respect these people as we wish to be respected ourselves.
Georges and Albert have earned my respect. As has nearly everyone I met.