14 May 2010
I have told you about distributions, and how complex they often are, and how we often need military protection to ensure that they are being conducted in an orderly manner.
Not anymore. I am not sure who was the genius behind the idea, but it must have been one of our Haitian staff, who understand this country so much better than the army of expats we have mobilised so far. We have some 5000 NFI kits – NFIs, in case you have not been paying attention in the past few months, are Non-Food Items, and the kits contain blankets, jerrycans, buckets, rope to tie your plastic sheeting, and in this case also tools, a hammer and nails, to work on your own shelter. Under normal circumstances distributing even a small part of these, say 500, will take well over a morning, and many of the beneficiaries – more NGO speak, self explanatory this time – will need to wait for hours in line until it is their turn to pick up their kit. They have been identified and registered before, but we do need to verify all the relevant information about them – the donors, ie the general public that has been giving to Haiti so generously, expects that level of scrutiny from us, and that takes time. In Haiti, where music is a way of life and rhythm a second nature, what better way to make the waiting palatable then organising a band?
So that’s what we did, and by just having the music there, we turned the waiting into a big of moving, shaking and dancing people. Brilliant! They were almost reluctant to pick up their allocation, as then they were expected to move on….
It is just a pity that I am still too naive with a digital camera to immediately identify the potential of recording a short video, with sound and all. So you will have to imagine the rock & roll, or the kompa rather, whilst looking at photos only. But it was quite an experience, and oh so Haitian!
next: the demonstrations