Wednesday, 20 April 2011

2 Things

1. She came back. Jeff removed her and I'm working on a chicken-proofing plan. Adding this photo is against my better judgement but if it placates her, maybe she'll get out of my hair...

2. Decided to white-wash the blog... it felt cluttered. One can't wear the same thing for ever.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

An Office!

I wanted to share about my new office space the minute I was told I it was mine (except for 2 weeks in May when I will have to move out and let some team use it to sleep because we are overbooked - sigh of frustration here).
Previously I had been meeting with young people in Rachel's office or in Abby's classroom (whichever was free at the time I needed it). Things here require lots of adaptation on a daily basis.
Anyhow, I was told 2 weeks ago I could finally start to use my office. Unfortunately, there was no key for the lock on the door so I waited another week for a new lock and then, in the middle of last week, began moving stuff into the room.
I had gone in the week before to clean the washroom, sweep the floors, re-arrange the bulky bunk beds that have to remain there until after May. It was dusty but not so bad. In the washroom I found a chicken who seems to enjoy room 14. She has been known to lay eggs on the beds. I decided she would make a suitable secretary.
I was given the new key to room 14 and excitedly gathered my first load of art supplies for the office. As happens in an area with any of 61 kids wandering around, I quickly had some helpers who wanted to carry items to the new office. We opened the door and found a pile of animal poop. Rotting in the heat as though it had been there a while.
Please note the stain from liquid run-off. This will help you to imagine the smell of this welcoming sight.
I remember thinking wow, this poop smells really bad. Almost like a dead animal. Then I remembered Mdme Poul, my creepy washroom secretary, and went to look for her. She was sitting on her shelf, looking, frankly, quite stupid, and on the floor below were the remains of 3 eggs that she had, I can only surmise, laid and then let roll off the shelf. Another layer of the odor in the office.

I recall thinking wow, it smells like a sketchy dairy aisle... but somehow worse... and not just because I could still smell poop.
By this time the kids were squealing and laughing at the discoveries. I was deep in thought, formulating a plan of action that included firing Mdme Poul, when, as I walked back into the main area in the room, I sensed an intense cloud of decay. I was pretty much right between the washroom and the entrance, smack in the middle of rotten eggs and nasty poop... but the air was just a little bit thicker in a way that eggs and feces just don't add up to. For some reason, probably the Spirit's leading, I thought to look under the shelves in the main room. And that's where I found it, deep in the darkest corner of the room, lifeless in the shadows, a dead rat.
Now I'm going to post a picture of the rat. It is still in the trap and doesn't look too big in the photo. Using a broom one of the girls got it outside and that's where I took the picture, so you could get a better sense of the decay. You're welcome. Keep in mind that the rat trap is as big as my shoe - it's not little like a mouse trap.
What you can't see in this photo are the tufts of fur that were scattered around the rat under the shelves. Many thanks to our plentiful ants who will, within minutes, find anything dead and begin to disassemble it - promoting the decay process. Apparently they don't want the fur, and so leave it behind, scattered around the carcass.
And so, that is how my move into my new office began. Under the heavy cover of stank, and with the trills of kids (me included) losing it at each new discovery of grossness, I began my move in :)

A couple of end notes:
- Photos were taken on my blackberry and so have lower resolution. You're welcome again.
- I hired 7 kids for 4 candies a piece to do the cleaning (those who followed through got 6 candies each). It's true, labour is one of Haiti's greatest resources.
- Mdme Poul was removed by brave, but slightly nauseous (note the face covering), Monsado using a Mickey Mouse sheet. Apparently she belongs to Jeanson. She was asked not to return to the office. We will have her belongings sent to her new address. I considered adding a photo of her but decided not to give her the satisfaction.

*this post is dedicated to Jenn Mitchell. Jenn, please use your considerable library on poop to help us determine who left the 'gift' - if possible. Keep in mind we have many wandering goats and dogs around the orphanage. I know because they, and the roosters, yell at each other all night.