A day in Port au Prince – by Dave
Today consisted of: Waking up at 7am after 6 hours sleep (a lie in).
Long walk in sun to buy bread and eggs for breakers, as pantry empty (only food for some time to come). Have great first cup of Tetleys, then find everywhere has run out of milk. Marko has phone interview with BBC and APR. Organise day – includes kit cheaks, planning with our host Laurance, from Haitian organization Cinema Under The Stars, about today….many phone calls, emails, more kit checks, contacting people about possible screenings later in the month. Internet access not reliable. Try and have semi successful Cube meeting – but both so tired, keep staring off into space. Saego (driver) and John (translator) arrive. We’re not ready, so they hang out as we get our stuff together, then we all load pick-up with equipment. Need cash so go via ATM, then petrol station, but we are accidentally sent the long way round to Calfor, stuck in dusty polluted traffic, 45 min journy takes 2 plus hours. John suffering headach from heat and dust, which reduces his capacity to translate and focus (poor man is only 18, lost father, mother cant work as injured in earthquake, only provider for family). This leads to us going the wrong way for some time, further delay and a further complication later (will come to that). Arrive at amputee hospital as dusk is falling, meet Laurance’s contact and we have to set up screen and equipment (never done it in the dark before but manage ok), Laurance and Tatiana arrive,
amid crowd of excited people who cant understand why it not on right now! (bless). Work out screening program: French short, Shaun the Sheep again (…damn they love that little guy), one of Laurances educational safety cartoons, then short insparational film about amputees and how they can manage their disabilities, followed by talk by Laurances friend of been or be a victim of this (followed by talk). Then, to cap it all off….yes you guessed it – Shaun the Sheep. (somewhere in there Dave and Marko interviewed by reporter and photographer from Daily Mirror, pos article this Mon to be confirmed) Followed by talk and requests for more films – by kids and by democratic kiddie election……our wooly friend Shaun (we’re on first name terms now) wins presidential election.
Kids thanks us for showing them these films.
Time to pack away equipment and screen (which we have not done in dark before but manage). Talk to Laurence’s friend, who thanks us for coming. We introduce the idea that we could show them the short messages from Bristol kids and film the kids at the amputee hospital giving their message to Bristol kids. She tells us that that would be a really great idea and we start to talk about details.
She then tells us about how she lost her house and entire family of 17, including her children and that she lives at the hospital now helping the kids, but it is a private hospital and they are now starting to move the kids out on to the streets (in batches..) to be homeless……or slaves. Best to make the film messages tomorrow morning, as the hospital now wants the car park back, as its where the amputee kids and adults now live. Arrange to return at 9:30a.m. to make film messages.
Eventually pack everything away and drive home.
Stop off in petrol station to buy cold beer (shelves empty of beer, though have two small bottles of Guiness left which is better then nothing and high in iron I understand), try to buy food which we haven’t seen since this morning, time now 10 something, settle for 2 bags of crisps, some Dairylie – I mean Dairylea – and two pieces of what some folk may call pizza only to find there was only one piece in the box and myself and Marko cut it in two to share. Arrive home. Lengthy discussion with Saego and John about money given for petrol (honest mistake sorted in the end) due to John being ill and unfocused enough to translate properly – though freaked both of them out as they misunderstood us and thought that we thought they were being dishonest, and they were going to lose their jobs which they desperately need. Finally, I hope we did a good enough job to convince them they weren’t and John phoned a little while ago just to confirm it was all cool.Unpack. Home. I write this (occasional gun fire in back ground). Accomplishments of today:
Made some amputee kids happy for a few hours, promoted project enabling further funding (with luck), arranged postcards and cultural exchange for tomorrow, promote Laurence and Cinema under the stars, put money into pocket of Saego and John who both need it.All for now….