So I think I have been here something like 28 days now. Since my last post US ARMY SOUTH (my home unit has moved in). You might say lucky me right. Well not exactly, what that means is that I can not leave with the groups of soldiers that are currently departing. I get to stay with ARMY SOUTH.
Also, since my last post I have moved again. I am now closer to the US Embassy, the conditions are better but it is still a mosquito infested tent and the latrines are farther away (but at least these are clean and working, unlike the last place). I have less mice here, last week in the middle of the night this little field mouse decided that going across my legs was the shortest route from one side of the tent to the other. Almost screamed like a teenage girl (almost) but I was just too dang tired.
The lizard that has taken up residence on my bug net is no big deal he is just getting fat from all the mosquitoes that are getting fat on me.
I got my first Haiti haircut last week, a pretty good deal for $3 American.
The conditions for the Haitians are getting better all the time, more and more rubble cleared, more streets open and more power and water. The IOs, NGOs and PVOs along with the UN forces (MINUSTAH) are finally getting enough capacity in country to allow the JTF to start scaling back and sending US troops back. Al large portion of the units here, not just Army troops, have missions in Iraq and Afghanistan within the next 6 months so they need, family time, training time and some refit of equipment.
The main issues currently are shelter and sanitation; the seasonal rains will be starting soon so the main effort is toward getting the gaps in those areas filled and getting all of ARMY SOUTH integrated into the JTF (Joint Task Force) before it happens.
Right now my main task is a contract that I am managing that is a national assessment of the priority categories of food, water, shelter and security. In addition to that I have been “promoted” in position to Deputy J9 JTF – Haiti. So between those two things, time for blogging is running short.
Disaster tourism is way down, I think people are finally starting to realize that you just can’t do things down here on a whim, and by the way, if your clothes and purse cost more than what a Haitian makes in a year, or, the paparazzi comes with you, stay home YOU ARE A DISASTER TOURIST. Please refer to my post on 28 FEB 10 for a more detailed list of signs).
My son got a new bike for his birthday and my wife and daughter went to “Morgan's Wonderland” an new park in San Antonio designed specifically for the disabled, my wife even thinks she may have found a replacement for me! Well, I she likes the swashbuckling type; I guess that’s her man. I wish I could have been there for all of those things, but as a soldier, you can't be home all the time. But what I can do is make the most of it when I am home. Fortunately for me I have a great spouse that understands and supports my career. That is the best thing any soldier could have when he (or she) goes overseas.
We were out at another smaller “Camp” this week, pretty typical, many are nothing more than sheets and plastic tarps over sticks, the lucky ones have tin or maybe some pallets to sleep on. But, USAID, UNICEF, WFP and others are starting to target these smaller camps and get them rolled into larger camps or moved to areas closer to support and infrastructure.
I went to the port this week too, what a mad house (picture of the guys and the USNS Comfort is in the background). I think that it is one of the most dangerous areas I have seen, not because of the quake damage but because of the amount of equipment, containers and moving vehicles, NOTHING is even close to a reasonable safety standard nor is it efficient. That place will take years to get sorted out and modernized let alone the repairs needed.
That’s enough for one night.
Thanks for reading.