January 11th 2018

There were not many opportunities for me to post while in Haiti so this post comes days after these events took place. On January 11th we went to Coteaux (pronounced Co-Toe). This is the place where Dayana grew up so we visited her father. The way there was rough. It took a little less than an hour but we had to travel along several hills so the road was winding and I was very motion sick. However, it was a beautiful drive. To the right of me was a vast terrain filled with hills and to the left was the ocean. Words cannot explain how pretty this was, but pictures can:

The scene on the way to Coteaux.

There were also many structures made from plastic bottles that I saw on the way. They were used as market stalls to sell goods and I thought it was a great way to reuse plastic waste.

I greeted Dayanas father with a big hug and he is the sweetest man in the entire world.Our first stop was “The Steps.” Their real name is, “500 Marches de la Médaille Miraculeuse,” or “500 Steps to the Miraculous Medal,” and they are part of a religious installation dedicated to the Virgin Mary. There are 500 steps that span up the side of a hill and overlook Coteaux. So of course we had to go up all 500 steps. While climbing, about half way there I was feeling very insecure about my physical fitness and I had forgotten my inhaler. Once I saw Dayana’s father pass me up those steps so easily, I knew that I needed to do it. I did. 🙂

The Steps

The view at the top of the steps

The next part of our adventure in Coteaux was more technical. Coteax and two neighboring communities are run on a solar energy grid. The way people buy electricity is through a pay as you go system. You basically go to where the solar panels are, buy electricity, and then go home and punch in your card information to turn on the electricity.

Solar Panels in Coteaux

They also have a diesel back up generator in case the solar panels do not produce enough energy.

Diesel back up generators.

They had several transformers to step up the voltages for delivery to the utility grid from the solar energy facility. The transformers below were damaged by Hurricane Matthew.