A day in service of Haiti

Yesterday, my day started at 3 am trying to catch up with emails. At 7 am I was off to a dentist as one of my teeth gave me a problem. Waited for 30 minutes and the dentist did not show up.
Back to the office, getting a hang of the things to do during the day. We got requests to find 1 million bracelets to be used in Haiti for a food distribution. We only found half a million, but it was too late. The food distribution crew in Haiti had changed their plans already. We are now looking at paper coupons to be used for the distribution, in different colours, printed in a particular way so we could avoid forgery. Our two procurement staff went off on a hunt.

While I was on route to a meeting, 1.5 tons of food supplies, rations for our own staff, were being loaded on the plane to Haiti. An hour later, I was back to the office.

Meanwhile we got an order in for 1 million bags to hold up to 12.5 kgs. Off went the procurement staff again.
Around the same time, we received about 15 new staff. Some to strengthen our office, some on their way to Haiti.

At 11 am, I received a phone call they needed an extra finance officer in Port-au-Prince, who needed to organise the new base camp which was being erected for our staff still sleeping in make-shift tents. One of our staff volunteered, packed her bags and checked out of the hotel. The problem was that she did not receive security clearance to fly out, and I spent about one hour on the telephone trying to get the clearance in. Five minutes before we had to close the flight manifest, I got the verbal OK from our security staff in HQ who was in contact with the security staff in Haiti. Our finance officer caught the flight just in time.

Our admin staff pulled out their hair as we had about 10 people on hold to fly off to Haiti, which was beyond the allocation of hotel rooms we had, and there was a shortage of rooms in Santo Domingo.

A group of air ops officers got their clearance, though, but they could not find tents in town, so they would have to sleep on the ground on the ground, in Port-au-Prince. They still flew after a final scramble for tents.

Meanwhile suppliers were coming in to show samples of paper and bags. A selection was made while we were still on the phone trying to get hold of tables and chairs for the new office tent in Haiti.

Meanwhile, I negotiated with the hotel about the delays to get OUR new office space. Next to me, a senior staff was organising the newly arrived travel officer, and finance staff. The logistics guys received two cargo airplanes carrying relief supplies for different agencies. About 50 trucks of food left for Haiti, and we dealt with a problem of the fuel supplies at the airport. One more staff was negotiating extra storage space at the port, and another was trying to arrange a mission for an incoming staff who would help us with the tracking of the truck movements to the border.

At 16:30 I gave a briefing for new staff, and at 17:00 we had the daily staff briefing,

I went for a smoke around 19h30, surprised it was already dark outside.

One thing came in after another, and after a final briefing with a new arrival, I crashed in bed at midnight.

Today was not much better, except that I only got up at 6 am.

Just got an urgent phone call from Haiti. They need half a dozen paper cutters to cut the coupons used at the food distribution.

Off we go. Another day in the paradise of Santo Domingo. At least we had a beautiful sunrise...


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