Great reception at the OLPC-SF Community Summit last night. Everyone I shook hands with seemed serendipitously placed in my path to help Haiti. One man’s brother worked at the UN in Haiti. Another was involved with the OLPC large scale deployment in Haiti. Mary Lou Jepsen knew a minister in the government. One group is working on alternative energy solutions with XOs. Etc, etc.

Amidst the flurry of activity here in California, the big questions remain regarding my trip in nine days. I’ve written about Lodging, Clothing, Food, and Water. Still in the air are the moving logistics: Transportation, Translation, and Safety.

First there’s driving & translation. We’ve got four possibilities.

1. rental car – This turns out to be hugely expensive. My first quote was $980 a week, which is double what it normally costs. This is without gas, which is also very expensive. There’s questions about auto insurance, and safety, and navigation, particularly if Adam and I drive by ourselves and rely on Adam’s French with varying Creole translation at each site visit.

2. driver/translator – We have a quote $1350 a week for a driver that can also act as a translator. Add to this the lodging and food costs for the driver. Benefits here are obvious … more safety, continuity with the translator, no need to navigate ourselves.

3. hop-by-hop – We’ve got offers to drive from one location to the next, each with their own costs, usually for gas and a little more. More plans mean more possibility for snafus, though it’s also nice to be able to spend time with more people. We’ve got drivers for the first week, but not the second.

4. bus – It’s cheap, long, and potentially less safe. A fall back.

Translation is always a concern. The first week with Adam should be better, as he can speak French fluently and we’re traveling in areas where French is spoken more. My concern at this point is communicating with the children. I’ve gotten pretty far with wordless communication (which has the added benefit of making them laugh at my antics), but there will be frustration at times without Creole.

Safety amounts to having a Haitian with us in case something goes wrong. Speaking the local language is a benefit should a fender-bender turn into an argument. There’s also the innate knowledge of what is safe and what is not, which as outsiders we can never really know.

Well, the conference is about to start, so I’ll post. I have some potentially good news about funding, though will have to wait before announcing.

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