I'd like to write three segments about Haiti in my blog. The first I would like to talk about my pre-trip ideas about what Haiti would look like, what we would do, experiences we might have, etc. The 2nd post I would like to talk about the actual experience. This post I will include highs and lows, experiences, etc.
The last post I would like use to reflect on the experience. What did we learn? Where will we go from here?
I didn't really know what to expect to be honest. I knew what I had packed in my bag and what medicines I had taken prior to stepping on Haitian soil. I knew what type of weather we could expect and what the director of the orphanage looked like. I even knew a few creole phrases which I hoped would multiply as the trip progressed. In the back of my mind, I expected this trip to be similar in some ways to other trips I had been on in third world countries- Honduras, Peru, Uganda. I expected similar traffic patterns, smells, sounds, and sights. In some ways, we felt prepared but in other ways, how could we be?
I knew that Haiti had been through a lot in the past year. With the earthquake on January 12th, 2010, the recent Cholera outbreak, and the political unrest the country was undergoing- I knew that we were entering a country that was unstable in many ways. I had seen pictures of the massive tent camps erected around the country's capitol, which housed between 1 and 2 million residents left homeless by the earthquake. I had read articles about the political unrest and the history of political corruption that continues to plague the city's capitol. How was I to prepare for the sights, the sounds, and smells of the human suffering that I would see?
I knew that it was a miracle that we even arrived in the country. Amidst the advisory red flags on travel to Haiti, the recent Cholera outbreak, the encroaching winter blizzard, and the sporatic rioting in the capitol due to unrest- we arrived. Some might call this type of travel risky or irresponsible, but after praying about it feeling affirmed that this was the right thing to do, we boarded the plane from JFK on the morning of December 26th bound for Port-au-Prince.