I am not sure how many blog posts I’ll write about Haiti… but there will be at least a couple. It’s taking a while to process everything in my head, and with the recent earthquakes in Chile and Japan I am very emotionally drained.
I met up with the group in Santo Domingo. It was nice to see familiar faces waiting for me in the airport when I arrived. Commercial flights to Haiti did not resume until half way into our trip – so we had to bus across the border from the Dominican Republic.
We were stopped along the way into Haiti by a demonstration in the street by local high school students. The government built them a poorly constructed school and they were worried about it collapsing like the schools in Haiti. Traffic was stopped for about an hour and a half. This did not stop post of the cars from turning a two lane road into a 5 or 6 lane road trying move around them. The police finally came and broke it up using tear gas. The students reconvened 1/2 a mile up the road – at which point they started throwing rocks at the passing vehicles. One of our buses got through, but the other one did not. We had to wait another 15 minutes or so to pass. After that we made it in to Haiti without any problems. Easiest border crossing ever.
As soon as you approach the city limits of Port-au-Prince the tent cities start popping up. Any empty space is filled with tents. Some people were lucky enough to have a military tent or a camping tent. We even saw a few Shelter in a Box tents. The median between the highway had tents lining it. With an estimated 2 million people homeless you can’t look far without seeing a few thousand tents. Most of the homemade tents are made from tree branches and bed sheets. We did see a few with tarp roofs or aluminum siding walls, but those were not the majority.
The frames for the tents
Looking past the tents we started to see the collapsed buildings. Buildings half collapsed or even leveled. Every street corner you could see something that was destroyed. Our first stop was to the Royal Palace to drop off a missionary we met in Santo Domingo who needed a ride into Port-au-Prince.
We then drove through parts of the city on our way to the OMS International Villa Ormiso Hospitality Center where we stayed while in Port-au-Prince
We settled in and started organizing the medications and wound care supplies to take to our first clinic in the morning.
I’ll write about the medical clinics tomorrow and more of the trip…
Off to have delicious food with Jacie and Tracy, hopefully watch the Men’s USA Hockey team win Gold and spend sometime with an unfinished sock.