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Henry's Blog: Preparing for Trip to Haiti

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Thursday, February 18, 2010
Today I got the immunizations shots needed to travel to Haiti. I had to get my Hepatitis A, Tetanus, and DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, typhoid) at the Health Department in Charlottesville. Two shots in my right arm and one shot in my left. It hurt.  Thankfully I had a number of my childhood immunizations and Hepatitis B shot by attending Pennsylvania and Virginia public schools.  I am feeling nervous about the upcoming trip.  I am most concerned – not with going to a third world country that has just been devastated by an earthquake – but making sure that I can get a handle on the technology that I will be operating with.  It's very important that I am able to tell the story about the good work the Building Goodness Foundation people have and will be doing in Haiti.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I now have all the supplies that I will need while traveling in Haiti.  I didn't know one would need so many and such intricate items.  From a CamelBak to nylon shorts and everything in between – I have a lot of new items.  The CamelBak is a backpack that also has a system in it that holds a day's supply of water that I can access through a tube and special mouthpiece while I am walking.  I had to get a number of articles of nylon clothing because nylon will dry quicker than regular cotton.  It's 95 degrees and very humid in Haiti – I will be sweating a lot.  I needed a special pair of hiking shoes with GORE-TEX to prevent my feet from getting wet.  I also have to pack a lot of nonperishable foods to eat breakfast and lunch.  I will be enjoying lunch-to-go's with tuna or chicken for the week.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

At noon today I began taking my weekly malaria pill.  I will take it every Saturday for the next six weeks.  This will make sure that I don't become very sick while I am in Haiti or when I return.  The side effects of the medicine include night terrors, feelings of sadness or depression and suicide.  That's very intimidating.  I think starting the medicine is forcing me to realize that the trip to Haiti is actually happening and that I will be leaving soon.     

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
So I just got done with a blast through course of broadcasting technology. Today I had to learn how to capture video on our new video camera, transfer the video to my laptop, edit the video and then transfer it back to NBC29. Kudos to Sam King – with our production department – for making the training as easy and as Henry-proof as possible.  I also tested my Skype-ing capabilities as well. All of this - of course - was done in Charlottesville through high speed wireless internet.  The big challenge will be doing all of this in a third world country. But I feel that I am up for the challenge. The biggest issue today was actually getting my BlackBerry Tour equipped to handle international calling. That is still being worked on.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I got to shoot our first Haiti story.  The piece will run Sunday evening.  It was a story about preparations, telling viewers what the missions will be and introducing some of the team.  Michael Boggs II will be our team leader.  Boggs has traveled to Haiti a number of times.  He is a supervisor for construction sites.  Louise Finger has been traveling to Haiti and working with Building Goodness Foundation since 2003.  She says the best part about the trip will be seeing how appreciative everyone is for what the team is doing.  It brings a smile to her face.  This trip will be Curtis Hoffman's first out of the United States, first to a third world country and first with BGF.  I asked him if he was prepared.  He responded, "How do you prepare for shock?"  Good point.

Thursday, February 25, 2010.

Still working on the phone issue.  This is a critical piece of the trip.  The backup plan – if the Blackberry Tour doesn't work – is to get an iphone from AT&T.  I have one on reserve just in case.  I spent the day preparing for the trip.   I got most things packed in my duffle bag and the backpack I will be carrying.  I will spend the evening with family and friends before I leave.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Phone situation has been fixed.   I will be using an iphone while in Haiti.  It's 3:30 in the afternoon.  This time tomorrow we will be on the ground in Port-Au-Prince.  I just finished packing, taking inventory of everything I am bringing, and going over the plans for the journey.  We leave for Washington, D.C. at 6 PM tonight.  We will stay in a hotel near Reagan Airport.  Our flight takes off at 6 AM.  I have to be honest, I am a little nervous.  But I think this is going to be a good life experience.