Henry's Haiti Blog: Saturday February 27Posted: Updated:
It was snowing when we left for the airport in DC at 4 AM this morning. I thought that traveling with 700 pounds of equipment to a third world country would be challenging but getting through all the airports was very easy.
When we arrived in Port-Au-Prince, you could see from the air all the destruction as we landed. On the ground – the main terminal was closed because parts of it had collapsed. We were met by a lively band playing some Creole tunes and then we were bused to a hanger to go through immigration.
After customs we were sent out into the streets of Haiti. It was a mess. There were people everywhere asking for money and help. It was very sad and counter-intuitive to keep just walk past them. But if you stopped – a swarm of Haitians would surround you.
We took a small bus to get the L'Acul compound. Driving on the streets of Port-Au-Prince – we traveled through a number of neighborhoods that were completely destroyed. People were roaming the streets. Filth, rubble and animals filled every street we drove on. A thick cloud of dust was constantly in the air.
What hasn't been destroyed is still being inhabited – likely when it shouldn't . But I guess people don't have a choice. I also noticed the large tent cities that have been erected – in the middle of fields, on the sides of streets, in the medians in some cases. It was hard to comprehend that some 250,000 people had died – many of whom were still buried under collapse buildings. It was a lot to take in and puts a new perspective on life for me.
We got the COPED compound by 3 PM. There are three buildings here. I am in an apartment with two other BGF volunteers. When I say apartment – I mean a room with three wooden boxes for beds with an air mattress as a cushion. The compound is on the ocean and there is a nice view.
The COPED directors and their children are very nice to us. Once we got settled – we went through introductions and then had dinner. On the menu tonight – black beans and rice with a side of Haitian slaw. It was good. Then I spent the next two hours editing my story that will air on Monday. After a long day – time for bed.