Henry's Haiti Blog: Saturday February 27

Posted: 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.