Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Welcome to Haiti!

Haitiextended its usual welcome, this time in the form of a tropical storm turnedHurricane Sandy. When I say usual I mean that it’s always an adventure;  good, bad or rainy. I landed on Wednesdaymorning after a short overnight layover in Miami. Although the morning wassurrendered to jet lag, I was excited to accompany 3 of my team members to ameeting in Petionville with Build Change, about an hour away (Haiti time). WithJean Paul as our driver and Nawens as our security, we hopped into the van.Upon arrival I was surprised to see the meeting was at a fancy hotel andexcited to see that light appetizers were being served. Although my socialskills were sub-par from the day’s travels, I was ready to learn more aboutsafe building practices and see if/how we could get involved.  We met several other individuals in thecitizen sector and then watched a brief presentation. After our meeting, as therain was getting heavier and night had fully fallen, we headed back to LePlaine. Our van had other plans. We had traveled all of 15 minutes when weheard a loud “pop”. Flat tires are standard here but our rebellious van, withno selection for safety, had a broken accelerator on a steep hill in a lessthan ideal part of town.  We waited withquiet whispers for an alternative ride to arrive. Peterson, whose date night wehad just ruined, came with his pickup truck. We piled in, 6 total, as it poureddown rain.  We left the hilly area andthe closer we got to ground level, the more impressive the rain’s influencewas. The road next to the U.S. Embassy and UN had become a river with waterover Peterson’s tires. An always bustling city was sitting soaked in eeriesilence. As we crossed the bridge over the river, it was easy to see how flashflooding could easily claim lives.  Theoften dry riverbed was now just feet away from reaching the bridge. Luckily,although there was flooding around the gate, we were able to stay safe anddry.  It’s disheartening to think thatmany Haitians living near the river lost what little they had…again.  More updates to follow!

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