Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 1: Travel, Tour Port au Prince

13 members of the Saint Mary's community met at SFO on Sunday night at 5:00 pm to embark on the second Haiti immersion trip this year. Thanks to all the support from the parents, we checked nine additional bags full of essential supplies for our partners at Na Rive and Sakala. Many thanks go out to Tre and Susan for organizing this Herculean task.


The flight went smoothly and we made all our connections, though I don't think anyone slept a wink during any leg of the flight.  

 
Tired, cranky, and bedraggled, we walked through a slightly refurbished Haiti International Airport, greeted by what sounded like a Mariachi band.  Our spirits were temporarily lifted, that is, until we walked into the July Caribbean heat.  One weather report said 98 degrees, but feels like 120 degrees due of humidity.


Our driver got all 13 of us, including more than 20 bags, safely to our lodging at the Matthew 25 House.  


Our friend and partner, Daniel Tillias, met us at 1:00 pm and we took off for a tour of Port au Prince.  We started with a massive climb to the top of the surrounding mountains, so we could get a feel for the scope of the city.




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We ate some local chicken at the vista point overlooking a stunning and beautiful Port au Prince, words you don't usually associate with the Haitian capital.




















Daniel wanted to contrast the wealth and privilege of the Port au Prince hills, so he took us for a drive through some of the poorest and more chaotic slums of the city.

Garbage everywhere we turned.  Crumbling building, with vendors still selling on the ground floor.


 This women is carrying more than 100 pounds of coal on her head, redefining what we call the "hustle."

 

Despite the heat and absurdity of this chaotic market, we saw this woman sweeping garbage away from her stall, attempting to maintain some order and beauty.
                                                                                                                                                                                 


To conclude the day, we ate a delicious meal at the Matthew 25 house followed by a group prayer. We all agreed that we come to Haiti with fresh eyes and an open mind, and we're ready to take in all it has to offer. Tomorrow, we head to Na Rive, to begin work on our project.

1 comment:

  1. Saint Mary's, thanks for your post. I love following your progress and bid you Godspeed. KL

    ReplyDelete