Sunday, July 22, 2018

The adventure begins!

As I sit on the veranda at the Midwives for Haiti house, all is right with the world. Let’s just say, all is right with my world. After postponing the trip due to a fuel hike that caused rioting and protests in the streets in Port-Au-Prince, we got the green light last Monday that the roadblocks were cleared and it would be safe for us to make the 2 and half hour road trip from PAP to Hinche, in the Central Plateau.

Still, even though our State Department had lowered their travel advisory from 4 (the highest – DO NOT TRAVEL) to 3 (Reconsider non-essential travel), there was still some obvious concern about us going. We even consulted my sister’s neighbor/psychic to see if there was a black cloud over the trip. He only saw a friendly man with an aqua blue shirt, perhaps a helper who would bring us important information. For me, my mind was quiet, without the usual buzz of anxiety 
that precedes travel. We traveled to NY during our now-free week and a chance encounter with the volunteer coordinator from Midwives For Haiti felt like a good omen. As we left a small bodega in Brooklyn, we passed by Bisma, who we had met in Haiti the summer before. Dina recognized her and reflexively turned and shouted, “Zamni mwe!” “My friend!” Bisma turned and recognized us immediately and we all had a good laugh over the tiniest of probabilities that we would meet up at 10pm on the streets of New York City. Our good feelings of Haiti and the Midwives program washed over us, comforting any uneasiness about the trip.

We (Dina, Viola and I) arrived in Port Au Prince on Saturday morning, a half hour before my two nephews, Matthew and Daniel, and their cousin/chaperone, my son, Tyler. From years of hearing about our travels to Haiti, Matthew, who is 11, decided that he wanted to come too. 

So, all year, Matthew, Daniel and my sister, Laura, collected 100 backpacks, school supplies, 360 pairs of underwear, 6 giant traveling duffel bags, over 300 tooth brushes, tooth paste, 100 reading glasses, 8 tarps and assorted odds and ends that would be appropriate for the children of Hinche. It felt easy and exciting to meet the three of them as they descended the escalator to the baggage claim in Port Au Prince.

We loaded up our 600 pounds of donated items on 6 carts and played follow the leader out of the airport. For our part, we brought medical supplies, clean birth kits, 80 Sunday-best dresses for the girls at Maison Fortuné, supplies for our Friday night dance party, bug repellant, baby clothes, purses for the midwives, money in you-better-believe-I-sewed-them zipper pouches, balls for the toddlers at Mother Theresa’s feeding center, hair extensions for the teens, barrettes and colorful hair ties for the younger ones).

Our trip along the road to Hinche was oddly more peaceful than usual. Maybe it was that we had a more mini-bus type experience; 13 people traveling without luggage is a Haitian luxury. Our bags traveled alone in the Land Cruiser that usually carries us as well. Maybe it was that we took a different route out of Port-au-Prince, I feel that we were farther to the east, circumnavigating the heart of the city. Maybe it was the calm after a contentious week of political unrest; the Prime Minister resigned which was one of the demands of the angry mobs. Matthew fell asleep immediately and in 2 and a half, easy hours, we arrived in Hinche.

We visited the girls at Maison Fortuné after dinner, learning that almost all of the children, boys and girls, would be going to an overnight camp for the whole week, leaving the following day. Seeing as just hanging out with the girls was high on our agenda list, we needed to pack in our connections and salutations into 2 short visits. Viola passed out the photos that we had taken in 2017, Daniel handed out Skittles and Starburst. We introduced Tyler, Daniel and Matthew all around. A good time was had by all.

We fell asleep last night fed, showered, exhausted, and content. We are all here - safe, sound, and ready for an adventurous Haitian week.
Checking out last year's photos
New dresses!

Duct tape wallet
Daniel meets Wawa

Matthew finds other entertainment with duct tape

Off to camp!

No comments: