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Welcome to Haiti !

=====Well I have arrived !! Well actually a few days ago - internet was down for a bit but now I think I can communicate to the outside world again. It was a bit of a trek – looking for the best deal on airfare can make things a little long however I am truly thankful to Phyllis who always helps me out with my travel arrangements. One of my biggest worries was the airport in Port au Prince however it was much more civilized then Kathmandu. (which really isn’t saying much) Yes people are all over you to assist you so they can make some money – all you have to do is put your “B” face on and they will stay away from you. It was pretty obvious by the time I left the airport I need to practice my “B” face as it ended up costing me $35 US – a little too pricey. Oh I should tell you my luggage was lost - all I had was my carryon.

First thing to hit me was the heat – it is very hot here and it doesn’t cool down at night at all. While the power is running at least you can get some relief from a fan. First thing I was taken to one of the birthing centres as someone else needed to be picked up at the airport later on for a local orphanage in Jacmel. That was an experience – all these moms with little tiny babies – babies here are born 6 lbs and under so many were very small. Lots of the moms were waiting to see the visiting doctor as they had sick babies. Ages for the moms ranged from 14 to 40 something. One mom was in labour and was very calm just walking around – I am thinking it another hour or two it will be a different story. It was an experience to see all these women breast feeding their babies out in the open. It would have made a wonderful picture however it would have been a big intrusion.

The other exciting thing was tasting my first fresh from the tree avocado – they look different and they taste amazing. Hotsauce makes them taste even better.

We went back to the airport to pick up the other volunteer who will be at the orphanage for a week. So we drove through Port du Prince to get on the road to Jacmel. Oh that was an experience and I quickly realized there are degrees of poverty. The tent villages went on for miles. Some of them have been in place prior to the earthquake but since then it has just grown for many reasons. One is that people are scared to move into concrete buildings since the earthquake and prefer to live in a dwelling that they feel it is safer. Another reason is that many people left their homes thinking that if they lived in one of these tent villages they would get a new home or not have to pay rent. The smell is something l cannot being to describe – but think raw sewage and rotting food – and times that by a 100.

Most of the population of Haiti is in Port au Prince – they hope to find employment, housing and have a degree of food security. That really doesn’t happen. Haiti was just classified as a 4th world country – it has moved beyond 3rd world. It is the only place in the America’s to have this classification. The average wage here is less than $900 a year; it has the poorest rate of nutrition, health, education and adult literacy. It has economic vulnerability as there is no natural resource or real economy. And to top that all off they have a high rate of corruption among the police force and the law makers. The country is really kept under control by the UN which is everywhere.

I will be living in Jacmel for the next month- it is about 80 kms outside of Port au Prince and takes about 2 hours to get together. It is on the other side of the mountains and the roads are not the greatest. This area is known for it’s beaches so I will see if I can get out to at least spend a bit of time there. It is dark when we arrive in Jacmel – I am not sure what this adventure will bring but I guess I will soon find out. === ==Your heading here...====

Posted by LiseD 10:27 Archived in Haiti

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