(I apologize there are so few pictures. It's taking so long to upload them, and now that I was able to finally get on, I want to work fast before I lose the signal. I promise I'll post Morepictures as soon as I can.)
We arrived in Port Au Prince, Haiti around 9:30 this morning (Friday), and somehow we managed to get through immigration and customs by 10:30 (AM, not PM). Everything went really smoothly, which started us all off on the right foot.
But we were exhausted. Our flight from Indianapolis actually left at 5:00 Thursday night, taking us to Dallas, where we had a fairly short layover, and then sat on the plane for over an hour waiting to take off for Miami. By the time we actually got there, we had all of two to two and a half hours to actually get any rest. Some of us chose to get showers instead of sleep.
So…people like me got all of a half hour of sleep before boarding the plane to Haiti.
When we got here we were greeted by Haitian music initially, and then as we stepped out, a bit of culture shock. Haiti is like no place else, a country so devastated by poverty and leveled by the earthquake two years ago.Tent cities are still commonplace. No clean water. No major stores. No fast food or restaurants. So many of the little shops seem to be run out of shacks. Schools, churches—everything is run down and crumbling.
And then we stopped by a site of mass graves, one of the most tragic reminders of the earthquake.
We were, as one, deeply moved and saddened, letting our breaths slow and our minds absorb the significance of what we were seeing.
After an hour long, bumpy bus ride in the heat with intermittent honking of a blaring bus horn that caused us all to jump out of our skins, we arrived in our compound in St. Ard.
Despite our dragging feet, right away we got to work, unloading and unpacking luggage to remove medicine. We also unloaded medicine and food from the shipping container sent ahead a couple months ago. As if we’d been working together for twenty-four days instead of less than twenty-four hours, we worked as a team to organize and set up the pharmacy and the kitchen. We also took tours of the clinic facilities within the compound, oohing and ahhing over the new dental equipment provided by Paul, one of our team members. Seriously, chairs that lean back. So at least during the clinic in this compound, we won’t have to hold patients’ heads during their dental procedures. We also got a look at the brand new prosthetics center that was just built and is in the process of getting going.
Amazing stuff, guys.
The heat is tolerable, not the sticky rice kind, but the overwhelming dry roast kind as you as you stand in the sun. But we quickly acclimated. Mostly, because of these guys.
Already, Haiti has stolen our hearts.
Can you tell?