Sunday, February 5, 2012

Journey to Haiti - Day 1

We arrived in Haiti this morning sometime after 8am and as Christina said we hit the ground running! Today we toured Port au Prince including the palace and cathedral. I truly don’t know what to say except that the pictures you see on TV do no justice as to what is going on here. To see with my own eyes is quite unbelievable, heartbreaking and sad. While stopping at the Cathedral to get out and walk around we were approached by many beggars for money. We were told this would happen and to give nothing or be very discreet. Since it was my first time off of the bus, I choose to not risk a riot. BUT, anyone who knows me knows what I say, “Give what you can IF you can.” But in this case it was suggested otherwise. First, the devastation of the city and the ruins of the Cathedral just simply astonish me. But most of all the young ladies (girls) with their babies asking for help really tug at my heart. I tried to talk to them and their children but not too many words were exchanged due to the language barrier but I still looked into their eyes and smiled the best I could and exchanged a moment of sadness. I got back on the bus and cried.
After lunch we went to Camp Adokin in Demas 33, the second largest tent city in PAP housing 30,000. We walked through with camp leader, Genesis and took part in the solar light project for the camp. No air conditioning, no bathrooms, no houses, just tents and lots of people including many children. Here I taught some of the children a simple hand slap game. We danced and even played peek a boo with the children. I felt at times sad, angry and guilty. How is it that people are living this way? Finally, in all of this the Haitian people are joyful and loving. They stand for liberty, unity and perseverance. There is a reason I am here in Haiti at this time. And there is a reason in all of this. One day I will understand. In the meantime, I will continue on my journey and process what I feel each night.

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