Dispatches from Haiti

6 May

As we pushed our way through the shouting crowd at the Port Au Prince airport, it finally hit me that I had arrived in Haiti.  We threw our bags in the back of a dusty, beat-up shuttle, and started to weave our way through the throngs of motorbikes, people, and cars that choked up the streets.  I thought I had seen poverty, and I thought I had seen sadness, yet what I saw here was unlike anything I ever could have imagined.  As we passed row upon row upon row upon row of people, of human beings, living in such indescribable squalor, living, breathing, and sleeping in closet-sized makeshift hovels made of tarp and cardboard, my heart begun to break into a million pieces.  I could taste death in my mouth and smell sorrow in the air, and my whole body ached with grief and pity.  The city was in ruins, piles of garbage and rotting filth towered on every street corner, and across every wall that was still standing people had scrawled: Help us please.

Yet among the ruins, there were signs of resilience, signs that the human spirit was still alive amidst all this death and destruction.  There were markets set up within the camps, the women playfully arguing with each other over the price of fruit.  There was a man carrying his daughter across the road, tenderly clutching her as he weaved through the madness of the dusty traffic jam, her hair was all done up in beautiful pink bows.  I am humbled and grateful that among the rubble and squalor, there is hope and humanity, even if it may only be a flash of pink ribbon in a grimy sea of black and gray.

I served enough rich people wine and steak to afford to come to Haiti for a month, where I am volunteering with Hands on Disaster Response to clear rubble, rebuild homes and schools, relocate IDP camps, and do whatever they need me to do.  The internet connection is really slow and unreliable here, so I won’t be able to post any pictures until after I return, but I will try to write updates on a regular (weekly?) basis.

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5 Responses to “Dispatches from Haiti”

  1. Joy May 6, 2010 at 2:46 am #

    Te Quiero Laurita. Cuidate y mantengas fe.

  2. Julie May 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    They can rebuild their homes and spirits, it may take time but keep positive for the Haitians. With many volunteers coming and helping, a ripple of goodness will spread and affect those who are suffering. Remember even a smile matters. love you, me

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