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Back in Haiti, Back to “Normal”

March 3, 2010

Back to Haiti

After a few days of hardly any sleep, visits and phone calls from friends, picking up tents and donations, pulling an all-nighter, and flying all day, I am Back in Haiti.  There are so many people to thank, and so I want to acknowledge all the love and support and donations from everyone who donated their time, checks, childrens clothing, shoes, sanitary items, medical supplies, and loving energy and support.

I dubbed my sister, mom, and Glemaude, a family friend, as being the original members of “the committee.”  By the time I ran around and picked up tents and other items in Manhattan they were already packing, weighing and arranging the donations, so that all the items you have contributed could make it to Haiti.  And they did.

Here are a few picks of the items and “the committee” in action!

Hygiene items donated by Alice Backer on their way to being packed for Haiti...

My sister hard at work...

Ana & Carol, thank you for the childrens clothing and for the women and hygiene items...

"The Committee" I'm hoping it continues to grow...

Back to “Normal”

My flight landed on time.  We landed at the airport and were transported by bus to the immigration and baggage areas where I got all my bags without any issues (glad I didn’t ship them in).  Richard kindly arranged for someone to pick me up from the airport.  After meeting up with the driver and getting past the begging and bag handling, we were on our way to Carrefour Feuilles- back to the Oloffson.  This time it felt and looked quite different.  Although my flight was filled with doctors and missionaries, the drive to the Oloffson from the airport would make one think that Port-au-Prince was in its normal state.  The electricity is back, people are still living in tents, without tents, and on the street, yet the streets were eerily quiet.  There was no traffic.  I didn’t see one soldier (both UN and military) or truck, and felt the energy as being somber and sad.  This city is usually trafficky, loud, and bustling, and now it was just ghostly.  Several people I have been speaking with told me that the rain drove many people back into their half demolished homes, to the provinces, and those that have nowhere are still living on the streets- tentless.

I’m feeling a still sadness tonight and look forward to visiting the camp communities that we served during my time in Haiti immediately after the earthquake to assess current needs and evaluate the situation, and changes.  My fear is that as people begin to get back to normal, the living situations of those who don’t have means will become permanent fixtures.  We have to keep Haiti relevant and keep a close eye on the situation right now.  Perhaps this is just my fear, and tomorrow I will write and post photos of the condition of the people, which was always my concern since the earthquake.

Speaking of the condition of the people, just about everyone I have spoken to today has expressed to me that they are suffering from TRAUMA.  From having to be in their insecure homes due to rain and sleeping near the nearest exit, being afraid when taking a shower, not being able to sleep through the night, and generally living in fear.  Healing might bring some livelihood to Port-au-Prince’s people and allow for a healthier quality of living.  I’ll have more tomorrow.  Until then, thank you for reading, and keeping Haiti relevant by being a part of this blog.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. michellefrommadison permalink
    March 9, 2010 6:44 am

    Hopefully soon, before another penny is spent on Haiti, it’s people, or it’s infrastructure, that America realizes the fragility of this doomed piece of the world. And in a humanitarian position says to it’s survivors there are two options available in which the United States will assist them. ONE: leave the country and the U.S. can put it’s donated money into helping to relocate and to stabilize those people. And, TWO: if anyone who chooses to remain there, to make them aware that the U.S. should not, and will never, help those people again because it is predictable that their country will sustain another devastating earth-tremor-catastrophe in the near future. Remaining there is futile optimistic expectations that have proven to be nothing but a farce. Clear out and be helped, and trash the entire country of Haiti, sell it to a neighboring country for all rights and privileges and use that money to help the survivors. To put a penny more into that hornet’s nest is a freakin’ waste of anyone’s money.

    • March 9, 2010 11:43 pm

      Hi Michellefrommadison. I send you lots of compassion and hope that your children learn from your mistakes. Your contribution to this blog (and other online forums) is a lesson I am choosing to share with viewers. Thank you for reminding us of the brutal colonizers and the racist past that continues to play out in countries like Haiti, and other parts of the world today. I hope readers will use your unfortunate comment as a way to elevate themselves and their children, so that we build stronger futures for our planet. Haiti is in our veins. We’re not going anywhere. We carry compassion for you-for what your purpose and existence represents. Love & Light

    • Rhose permalink
      March 10, 2010 1:10 am

      michellefrommadison, I may be wrong, but I’m guessing that you’ve never been to Haiti. I’ve only been there four time, but let me share a little about it.

      First off, prior to my initial trip to Haiti, I considered myself the last person who should go there. I’m from Ohio… I live a life surrounded by technology (I’m a systems analyst — computer programmer — who LOVES my gadgets)… I don’t like to camp… some people would say I barely speak English and I knew no Creole (and my high school French teacher once told me never to tell anyone she’s the one who taught me)… I’m a “homebody” who doesn’t really enjoy traveling… I’m sure I could come up with more reasons, but let’s just say I didn’t think Haiti was for me. Even though I didn’t know why, I knew that I was supposed to go on a mission trip with my church to Haiti… so I went.

      My first day in Cap-Haïtien, I saw the same poverty which we always see on the news. I felt sorry for the people living there, and really wanted to make it “better” — make it more like home. After I’d been there for a couple of days, I slowly stopped seeing the situation, and started seeing the people. The Haitian people are wonderfully kind, more friendly than any others I’ve met (yep, that’s including you Canadians *Smiles*), and so generous and thankful. I’m not normally a very emotional person, but when I was standing in line to get back on the plane to leave, I wept… I’m not sure I can put into words the longing I often feel to return there, and I spend many hours thinking about the Haitians I’ve met and day dreaming about being back.

      I’ve been back three more times, and my feelings for Haiti do nothing but grow stronger. I’ve also always taken more from Haiti than I’ve ever given to it… I don’t know if I’ve ever made an impact on Haiti, but it’s sure made an impact on me.

      Haiti’s not some cesspool or a waste; Haiti is a nation of amazing people who have been taken advantage of (by their leaders and other nations), and who live in some incredibly bad situations. Getting rid of Haiti would remove one of the most beautiful places and people I’ve ever seen or met.

  2. Jaspora permalink
    March 10, 2010 12:43 am

    Awwww Michelle from Madison you are so smart. Were would all those Haitians relocate to? Are you specifically talking about the Haitians that were in the vicinity or all Haitians from Haiti, because they’re are areas that are still up and running. Trash the country, wow strong words there, with toilet paper or fire? Maybe America can help them relocate here (U.S.) and maybe a few of the survivors can live with you. You must’ve contributed a large sum of money into the funds that were given, thank you.

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