The Sights and Sounds of Haiti
Apr 23, 2012
Our plane landed in Port Au Prince this afternoon under overcast skies. The heat was instant and intense. Baggage claim was chaotic by American standards, but seemingly more efficient to those of us who were here last year. As we left the exit of the airport the scene was equally hectic outside as we meet our head porter Jackson ("the guy with one arm") and his crew. They whisk us through throngs of men who want to help us with our bags. It's one "I'm good" after another. We pile into a TapTap that looks more like a paddy wagon than iconic colorful trucks with camper covers that fill the streets of Haiti. The sounds impact us immediately. All around we hear Creole, loud music, and the constant honking of horns that exemplify the Haitian style of driving. Motorcycles roar past us on the left and right and there are half a dozen near misses as we detour through the back roads to Petionville. The main roads are dangerous due to protests around the death of three policemen and are not recommended to travel on today. We pass tent citys and buildings seemingly standing in definance of their surroundings. It's impossible to tell what is earthquake damage versus neglect and poor construction. The diesel fumes are overwhelming. We all have our shirts or spare clothing over our mouths. One pot hole after another. Traffic has stopped and sirens are blaring. They pass. It seems like another hour, but in reality it's another 15 minutes and we are entering into the gates of the Methodist compound. There is relief in everyone's eyes. A few members of the team let out a cheer and we all laugh.
Life in Haiti is hard. We were confronted with that today. Tonight the rain is falling and we are enjoying the comforts of the guest house. Tomorrow morning we leave for our worksite - LaTremblay church.