Kimball with friend
Vermont Haiti Project co-director Kimball Butler arrived in Port au Prince yesterday. Hurricane Sandy, which traveled through Haiti on it's way to devastating northeastern U.S., has greatly impacted both Kimball's travel plans, and general outlook.
I arrived yesterday morning to PaP- 3 stops before Haiti but no delays! Only hitch was my eventful night at a hotel in Ft.L... Thankful for Laurel's help while I sky-hopped to find a place w 24hr shuttle to get me back to the airport at 4am. Finally shut the TV storm news and light at 11:30 but was rudely awakened from a deep sleep at 1:30 to a fire alarm... my room- not the hotel- all was okay but gave up on sleep after. Turned the news back on which quickly shifted me out of my personal woes.
Polene picked me up at the airport and then I settled into my home away from home- Pierrvey cooked me up a delightful treat (he is in cooking school) and Polene made my favorite juice- Grenadia(passionfruit). Does anyone actually think that I come to Haiti and 'work'? Spent the rest of the day letting the past couple weeks and in particular the last few days fall away...Very grateful for Augusta's final hour encouragement for me to get on the plane when I had just decided to cancel this trip- sometimes I make life way too complicated! And more thanks to Augusta for stepping in to the Land Cruiser saga!
"Futbol" in Duchity
I know This is where I am supposed to be- at least for now... As I sit on the porch writing I listen to a neighborhood church singing... music to soothe the soul for sure. Got this Blackberry set up for internet but it's still a challenge compared to a desktop and getting info/news of what's happening back home is difficult. Also: always need to be mindful of running out of battery as you cannot rely on any power- as now. So, I'm feeling out of touch as usual but even more now with all that is going on at home. Earlier this morning we had news on TV of the storm's destruction... I heard several people here offering their heartfelt regret and compassion for what they see is happening there... Perhaps this comes very easy to folks who have been faced with similar circumstances...?
Despagne returned to PaP late last evening from Duchity. The road had finally been cleared to pass on Monday after Sandy had her way there. He said there is still a lot of water in places from so much flooding. He had to stop to do a temp clutch fix w tape and this morning was up at the cracko-dawn to work on it. Last night he gave everyone here a more detailed account of the storm's wake in the mountains.... Crops/gardens destroyed, plantain trees down, many other trees down or damaged and fruits lost. Many many animals died (tethered and no shelter...) Many roofs lost and houses damaged. So, for now people move in w family/friends and have plenty to eat... No one wants to think about what happens next week or next month when this is gone and there are no crops to harvest for market.....
Despagne, Maria and Ysmay
On a lighter note- today the kids came home from school (has a strong American influence) with their carved Jack-o-lanterns and tonight we lit them up. They were a big hit- provided much conversation- and I realized that I am lacking in my knowledge of this tradition to help explain and answer their questions! But it was a lively conversation anyway. Happy Halloween to all!
Tomorrow I hope to accompany Bourdo to a Voudou ceremony he has been invited to (he is Christian but has a strong desire to know his Haitian culture). I always really enjoy talking with him about life/ philosophy etc- he has such an amazing head and heart! Today's chat was quite diverse but evolved into his interpretation of old Marxism compared with new Marxism....Okay- it's getting late and tomorrow is a full day: We will go out to pick up supplies to take up to Duchity on Saturday which now also includes a large donated tent to be used for the new upsurge of Cholera after Sandy, ‘cholera' supplies and 5 more Biosand filters to install up there. Maria and Ysmay will come to visit also- they arrived late this evening to PaP after what sounded like a grueling 12hr trip from Santo Domingo- roads were badly damaged from the storm. It will be a treat to see them- it's been a long time.
And one more thing before I close: I just want to say thank you- mesi ANPIL- to all of you who support me in countless ways to allow me to do what I am doing... I know I may frequently seem quite crazed and stressed but I want you to know that I do LOVE what I am doing! I appreciate- more than I ever say- all that you do for me and your forgiveness and understanding. And- please know that I welcome you and love for you to join me anytime!
As my good friend David says- ~ yours for a better world!
VHP's Donna Thomas is due in Haiti soon; stay tuned for further reports.