Arrival to Les Anglais
Trip Start Jan 29, 2009
11Trip End Feb 08, 2009
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After a long two days of driving, we pulled up to a river bank. It was the last crossing before we enter the town of Les Anglais. After the hurricanes hit last summer, the area suffered severe flooding and further erosion. The river bank we were about to across was 30 feet wide or so and when we approached, our mouths dropped open. It was easily over 300 feet wide. We stopped the cars and got out to take a look before driving through the river bed and I will never forget what I saw....many of the people from the community were standing at the entrance of the city awaiting our arrival (see the attached picture). We got back in our cars and proceeded to drive across the river bank. As I looked our the window, there were several people bathing and doing laundry in the river. We also saw kids with water buckets getting water for their families. We pulled up to what was left of the concrete entrance (after the flooding) and there was even larger crowd of people that started gathering around our cars. They started opening all of the days of the cars and pulled us out of the car. I stepped out of the car and people started coming up and kissing you and giving you hugs. I turned around to my left and there was a band that started to play and then over to my right was a lot of school children lined up singing a song. After greeting everyone, they proceeded to have a parade through the town to the place where we will be staying (Please the attached short video of the parade with the band and kids singing). I attached a very short video of the parade with the kids singing so check it out. All of the women were wearing beautiful dresses with matching bows in their hair. The kids looked so cute. Right at that moment, I realized how special this community was and we were so inspired to help them as much as possible. I was so touched that I started to get teary eyed along with the rest of the team. It was also hard not to feel somewhat awkward because they are the real heroes. Our lives so easy compared to how they live day to day and plus we hadn't even done anything yet. That will be something I will never forget.
We walked through the city holding hands with the women and I was surprised at how nice it was. They had some paved streets and even sidewalks in areas. There were several schools and a couple of churches along the walk. They even had a nice medical clinic which was built by a non-profit organization many years ago. There was only two businesses that I saw which were very small places with alcohol, canned foods, and various bike parts for sale. Other than that, there were several people sitting on the side of the street selling packaged food and cookies. That was it for downtown.
We arrived at the local pastor's house to find even more people standing in the yard area. We found out that the place we were supposed to stay at fell through so the pastor took us in which was nice because he had a large enough house for all of us. After pla;ying with the kids and getting settled into our new place, we ate dinner. I will be sleeping on a very old and hard cot for the week, which was better than the floor at this point.
Some of the women cooked dinner for us which consisted of rice, beans, potatoes, fruit, and fanta to drink. After dinner we played with the kids and tried the local Haitian rum. We were excited to look at the stars and hang out with Junior, Joseph, and Laurent. We were all exhausted after three days of traveling so we hit the sack!