Trip Start Jan 29, 2009
11Trip End Feb 08, 2009
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We arrived in Port Au Prince and went around the city a different way. We saw several more UN vehicles and then we drove by the port. There were many guard towers and men with guns on lookout. The traffic was slow but not nearly as bad when we were trying to get out of the city. We drove by City Soleil which is one of the worst slums in Port Au Prince. I have never seen anything like it. There were very small shack houses stacked up against each other in the most confusing and winding maze I have ever seen. People were everywhere and a lot of visible trash in the streets. After passing City Soleil, we pulled into Laurent's soap making business which was secure. We got a quick tour on how to make Haitian soap which was really unresting and not what I expected. We repacked our bags into a secure truck for the rest of the drive through Port Au Prince and to the airport. We had to quickly say goodbye to Joseph because there wasn't enough room for him to go. We drove to the airport and there were people desperately trying to grab our bags and carry them into the airport for us.
Amongst the chaos, we quickly said goodbye to Junior and Laurent and we went through what would be the first of about five security checkpoints and metal detectors before arriving at our gate. I began to feel sad for many reasons. I felt honored to work with such an amazing team of people. We really got to know each other after spending so much together. Everyone on our team worked so well together and the addition of Joseph, Junior, and Laurent (Tout Bagay) just topped it all off. They took really good care of us and we couldn't have done it without them.
It was hard to the leave the people of Les Anglais in general after spending some intimate time with them. I have traveled a lot but this was a whole different experience for me. We were so embedded in the community and we went to people's houses to interview them which provided an opportunity to really get to know them and their daily struggles. It was amazing to learn more about the Haitian culture. Haiti is a beautiful country and the people were amazing. I was touched by their ability to adapt to all of the challenges and adversity life brings on a daily basis. It always makes you think about how easy our lives are in the states and it is hard not to feel guilty or wonder why?? As we flew out of Port Au Prince, I realized that I wasn't ready to leave Haiti. I began to feel tears in my eyes...I couldn't believe how sad I was to leave. My only wish is that I left a fraction of the impression on the people of Les Anglais as they left on me. It was an amazing journey and I hope to return to Haiti sooner rather than later!!
We were able to get in touch with a medical team that was going down to the area a week later to share our experiences and some of our preliminary health findings. We also informed them of some of the health issues we saw in different areas. They just returned and we have a conference call set up with them next week to discuss our findings and what they saw. They plan to return again in the future. We have also learned that someone has donated enough money for us to drill another well north of town in-between Digue and Constant which was the areas where the people were getting water out of the irrigation canals. They chose this location based on our health survey information and recommendation. That alone made the trip worth it for me!!