I'm back from Port au Prince.
I don't know what I was expecting, but what I saw was different from what I expected. What stood out to me is different than what I thought would stand out to me, or anyone.
We drove down on Tuesday. The plan on Monday night was to leave at 8 in the morning. At noon Dr. Manno actually had to find me so we could leave - I guess I'm slowly becoming Haitian.
We arrived in Port Tuesday night and stayed at Manno's friends house - such gracious hosts.
Port looked different than what I expected. I guess I expected the landscape and city to look like the north and Cap-Haitien. It doesn't at all. What stood out to me was not the collapsed buildings, but the disparity between Cap and Port, pre-earthquake. The quality of roads compared to here is unbelievable. They had paved roads, with traffic lights, with somewhat orderly traffic. That's what stuck out to me.
Wednesday morning we met up with a delegation from the Evangelical Covenant Church and some reps from Medical Teams International. We made the long trek out to Leogane - near the epicentre of the quake to see a static and mobile clinic, and then came back to Port to see a school that has been converted into a crisis relief coordination centre. At the end of the day it was back to Max's for the night.
Thursday am, we arrived at the airport around 8 and by 8:30 I was on my very own plane back to Cap in 30 minutes. Yep, life is bizarre here.
My friends came to pick me up shortly after I arrived at 9 and the intent was to come straight back to Limbe, but we decided to check and see if a letter was ready at the government building for the release of some supplies that were shipped to us. So, we drive to one gov't building, wait for about 20 minutes, get the letter and then head back to the airport.
We get to the airport, and customs tells us that we need to get the letter authorized at another gov't office. So we drive back into the city to this office. We meet with some official for about 30 minutes in a nice air conditioned office to be told that we need to attach a list of what the contents of the shipment is. So, we get that and he signs the letter. Then we need to go to a 3rd office for another stamp. Once there, they decided they want a photocopy of my ID in order to release the boxes - cause I guess they are more comfortable releasing the boxes to a Canadian??? Anyways, we finally get everything stamped. By that time it's one o'clock and we're hungry, so we grab lunch at the local fast food joint before going back to the airport for the third time that day.
We get to the airport, give all the documents and they finally bring out our boxes. Before we could take them, they of course had to take a few things for themselves. We load up the truck and start our way back, almost. We get a phone call asking us to pick up a student to bring back to Limbe. So we wait another hour to get her and then finally head back home arriving around 4:30. I had left Port at 8:30 in the am - I could have gotten home faster driving.
Oh well, just another example of how nothing goes as planned and everything is just so much more difficult in Haiti.