Day 1: So it turns out the red eye to NYC then onto Haiti is a bad idea. I had my regular full day with the kids on Friday and was running around getting last minute things tied up to leave all day. Then at 8pm Heather G picked up Tiffany and I at my house and the travel began. I had always left in the past when the girls were at school so saying goodbye to them was very emotional - they both cried and didn't want me to leave. With a heavy heart I headed off. My flight left phoenix at 1030 and landed at JFK at 530am, which was 330 in the morning for me. Need less to say I didn't sleep much on the plane and then had a three hour layover. We left JFK at 900 and landed in Port au Prince at 1pm. It is still funny to me when you get off your plane and go through the terminal because they have a live band playing tropical vacation music. The baggage claim area is a bit chaotic as the porters all try to take your bags to get tips. You have to get a bit aggressive with them and be very firm with your cart and your no. Then you have to get through customs and find the midwives for Haiti porter and driver.
Once you navigate through the crowds and potholes in the parking lot they loaded all our bags and we had to wait for two other women flying in. Their flight was supposed to land at 2 but they were delayed and we sat out in the parking lot till 4pm. It was hot but in the shade with a breeze it was manageable. Then we started our 3 hour drive to Hinche. Through Port au Prince it was was much of the same with traffic, people and trash everywhere. I was happy to see that one of the tent cities that housed 30,000 plus people was finally gone and many of the people were now living in permanent structures that had been built. There is really only one main intersection with a street light and it was not working but somehow we navigated out of the city and headed up into the hills.
The mountains are filled with smiling children filling their water jugs, and mothers nursing their babes and women cooking, cleaning and braiding their hair, while some men were cutting sticks with machetes or repairing their roofs, many men were sitting around. Their homes resemble shacks made of sticks and mud and banana leaf roofs or cement with tin roof sometimes placed right on a cliffs edge. The people are bathing in the rivers and washing clothes and motorcycles too. The best way I can describe the scene is the people seem to be scrounging and selling anything they can, from fish to sticks.
We were all exhausted upon arrival and it literally starting pouring rain as we pulled up to the Midwives for Haiti house. We had the tour of the house and all shared dinner. Then we headed up to the balcony and shared a beer and some conversation. The internet is not really working today and the town has not had electricity all week. Our generator has gone out twice since we've arrived. It should be an interesting busy week. I miss the girls and my little Z so very much. I always wonder how I'll get through the week... but when I think about the work head I know I just need to put my whole heart here in Haiti for this week to make a difference.