Day One in Port-au-Prince, July 19th, 2011

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Day One in Port-au-Prince July 19th, 2011

It’s night time and I’m trying to recap the day…

It’s been an eventful day here in Port-au-Prince.

We are staying at Franklin’s house, where several people live, including a little boy named Andlen, and a little dog named Bouka. Him and his cousin Schnadley were playing soccer when I first arrived, and I am reminded of the 6AM soccer matches from the children who lived in the complex I stayed at last time and how seriously the ti moun took their playing time. Andlen is the son of Gaelan and Feliz who do a lot of the house work including cooking, cleaning, and making sure the water and electricity is running. The house is a large, raw edged, cement structure that has sort of a fort feel to it from the outside. There are openings, but no installed doors or windows. The house has a large front yard, and in the backyard is an adjacent building where there are a few bedrooms, the bathroom and the kitchen. The doors on those rooms are made of black metal and are heavy. There is a large freezer in one of the rooms, and a large supply of bottled water, drinks, and fruit.

I flew in sitting next to two ti moun, one who was a little girl writing about her anticipation of landing in Haiti. I was ecstatic because I got to sit in the window seat and felt a little guilty of my excitement because the little girl couldn’t have my seat….got over it quick when I saw the fluffy white clouds overlaying the deep blue ocean with bits of Caribbean Islands scattered, outlined in a beautiful and vibrant turquoise blue. Passing through Ayiti was unreal..endless mountainous, green terrain, with evidence of water once before, as if someone’s palm lines had been carved into the land. About ten minutes before we landed, a woman in the back started praying hysterically. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

I remembered to record with the Flip the entrance into the airport – greeted by the sounds of an orchestra of voices in unison with drums, what a welcoming into the land of the mountains! After I picked up my luggage, I walked to the exit where the taxi drivers were waiting. They had added more to the airport since that last time I was there, a walkway to the parking lot. A man asked me if I had a driver and I said yes. I didn’t know who was picking me up, but I knew someone from the crew would find me. Finally, a man approached me, “Are you Vanessa?” “Vanissa.” “I’m Franklin.”

Franklin, a Haitian native, Boston local, head of the Haitian Coalition, had been waiting for me for two hours at the airport. For some reason the Miami flight had held us in the plane for a really long time before taking off, and I had no way of contacting anyone to let them know of my delay. Although he had waited so long for me in the heat, I was greeted with hugs and smiles, and got packed into the car and was on our way. Along with him were Evans and Bernard, two Haitian locals, both very kind and courteous.  On the ride, I was able to get a lot of footage of driving through Port-au-Prince including strips of soulful Haitian art on loose canvases hung up on walls along with other goods.

I have met some of the team. Maria, of Funto Salud International who I met months ago interviewing her and others about their work International, a Dominican-founded medical organization that treats Haitians along the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Since last year they have been servicing the displaced here in Port-au-Prince. Laura is a teacher from Somerville, MA and has been working with the children at the displacement camp for over a week now. I will be going with her tomorrow to meet the children for the first time.  Bob is a Reiki master from Boston who has been here for awhile now too and has been working with the children.  Paula and Marlene are from Boston (Paula, a Haitian native, Marlene is from Trinidad) are at the beginning stages of opening an orphanage in a small rural town named Haute Feuille.

There is running water and electricity, a blessing. My last time here we had to use well water and electricity was an extremely sporadic occurrence. Everyone has way more technologically advanced mosquito nets than I do, and has made me think to look into this a little deeper, because it’s probably important.

Yon jou nan Pòtoprens 19yèm Jiyè, 2011

Li lè lannwit ak mwen ap eseye rezume jou a, …

Li te yon jou ranpli isit la nan Port-au-Prince.

Nou rete nan kay Franklin a, kote plizyè moun ap viv, ki gen ladan yon ti gason yo te rele ti kras Andlen, ak yon chen ti kras rele Bouka. L ‘, li Schnadley kouzen li yo te jwe foutbòl lè mwen te rive premye, ak mwen menm sonje sou li alimèt yo foutbòl 6AM soti nan timoun yo ki te rete nan konplèks la mwen te rete nan tan pase ak ki jan moun seryezman nan ti te pran tan jwe yo. Andlen la se pitit pitit Gaelan ak Feliz ki fè yon anpil nan travay la kay ki gen ladan kwit manje, netwaye, epi asire dlo a, ak elektrisite ap kouri. Kay la se yon gwo, anvan tout koreksyon bò, estrikti siman ki gen kalite yon Fort santi li deyò an. Gen ouvèti, men pa gen enstale pòt oswa fenèt yo. Kay la gen yon lakou devan gwo, ak nan lakou a se yon bilding kote adjasan gen yon chanm kèk, twalèt la ak kwizin nan. Pòt yo sou sa yo chanm yo fè yo ak metal nwa ak yo lou. Gen yon frizè gwo nan youn nan chanm yo, ak yon rezèv gwo dlo ki nan boutèy, bwason, ak fwi.

Mwen te pran vòl nan chita bò kote de moun ti, youn ki moun ki te yon ti fi ekri sou antisipasyon li nan ateri nan Ayiti. Mwen te vwèman emosyone paske mwen te rive nan chita nan chèz la fenèt ak te santi yon ti kras koupab de eksitasyon mwen paske ti fi a ti kras pa t ‘kapab gen chèz mwen an …. te sou li rapid lè mwen te wè an gonfle tèt nwaj yo blan kouvri gwo twou san fon oseyan an ble ak Bits kote nan Karayib Islands yo gaye toupatou, ki esplike nan yon bèl ble vibran e turkwaz. Pase nan Ayiti te reyèl .. kontinuèl montay, vèt, tèren, ak prèv ki montre dlo yon fwa anvan, tankou si liy palmis yon moun nan te fè mete pòtre antre nan peyi an. About dis minit anvan nou te ateri, yon fanm nan do an te kòmanse priye isterik. Lwanj pou Bondye! Lwanj pou Bondye!

Mwen vin chonje nan dosye ak antre an la Flip nan ayewopò a – akeyi pa son ki nan yon òkès nan vwa nan UNISON ak tanbou, ki sa yon akeyi antre nan peyi a, nan mòn yo! Apre mwen fin ranmase bagaj mwen, mwen te mache sòti nan kote chofè yo taksi yo te rete ap tann. Yo te gen plis ajoute nan ayewopò a depi lè sa a mwen te gen dènye, yon pave anpil nan pakin. Yon nonm mande m si mwen te gen yon chofè ak m ‘te di repons lan se wi. Mwen pa t ‘konnen ki moun ki te davwa m’, men mwen te konnen yon moun nan ekip la ta jwenn mwen. Finalman, yon moun pwoche m ‘, “Èske ou Vanessa?” “Vanissa.” “Mwen Franklin.”

Franklin, yon natif natal ayisyen, Boston lokal, ki an tèt Kowalisyon ayisyen an, yo te ap tann pou m ‘pou de zè de tan yo nan ayewopò an. Pou kèk rezon vòl la ki nan Miami yo te kenbe nou nan avyon an pou yon tan yo anvan yo pran nan reyèlman long, ak mwen pa te gen okenn fason pou w kontakte nenpòt moun ki kite yo konnen nan reta m ‘yo. Malgre ke li te tann lontan pou m ‘nan chalè an, mwen te akeyi avèk bon akolad ak bèl souri, epi li chaje nan machin nan epi yo te sou wout nou yo. Ansanm ak l ‘te Evans ak Bernard, de moun nan lokalite ayisyen, tou de trè kalite ak koutwa. Sou woulib la, mwen te kapab jwenn yon anpil nan pye nan kondwi nan Port-au-Prince tankou bann nan atizay santimantal ayisyen sou kanpay ki lach Hung moute sou miray ansanm ak lòt byen yo.

Mwen te rankontre kèk nan ekip la. Maria, nan Funto Salud Creole ki moun mwen te rankontre mwa de sa entèvyou li yo ak lòt moun sou Creole travay yo, yon Dominikèn ki te fonde-medikal òganizasyon ki trete Ayisyen sou fwontyè a nan Ayiti ak Repiblik Dominikèn. Depi ane pase yo te oblije kite kay yo sèvis la isit la nan Port-au-Prince. Laura se yon pwofesè nan Somerville, MA e li te ap travay ak timoun yo nan kan an deplasman pou plis pase yon semèn kounye a. Yo pral fè mwen ale ak demen li al kontre timoun yo la pou premye fwa. Bob se yon mèt Reiki ki soti nan Boston ki te la a pou ti tan kounye a twò e li te ap travay ak timoun yo. Paula ak Marlene yo ki soti nan Boston (Paula, yon natif natal ayisyen, Marlene se soti nan Trinidad) yo nan premye etap yo nan kòmansman louvri yon òfelina nan yon ti vil riral yo rele Haute Feuille.

Gen ap kouri dlo ak kouran elektrik, yon benediksyon. Tan pase m ‘isit la nou te gen yo sèvi ak byen dlo ak kouran elektrik te yon evenman ki trè detanzantan. Tout moun gen fason plis privye avanse moustik pase m ‘fè, epi li te fè m’ panse ke yo gade nan yon ti kras pi fon sa a, paske li la pwobableman enpòtan.

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