Friday, September 18, 2009

Haiti Day Ten

El Rancho is a lovely hotel. The fact that it is in Haiti, though, makes for an interesting experience. The power goes out periodically – sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours. When we arrived in our room, I commented to Carol about the candle on the desk in the room. Surely in America they wouldn’t trust anyone with an open flame in a hotel room and wasn’t that a nice touch. Then the power went out and it became apparent that the candle was not simply a decorative touch. Thank goodness we both brought a flashlight.

The original plan for the day was that Dio and Lionette would pick us up at 10:00 am and take us out for ice cream. We sat and waited in the lobby and at about 11:30 Nancy called to see what was up. There had been a change in plans – and someone had forgotten to notify us. We laughed. In the US people would be frustrated and angry. In Haiti, this is life. Plans change. Everybody seems to just go with the flow.

After lunch we have a lovely free afternoon. Some of us swim. Some go for a massage. The winding down is the point. We’re making the transition back to the US. Our evening processing is comprised of giving affirmations, dinner, and highlights. Affirmations involve each person writing a short note to the others on the team acknowledging something positive that was noticed during the trip. We often have qualities we might be unaware of until someone points them out to us. It is good to articulate these things in writing. Also, we discuss highlights of the trip. This is a particularly good practice as it focuses our attention on the positive things that have happened on the trip. We laugh a lot in sharing these memories.

Now, the only thing left is the packing and the leaving. The travel day will be hectic – making our way one last time through the chaos that is Haitian traffic, navigating the chaos that is the Port-au-Prince airport, and even navigating customs in Miami which is its own brand of chaos. Haiti has a way of getting under your skin. It is simultaneously wonderful and horrible. It is filthy and yet it is beautiful. Coming to Haiti is hard. Leaving Haiti is hard.

1 comment:

  1. Judy,
    WOW! While reading this, I felt as if I was with you on this trip. I also cried reading about Valentina. Made my heart break and reminded me of the twins the military brought in while we were there in 1996. Also brought back the memories of Shirley and the little one she had been caring for that died.
    You did an incredible job blogging about the trip. Thank you so much for sharing.