Port au Prince, Haiti Day 1, Trip 3

The trip in was easier—every flight landed early every transition smooth.

I sat beside two women who were returning to their birthplace for the first time since the earthquake. Both praised God when we landed at the busy, busy airport safely, and both cried as we wound our way through the new airport, looking through large glass windows at the old, cracked, sad looking international airport.

I waited in the hot sun for an hour for my ride. The traffic is thicker than I have ever seen. Its impossible to get a car near the arrival area. The driver rushed up, apologetic. He had been in traffic for over 2 hours (it can be as brief as a 30 minute drive from the office to the airport.

The roads seem thinner, because the rubble has been gathered in, waiting to be removed. Higher piles beside the road, neat and organized. We ran over the stiff body of a cat, clearly dead for awhile. I asked the driver why no-one removed the putrefying feline corpse; he replied “its just another dead body. And its not a person.”

The team greeted me enthusiastically and warmly. Many of them shared stories of sitting on the little couch in the quiet space, using the oils I left behind, reflecting . ”This room is our resting place.”

Driving home, we passed the tent camp in Plas St Piye; it looks the same. Traffic is a gridlock because there is a band playing a concert. It is strange –there is almost a festival feeling as the music drifts over the trees and makeshift tents and people gathering in the park. Two families face one another, chatting, while they combs their children’s hair. One baby is given a dramatic fro and laughs as his hair is teased. I smile and a slighter older toddle wanders towards our car that is not moving, waving and clapping. I clap out the window and we “air patty cake” until our car finally moves beyond the damp. I wave.

Around the corner I see a red pick up truck, and beside it, a lovely young woman bare naked, bucket bathing in the open while her young child-perhaps 6 years old–tries to shield her from view. She continuously turns from view, but almost 360 degrees around her, there are people. I think of dignity. A tiny child and a red pick up are her shower stall, her privacy.

We pass actual make shift shower stalls-a simple wooden square structure surrounded with blue tarp, and the words “DOUCHE” written on it. I see 3 smaller squares, 3 sets of bare feet on the muddy earth. There are holes, large and small, in the tarp. Privacy.

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