Hello, first of all thank you to everyone for reading this thing. Well we have a been here a week and it has been quite an emotional ride. Friday, our first full day in Port-au-Prince was spent mostly driving around the city. We had plans for some work that needed done but there was a national holiday so streets were closed off and stores were shut down. Driving around the wreckage was very depressing, it seemed that no one was making any attempt to improve their situation. As we drove through the city, on the roads that were open, it was mostly one-way streets, the other half of the street was lined with tents in which people were now living. In many places rubble spilled into the roads as well. Friday afternoon we were able to accompany a doctor (who's house we're living at) to an orphanage. The kids there were so joyful and just wanted to play with us. We were told that the home had grown from 60 to 150 children since the earthquake.
A little on our living situation. We are living in the house of a Haitian doctor, his family went to stay in Canada with family after the earthquake, he chose to stay here. Another Haitian family has moved in because they lost their home and two year old daughter in the disaster. Also, Joel lives here, he works for Esperanza and is who we work with closely. The Haitian family has four boys of their own and a daughter they have been looking after since the earthquake. The boys are age 5, 8, and 9, and you would never know they had been through such a great tragedy. They are full of energy and love to play, they love to climb on Luke and I the moment we get home. The boys are my role models, I hope to live as care free and happy as them some day.
The living conditions are much better than we prepared for. We have a toilet, but we have to flush it by dumping water in the back. There is electricity a few hours a day whenever the generator is on. Internet is hit or miss, and we're sharing a computer so it is limited. We are living like kings compared to most Haitians, I try to constantly remind myself of this. We eat with the family for most meals and our house mom always prepares the food. She is so kind, she is always offering us something.
Last Saturday we got to learn a little more about the work we will be doing. Right now Joel is working closely with his brother, Tony, whose a Pastor of a church. Together they are organizing with local pastors to get food to their congregations. They have also been working with a company called the Pure Water Foundation, who has developed a system to make chlorine which is used to make clean water. We have spent quite a bit of our time making chlorine. Basically the process is add salt to nonpotable water then send this through a charge from a battery which is solar powered. Then by some sort of magic chlorine is made. 1 Liter of chlorine will make 500 gallons of drinkable water.
In the morning on Saturday we stumbled upon quite the celebration, I guess part of the holiday that was going on. We were driving near the capitol and we saw masses of people so we went to check it out. People in every direction were singing and dancing in Creole. There is a large monument near the capitol so Luke and I made our way to the top, pushing our way up the stairs. From there we could see people in every direction singing and dancing, it was more people in one location than I think I have ever seen. I got a video just to show the amount, but I could not figure out how to post it on here (i'm just not that tech savvy yet), it's the last picture under the Haiti file on my picasaweb, there's a link on the right hand side.
It has been a very surreal feeling being here and seeing all the damage, it's difficult to imagine the city being rebuilt. In some places there are more houses ruined than intact. Every where we go there is people walking and standing around, few have anything to do with schools being closed and so many businesses no longer standing. We have passed a few food distribution lines and they stretch farther than we can see, I can't imagine how long it takes to get the food. I am told that doctors are still mainly focused on life-threatening cases so many who need medical treatment are being turned away. The need is endless and it's important to reming myself to focus on the small things I can do.
Yesterday Luke and I were walking through our neighborhood and we met a few people. Come to find out just a few houses down is an orphanage, called Child Hope. We were able to play basketball with some of the kids, which will hopefully become a regular thing. Talking with some of the staff we were told that they are trying to get some classes going for the kids since their schools were ruined and many of their teachers were killed. They asked us if we would be interested in teach a couple classes a day. I am very excited about the possibility, but nothing is for sure yet. It would be possible because most of the work we're doing with Esperanza is flexible and can be done anytime.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to post shorter and more frequent messages.