Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My first week back in Haiti

I am back! In Haiti! At last!

As many of you know, I quit my job back home to come back here to work for the summer. I am hoping to make a career shift into humanitarian work, and since I already know people here, I thought I would come back to solidify my contacts and try to get a job with one of the larger agencies. Fingers crossed!

I have come back as Haiti Village Health's in-country manager. I spent my first two days trying to download everything from my new boss's brain into my own, since she will stay in Bermuda and concentrate on fundraising while I manage everything from here. I was supposed to be based in Port-au-Prince this summer, but things seem to be a little chaotic and disorganized in this city and it's tough for a small organization like ours to break into things here, so we decided that I would go back to Jacmel. THANK GOD. Tiffany and I flew from PAP to Jacmel in those tiny 6-seater planes. It's a beautiful plane ride, as you cross over the mountains of Haiti....except for the IDP camps you see littered across the grounds. They are, as before, everywhere. (It is astounding that this is the case, especially with hurrican season around the corner. More on this in another post.)

As the plane approached Jacmel, I saw our tiny little airport where I spent so much time last trip and I broke out into a huge grin. It felt so good to be back in my city, seeing my friends, running into people I already know. Things have changed a bit, especially within HVH. Jo, my closest friend from last time is in Brazil with his family (but there is a chance he will come back in August..fingers crossed!), and Fredo and Gaby are no longer working for the organization. We have no truck (it's broken) and no driver (he is.....let's say MIA). The guesthouse currently has no electricity, internet or any other guests. I stayed there alone for the first few days, but considering the sun sets at 6:30pm, after which there is nothing to do (especially sans lights), and that I can't really go out alone because of security issues, I have decided to stay at a local hotel for the next month, until we start bringing teams in July.

The few nights that I did stay at the guesthouse were hideous. Without electricity, I didn't have any fans to keep me cool. I felt like I was melting into a puddle while invisible mosquitoes ate away at me. I slept maybe 2 hours a night. My friends tried to hook up a generator to the house to supply electricity, which worked for a bit. I was in bed, reading a book when all of a sudden, the whole system went down. I lit my way to my Haitian cell phone using the light of my Cdn cell phone to call my friend for help. She told me she would be right over. She showed up 20 minutes later, with 5 of her friends, all dressed to the nines, since they were in the middle of a dinner party. I was in my pyjamas. It was 8:30pm. It makes me giggle now but I was pretty miserable then, esp since they could only get the generator to work for 6 minutes at a time. The next day I checked into the hotel.

It's been an amusing first few days, but because we have been running around, trying to get things sorted out for the house, I haven't been able to do much work. Hopefully this will change soon.

I realize this post has been all about me, but I promise the next one will be all about Haiti!

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    It sounds like you have just embarked on part II of an unforgettable adventure! I am very proud of you and happy that you are doing something that truly makes you happy. Trust that I will continue reading these blogs and as you write so well, it won't be hard to be there vicariously..GET a flashlight. And you did quit at the Rotman? Or just time off?