This last trip down to Haiti was a great chance for me to get a little more understanding about life in Haiti as a whole. On a few occasions, while the team was operating the medical clinic, I was able to head off in other directions and work on things relating to the over-arching LiveBeyond/MMDR work rather than just the medical clinic that was happening that day. Throughout most of the trip, I was documenting as much as I could so that I could later put together some video footage of what is going on in Thomazeau as well as throughout Haiti. Right now, I am working with some awesome people here in Nashville to get that footage together and make a couple of videos for everyone to get a sense of the oppression that most Haitians live in on a daily basis. When those are finished I will definitely be putting them up on the blog.
For right now, though, I want to talk about one particular day down in Haiti that was absolutely awesome. If I am to be completely honest with myself and with everyone else, my trip in to Port-au-Prince during October was exactly why I have gotten myself into this line of work. I love helping others and I think that working in International Aid is so exciting because I'm constantly trying to answer questions that haven't really been asked before. To be completely honest, though, I love it so much because I get to experience and learn about cultures that I would have no clue about otherwise. The trip into Port-au-Prince was essentially just an errand run that needed to be made for the team so that we could purchase some much needed items, and I just tagged along for the day. The sad fact about life in Thomazeau, Haiti is that a lot of everyday things just can't be purchased without going in to Port-au-Prince. This particular day, we needed to get a few groceries to help feed the team members and we needed to handle some financial/legal matters relating to MMDR/LiveBeyond doing business in Haiti.
We also went in to Port-au-Prince and shopped at a depot that I have affectionately labeled the Haitian version of Costco. Imagine a ware-house filled to the brim with 50lb bags of rice, 75lb bags of beans, and crates filled with the most random assortment of American goods you could imagine. You could probably still go there and get a Twinkie (miss you guys) without too much of a problem. I was so blown away by this because in Thomazeau, where we normally work, the only American product you will see is Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola, by the way, is pretty much available in every corner of the world. To see this huge space chock full of things you might see at a local Kroger, though, was pretty awesome.
After all of that, we headed back to Thomazeau to meet up with the rest of the team for the end of the day's clinic. I tried to play it cool and act like these events were just another day at the office for me, but I'm sure my face showed that I had just gotten to have the most fun day of my life basically just walking around the city and keeping my eyes open and mouth shut.