Ke Kontan

Ke Kontan

Monday, 25 July 2011

Weekend in Leogane

Friday night we finished at the hospital around 8:30.  We took a Moto back to the guest house. It was my first time riding a Moto in Haiti.  I was scared at first due to the conditions of the road, the darkness, and the crazy Haitian drivers but I ended up having a blast !  When we got back to the guest house we had dinner.  We had chicken, liver, plantain, and rice.  After dinner Rigan and I went up to the roof of the house to enjoy the view of the mountains and the stars.  When we got back inside I went to get my clothes to change and when I put my hand in the bag I was bit by something.  I noticed a pile of aunts surrounding my bag.  I looked inside and it was full of ants, including all of my clothes.  The ants had even chewed a hole through my bag.  We spent about an hour going through my bag and getting all of the ants out of my clothes.  I can't even tell you how many ants we killed, the floor was covered in them.
Although I was exhausted, I had trouble sleeping.  I could not stop thinking about the two little babies at the hospital and wondering if they would make it through the night.  Thankfully they did. 
We were up and ready to go by 8 am.  We went for breakfast at Epi Dor which is a very nice restaurant.  There were quite a few "blancs" there which was unusual to see.  We had Crepes.  After breakfast we met up with Dr. Gousse and her daughter.  She is a very nice lady and I am looking forward to my stay with her.  Rigan and I then walked back towards the hospital where we found a tap tap.  We had to take two tap taps to get to the bus station.  I was very tired and was finding it hard to stay awake.  I drifted off a few times.  When we got to the bus station we took the "Obama" bus to Leogane.  It usually only takes 45 mins from Port Au Prince but due to traffic it took us two hours.  It was a beautiful drive along the water.  When we arrived in Leogane the first things I noticed was how green it was and all of the small villages.  It reminded me a lot of Ghana.  After getting off of the bus we walked through the earthquake ravished town.  Rigan pointed out where things used to be and what the land was used for before the earthquake.  He showed me where his old highschool used to be, there are only bleachers remaining and it is now being used as a tent city.  After walking for about ten minutes in the scorching heat we decided to take a Moto (thank God). We finally arrived at Rigan's house and I was introduced to some of his brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews.  They are all living on the same property but they are too afraid to stay inside the cement house because they are worried that another earthquake may hit.  They live in the backward in wooden huts with tarps over them.  Rigan is the only one brave enough to stay in the house.  You can see all of the cracks from when the earthquake hit but a group of NGO's had offered to fix the cracks for Rigan.  There is nothing left inside the house except Rigan's dresser, air matress, fan, and some of his clothes because when the earthquake hit it took off the door and people came in and stole his family's belongings.  I was exhausted when we arrived so I decided to take a nap.  After napping Rigan bought us some food from a street vendor.  We had pork & plantain and for desert we had corn and canep (type of Haitian fruit).  It began to rain in the afternoon.  One of Rigan's younger brothers had asked to borrow the soccer ball because he and some friends wanted to play a game in the new field that they had created.  I asked Rigan if we could go play with them.  On our way to the field we walked through some small villages then took a Moto to the field.  The field is located in the middle of a voodoo village where Rigan's birth mother is from.  The village is very poor, most of the children had never been to school, and the soccer field.. well.. if no one had told me it was a soccer field, I never would have known.  When we arrived there the boys were in the process of cutting down palm trees with machetes to use them as goal posts.  They tied string at the tops to show where the net was.  They are very creative.  The younger boys were shy at first but by the end of the night I could not get them off of me.  I let them play with my phone and my camera, they took over 200 pictures and were laughing the entire time.  One little boy- probably about 3 came and sat on my lap.  He was all by himself and had just wandered off from the village.  He fell asleep in my arms and his mom ended up coming to get him and she would not stop thanking me.  She sat and talked to me for awhile (while at least we attempted to talk- luckily one of the little boys helped to translate).  In the middle of the field there were 3 horses, so of course, the field was covered in horse waste.  I had a lot of fun playing with the boys and was sad to leave them.  We walked through their village and stopped at a little hut made of tin.  Inside they had set up cables and a TV, it was there movie theatre.  It was very interesting to see.  I sat and watched with them for awhile while Rigan tried to find us a Moto to take back home.  When we got home we changed and then left again for dinner.  It was pitch black out by then and I had never traveled anywhere in Haiti after dark.  I was a little concerned, but of course everything went fine.  We went to a restaurant called "Pretty Lady" it was an outside restaurant and very nice. The food was good as well.  When we were finished eating we went to Rigan's brothers nightclub where the All Hands Volunteers are stationed, they camp on the top of it.  We sat and had a beer with Rigan's brother and his children.  His children live in the states so it was fun talking with them !  We left the nightclub around 10:30 and took another Moto back to Rigan's house.  I took a bucket shower then headed to bed. I slept very well that night.
We woke up around 6:30 and I was covered in bug bites.  I had forgotten to pack bug spray as well as sunscreen and running shoes.  I took another bucket shower and got ready.  We had soup for breakfast, it is a famous dish in Haiti and is eaten on new years.  It is supposed to be very good for you.  I was skeptical at first but it was delicious.  We left the house around 8 and went back to the bus station.  On the ride home the traffic was not as bad and our driver drove very fast !!! Luckily there are no speed limits in Haiti.  When we got to Port Au Prince we went back to Epi-dor restaurant for lunch.  Dr. Gousse met us there with her two daughters and niece to take me to her house.  Rigan decided to come along.  She lives in Petion-ville which is up in the mountains, it is a nice area.  The roads were crazy, and we were flying everywhere.  We finally arrived at her house and I could not believe my eyes ! It is the nicest house I have seen in Haiti.  My apartment is separate from the house and is also very nice.  I have two beds, a couch, bathroom, air conditioning, and internet.  It is completely different from my last experience in Haiti, it will take some adjusting.  Her daughter Ashley is 7 and can speak very good english as well as her niece Vicki who is 5.  Vicki lives in Miami and is just here on vacation.  After unpacking I took a nap.  I woke up around 3 and then ate dinner.  Ashley and Vicki wanted me to play with them.  They came and hung out with me in my apartment and went nuts with my camera and ipod.  Later in the evening I hung out with the older daughter and her older niece who are my age.  I tried teaching them english and they attempted to teach me french.  We watched TV and then I went to bed.  I very tired once again.
I slept well last night and woke up at six this morning to get ready for work.  We left the house around 8 and picked up another doctor then went to Rigan's guest house to grab my luggage.  We arrived at the hospital around 9.  I was introduced to Gladys who runs the hospital, orphanage, and school.  We hung out in Doctor Gousse's office and then Rigan took me to see my babies ! I was so excited to see them :).  Around eleven I left with Doctor Gousse to visit three different orphanages.  First we stopped at Hope Home which orphans physically and mentally disabled children.  I did not get to stay for long, only enough time to say hi to the kids.  We then went over to The Village Orphanage.  It has 54 children !! I couldn't believe the number of little kids running around.  They were so cute and some of them know some English.  After getting a tour and saying hi we left to go to an orphanage located outside of Cite Soliel.  Doctor Gousse had to give the children check ups.  The orphanage is pretty big and has quite a few children.  This orphanage has older kids, up to the age of twenty.  I was given a tour of the orphanage then sat with some of the girls and watched Freedom Writers.  We were there until about one thirty.  I will be coming back to all three of the orphanages often.  Tomorrow I am spending the day at the Village and at Hope Home.
Tonight has been a quiet and relaxing night.  I just received my luggage today from the guest house so I am finishing unpacking. 
I am glad to be back in Haiti and I am looking forward to working everyday.  I will be visiting OREA Orphanage soon, I really miss the kids !
Thinking of everyone back home & miss you.  xoxo

Friday, 22 July 2011

& The Journey Begins

After a heart breaking goodbye to my loved ones back home, I have finally arrived in Haiti.  At first I was unsure of if I was ready to return to Haiti just yet, but as soon as I saw the beautiful Island from the plane, I smiled and when the airplane wheels hit the Haitian soil, I felt a sense of belonging. I was greeted with craziness and a wave of heat.  My flight was two hours delayed due to problems at the airport, we were unable to land, so instead we flew around Cuba and Dominican Republic.  When I arrived at the airport I could not believe the mass amount of people.  It was definitely a different experience from my first arival in PAP.  The line up for immagration was huge !!! I finally retrieved my baggage and headed towards the gates to meet Rigan (hoping that he was still there).  Thankfully he was.  We had to wait for a driver so we found some shade and some water.  Driving through Port Au Prince brought back memories of my last trip. I can't believe how much I missed the crazy driving, the streets filled with people, and the horrible roads.  It made me smile. Although my heart is aching and missing those back home, I know that this is where I need to be right now.  I am staying with Rigan tonight and we are leaving for Leogane (his home town) tomorrow morning.  The guest house is absolutely beautiful and even has running water and electricity.  I couldn't believe it.  Rigan and I hung out there for a bit to cool off and then we headed up to Hospital Espoir.  It is about a ten minute walk from the guest house.  When we arrived we visited all of the patients in the hospital.  Then we got on our gear and headed to the premie room.  There were three premature babies today, however, one did not make it :(... The other two are also having complications, it will be a miracle if the little boy survives.  He is so tiny and skinny, but so adorable especially when I touched his hand and he opened his eyes and looked up at me. Brought me to tears.  The little girl is doing okay, although tonight she is having problems breathing and has a fever, she is also very tiny and so adorable.  I spent most of the night with these little ones.  I don't know how I am going to go home and sleep tonight.  Please pray for them.  I am still at the hospital now and I am completely exhausted.  Rigan just left on the motorbike to grab us some food.  It has been a long and emotional day.  I do not have internet at the guest house, so I will only be able to update when I am at the hospital.  Hope everyone is doing well back home, thinking of you !