Sunday, January 25, 2015

Back from Haiti

I'm home from visiting Haiti for the day job. Grueling trip. This photo sums up the trip. This is a public street in Cap Haitien, but vendors set up their wares on the street, spilling over past the sidewalk. It's so narrow and claustrophobic, and yet our truck navigated down this street. No choice. We drove down this street... and made it...with much patience, yelling in Creole and having the vendors move their wares.

It was nerve wracking and exhausting, being in that kind of restrictive, tight space.

Haiti is a challenge for me. The country is very poor, but colorful. Loud, crowded and bustling. And there is the poverty that is my day job. Seeing that level of suffering, well, I've done this for 21 years, but each time, it gets to me until it's time to leave and then I am quite glad to return home.

They expanded the airport in Cap and it is wonderful to fly directly in and out, instead of having to fly into Port au Prince and take a small plane north. American Airlines upgraded the airport, and it's shiny and new. You land and then they have buses to shuttle you to the terminal, a short walk, but they insist on the buses.

Leaving was a real challenge. The system was down so they handwrote our boarding passes. And then the real fun started. As I put down my backpack to run it through Xray, my passport was handed over to a security guard.

I had to dump everything out of my backpack for investigation. Okay, I understand. Random check. No problem.

Then the female security agent patted me down. Thoroughly. I mean, she checked my butt twice. Twice.  When she finished, I felt violated. But what do you do? You laugh and move on and make jokes with your coworker about tipping the TSA agent a dollar. They punched my boarding pass with a little star and I waved it at my coworker and said, "Look! My butt gets a star!"

I'm glad to be home. Very glad. It's going to take another day or two to recover because I'm so exhausted. I'm getting back to work on final edits for Obsession, and losing myself in my books, and places where poverty and suffering do not exist.

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