Arriving in Haiti

Molly, our jet black Labradoodle, is up with us early at 3:30 a.m. and is really frisky knowing something is up. Beautiful sunrise at Toronto airport. Toronto looks so green from above.

Sat near a young black couple in the food court in Miami airport. They noticed my Haiti bracelet. We got to talking and they are originally from Port-au-Prince. After schooling in Haiti, they were fortunate enough to leave to attend universities in the States. They are living in New York, just got married last night and on their way to a honeymoon in Cancun. Very sweet and happy couple, very interested in work with persons with disabilities in Haiti and expressed how they want to return someday to help. They represent the very lucky few, young, educated, energetic Haitians who will either escape their homeland or reconnect and be part of the promise of Haiti’s future.

On the flight I chat it up with a Haitian couple about my age returning from holidays in Mexico. Again, part of a fortunate minority but very conscious of hard circumstances in their country. After listening to why I come to Haiti, Remy, the husband, thanks me for my sacrifice in helping the Haitian people. Aware of how little I can do, I can only tell him I am honoured to do something – because I am.

We land in 89 F overcast sky. If I have been cold since last summer through this chilly Canadian spring, I’m not anymore.

Wonderful to see the new American Airlines terminal in Port at Port-au-Prince airport. Sharp picture of Michel Martelly hanging on the freshly painted walls. And lots of  festive Haitian tourism posters and promotional murals. Nowhere near as chaotic as before. I’m singled out for a baggage check by a customs inspector. She rifles through the miscellaneous donated clothes, shoes, gifts and eyeglasses in my hockey bag without protesting. She ends our conversation by telling me in French, “you are handsome,” no kidding. Her assistant translates in case I didn’t guess it : “You’re fine, you look good.”The usual airport helpers are there pressing to make a few American dollars by escorting you out to the parking area. All goes well as we head out into the city to Wall’s International Guesthouse. The clouds are banked high like mountains on top of the mountains at the edge of the city. It’s going to rain, as it often does in the late afternoon and evening in May and June.

But Port-au-Prince looks a little greener, and the bougainvilleas are in full bloom.

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