First day in Port-au-Prince

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plane.jpgWe awoke early in Cap Haitien to catch our flight to Port-au-Prince. As we took our final drive through the Cap Haitien streets we realized that we were about to say our goodbyes to some people that our trip would not be complete without. Arriving at Cap Haitien airport was a bittersweet moment, saying goodbye to Jose (one of our translators) was very sad but knowing we were such a short flight away from Port-au-Prince was very exciting for all of us. Taking a small passenger plan over to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince brought many memories of just a few days prior when we started our trip, but little did we know what we were about to see.When we got to Port-au-Prince we quickly got on our bus that took us to our new home for the last few days of our trip. After we were all settled in Cole took us on a tour of Port-au-Prince. The first thing we saw was the Palace which is where the Haitian President is supposed to reside, but because of structural damage caused by the earthquake this is impossible. When we first saw this building it literally looked like it had fallen yesterday because of the small changes that have been done. In front of the Palace there were a bunch of posters, these posters showed plans that the Haitian Government has for the rebuilding of their nation.From there we went to the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, which had been completely cathedral.jpgdestroyed during the earthquake. As we walked through the devastation we noticed all the broken windows that were once stained glass, and the massive amounts of rubble that were once the walls and roof of this building. While we were walking around we witnessed the Haitian community worshiping the one part of the church left untouched, this demonstrates the level of faith they have even when it seems like they have nothing.We left downtown Port-au-Prince and headed to Cite Soleil (city of the sun), which is the poorest slum in the western hemisphere. One of the first things that hit us was a smell that was so bad it’s truly indescribable. There was tent after tent that house hundreds of thousands of people even almost a year and a half after the earthquake. At first glance we were comforted by the simple thought of shelter; but when we really thought about the details we realized how hard it would be to live in that situation. A lack of hygiene, privacy, security, and comfort…not to mention the stifling heat and the amount of people confined to one tent would be unheard of in North America.At the end of the day during our debriefing session, what seemed to be the most common thought was how different Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince are. We never imagined to be in two different worlds that are so close together. As a group we are looking forward to getting to work in such a vulnerable city.By Chad

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: May 10th, 2011