This blog will outline my thoughts about a recent trip to Haiti.
Visit to Haiti
We started our trip by leaving home to go to Nates at 13,40, arriving at Nantes for 14,20. plenty of time to drink some water and relax a bit. The journey was strange, golden sunlight and a hot, green leaved day, loaded with 50 kilos, I was caring 30 my self. Erin inventied strange names for us all, and Elliot walked a little. Train to Paris, first class. The TGV took around 2 hours to get to paris,emotional day. We were off to the clickety click of the rails, direct to paris. We followed th Loire river until Angers. It's a sunny day, people our out enjoying the leisure of a weekend, fishing, walking, boating,cycling.past our house,cross the loire at Angers.Then onwards towards the green countryside.My wife sleps, she's tired.Past strangly built octagonal buildings,old garages, burnt out or falling down, but most buildings are well maintainedWe go through small forgotten towns and villages, people have their cars open, swallows flying.Cows and church spires, helicopters and skyscrapers,poppies and factories,graffiti strewn wals, old farms, new houses.Into le mans, its the 24hr weekend.Busy at le Mans. Past chateaux on hillsides.This part of France is flat. Eagles in the air.water towers and wind turbines popping up like strange mushrooms.Paris
Into Paris, concrete tunnels and high rise blocks, graffiti becomes more dense, andwe spent the evening with friends, enjoying a meal.Our friends fly to Greece tomorrow,so it's a quite evening, in the sunny boulevards of paris.
14 th June
Up at 05,50, taxi arrives at 06,55. Our frends flat is well lived n, She's comfortable in her mess.Its kind of her to put us up,i'm hungry. Taxi gets to the airoport in 15 or 20 mins,Through customs and security.Quick look around the shops,wait for embarkation.Tiredness creeping in, some problems boarding the plane, but we get on eventually.On the plane there are all kinds of people, witch doctors,tourists, grannies, and adopters,. We fly of. There is a tv screeen in the seat, and it's a mini game/mvie theatre. We go to guadaloupe first, then haiti.30° in guadaloupe.Smell of kerosine, plane takes off and we attck our meals. We both get a bit tiddly on the rum punch and wine.Lots of questions about how we'll manage, i'm nervous but ready. Air caribbean is realy good value, food excellent.
This day lasts and lasts, because we fly with the sun, the day lasts 31 hours instead of 24. 900km/h.Gaudoloupe was hot, tropical,lush and green, we saw volcanoes coming inand mountais.Every insect and bird we see is a new species for us,we've never seen them before.Welcome to the caribean. People's faces light up meeting lovers and family, body language and eye contact.Freshen up a bit,and realise we are still in France. What a strange thought.
21,30 french time, 15,30 haitian time, off to haiti. Air France excellent too. Flying into haiti, we saw fewer trees than guadaloupe, and mountains with eroision marks .Through the airoprt and into a 4 by 4, holding our son for the first time.Tom is amazing.I was full of fear. He doesn't make eye contact.But cake and water and toys change him a bit.Meet other adoptive parents at the hotel. They give us some good tps like avoid the water and take your time , it takes 3 days they said and they were correct.(it took 3 days before he'd look at us)
My head is full of irrational new parent thoughts.We eat, and then go to bed.we've been awake for 21 hrs . We go to bed at 4 am French time( and we got up at 5.50 the day before!)
Birdsong.last night we didn't sleep so much, nerves and disco music. We check his size, shoes and other stuff we didn't know. Caroline is well organised with nappies, ipes, soaps, lotions, cotton buds and clothes for Tom.haiti from the air was full of half finished buildings as tax rules state that if you build, you pay less tax.Scars of poverty everywhere.Hotel basic, food good, cofortable.we need to keep organised, ants in the room heading for biscuits and any food. Smallest ants I've ever seen.The room has bedside lights but no bulbs. Power comes on and off, Today we'll go to the creche for another leaving party.We need to take loads of pictures.Tom coughs, we think its the air conditioning.Heavy rain in the evening.Tom gives me a high 5 and everything he does makes me look, tickles and songs, and dances.He's a bit spooked , so softly.Shower basic but refreshing.Loud laughing creole voices awoke us, its a strange but colourful language.I become very defensive and untrusting, haiti is starting to get t me, but this is just paranoia, we had no nasty surprises on the trip except on the last day.
I relax.We have breakfast and lunch, Harry comes and we go to the creche. The road to the creche is a ravine, boulders and car parts and rubbish strewn everywhere,misetry and hell, people peeing and deficating in the streets, the streets full of vendors trying to sell stuff, arials,coke,meat,fruits,rum,sweets, blatic bottles full of 'god knows what' ,honey, bees(yes, even bees) sweets, platic electric mosquitokiller tennis raquets, and its a real razzamatazz.The crech was smaller than we expected, on the photos it seemed bigger.
I counted 37 children in a space around 0 m square, as well as 15 babies, and 20 adults. All the children wanted to play, to be thrown in the air and caught.The leaving party was strange, the children scoffed down cake, biscuitsns, coke and fizzy drinks,
Coming back I was really scared, with didier and his wife and my wife and three children in the same Nissan Taxi which wasn't 4 by 4 (or was it a toyota?)
We feel judged by everyone,Adoption is poorly viewed by some haitains (why?) but the American and French guests at the hotel were positve and enthusiastic, encouraging. We met doctor, nurses and people doing charity projects, from Atlanta , people adopting too, like us from Atlanta.Haitian streets are litter strewn, with police and UN everywhere.Haiti is Hell, i've neve seen misery like it before and i've been to some poor places.Even homeless people back in France have a longer life expectancy (54)than a Haitain man(46).All the children look smaller than their age, and we didn't see any really old people.The children of the creche just want out of there, especially one boy, who wanted me to play with him. i'll not name him as his parents fly out soon, but he wanted us to take him.The children looked in all our bags, dragging out cards, tissues, cameras, etc.All the children wanted presents, but we'll do this Friday.
While we had the party, the women continued to wash the clothes, and the children, bare breasted in 42°c heat(in the shade)The creche was a big mess, despite the very hard work of all the nannies and carers.The building site statsus doesn't help.Hunger in the eyes. Back to the hotel. in the hotel drawer, I found a yellow pages from 2000, from miami. how useful.