From the Field: Port-au-Prince Haiti
Written by: Amanda McCrowell
We arrived in Haiti around 2:30 yesterday afternoon after some intense traveling. I won't go into too much detail but originally we had a 6:00am flight out of Norfolk which was cancelled (after midnight), so we rebooked a 7:20am flight out of Richmond. Brutal, I know. However, the other person traveling to Camp Jake from Norfolk, Kelly, was really great and recruited her Dad's SUV and generosity to get us there. After that, everything felt into place as planned.
Once we arrived in Port-au-Prince things got crazy, which we were warned they would. Not in a bad way, but in a OPEN YOUR EYES sort of way. They have one carousel for luggage and then a big open area where bags just are put out for pick up. There are so many people hoping to provide service to arriving travelers the minute you walk in. Our group had a ton, and I mean a ton, of bags. People brought all kinds of snacks, games, and gifts for the campers which led to over 20 suitcases for about 10 counselors. We loaded them onto an open truck, hopped into two vans, and made our way to the Kaliko Beach Club about 2 hours away.
Kaliko Beach is amazing. We are staying in colorful bungalows that are so close to the ocean that I could hear it as I fell asleep. The food has been different from the states but good so far, things taste so fresh- even the juices are made on site. Everything about where we're staying is much nicer than what I expected... which I felt weird about at first. I guess I felt like we were coming to a third world country and it seemed odd that we'd be spending our time at one of the nicest resorts in the area. I wasn't sure how that would help us understand and relate to the true poverty right down the road. And then I understood. It's not about us- it's about the orphans coming from St. Vincent's and what this experience will be like for them. The campers that are coming here tomorrow are the ones at St. Vincents that do not have families to visit or a place to go when school is out, so they are coming here for their summer break. Their comfort, interests, and needs are at the root of every plan in place for the next two weeks. I have never met a group like this group. Tom, the camp director has thought of everything. He has purchased and planned for things I would have never thought to bring for or do with the campers that will make their time here and their perception of themselves that much more special. I wouldn't even know where to start with examples, but I'll try. I think as things come together and I share the stories with you it'll be easy to see what I mean.
For now feel free to also follow The Red Thread Promise's blog, as Sonya is blogging consistently from Haiti during the trip.