Today the very skilled Haitian workers were putting the roof on the house so we (the unskilled-but-big-hearted volunteers) couldn't be inside the house under construction. We therefore spent the morning lolling around our PID home, living on island time. We passed away the hours by playing with kids, holding babies, painting the clinic wall, hanging up a sign, inventing new sandwiches (whoulda thunk a PBJ could be enhanced by avocado?) and meeting our sponsor-children.
After the valiant, ever-patient Pouchon fixed the truck, we piled in for an eye-popping tour of Port-au-Prince. While we've all heard about the misery of Cite Soleil (an infamous slum of PAP) or the earthquake, it was powerful to see for ourselves (from a safe distance, dear families) the tent city or sagging buildings. As we progressed through the port area, we saw the crazy-hectic market and then arrived in the more serene downtown area.
We pulled up to the National Museum of Haitian History and entered into an air-conditioned paradise of Haitian history. The group was stunned to discover such impressive relics as the anchor (yes, the real anchor!) from the Santa Maria that landed in Haiti in 1492. As we learned about the history of the Haitian people (who were the first to successfully establish an independent republic in the New World), we were all moved and impressed by the resilience and spirit of this nation.
Our excursion to Port-au-Prince ended with a visit to the tourist market where one vendor after another tries to convince you to buy their merchandise even though the exact same inventory is available at the stand next door. Some loved the haggling (Jake), others not so much (Becky) but we all came away with paintings, masks and other memorabilia for ourselves or to present to our loved ones back home.
Our long, hot day finished up with a fine meal of rice and beans, a rousing game of cards with some of the local kids and then a refreshing rain storm that leaves us all enjoying the break from the intense heat. We're looking forward to our day at the beach tomorrow and then a return to the construction site for our final two days of work before we wrap up our Haitian adventure.
written by Patrick and Trace