Destination: Haiti

Over the course of 2+ years at my job, I've had the opportunity to travel quite extensively. While its all been domestic and not quite exotic (Washington DC, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Nashville, Tulsa, Omaha, etc.) it is one (of many) aspect I really enjoy about my job. But a new travel opportunity has arose and its international and exotic. The destination is Haiti.

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I have no idea where 2011 went, but in a little over two weeks it will be 2012. Holy hell. Thank god I semi-regularly update this blog and post plenty of photographs. Otherwise I would have no idea what I did for the last 365 days. But now it's time to test YOUR knowledge/memory. If you read the blog, check out the photos, and follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter

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Haiti- First Impressions
11.20.2011 7:00PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: I returned from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, November 19, after spending a week working on a restoration plan for a damaged Gingerbread. I blogged while I was there but was unable to post, so over the next few days I will be posting those blogs. This is the first.

The first sights of Port-au-Prince (PaP) are not pretty. Unlike Cairo or Lima where I flew into the city well after dark obscuring everything until morning, I arrived in PaP under blue skies and a bright sun. And unlike other cities situated on the beach, there is not hotel after hotel lining the sand. Nope, the first sights of PaP as you near touch down are shanty towns. Small structures constructed of corrugated metal panels and other ‘stuff’, crammed one next to the other, is all you see until you land. And once you land it’s not much better. The airport is a glorified prefabricated shed with a handful of ‘gates’.

As though you haven’t been bombarded with enough culture shock in the first five minutes in PaP, an endless tent city, where a lot of Haitians have been living since the earthquake nearly two years ago, is situated right outside the airport. (At this point I’ve only experienced these situations as an observer - out the window of the plane or the van). As we’re making our way to the hotel, I’m looking out the window watching PaP go by and that’s when I see something that I’ll probably never forget. It was one of those moments - I catch the sight of a pregnant woman standing among thousands of tents.

While I’m struggling to understand how these people go on every day, here’s a woman who’s decided to bring a child into this world. In my two bags I probably have more (monetarily speaking) than they’ve ever had or will ever have (laptop, camera, seven outfits…) and yet I see kids running around playing. I see adults standing around laughing. I see people living. And while I know I couldn’t survive a week living in their conditions - living in a tent with multiple people, washing clothes in puddles, scrounging up food from wherever - the Haitians manage to enjoy, let alone, live their lives.

And in the end, that is a beautiful sight.

Check out photographs from my time in Haiti in the Photoblog.
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