I live here...
It's becomming more and more real to me that I live here now. That's kind of a strange concept for me to wrap my head around. My days are filled with normal "I live here" things like cleaning my room and doing laundry. Ok, to be honest, there is somewhere here who is going to do my laundry...so technically, it's not be...but it needs to get done, which means that I've been here longer than what I could pack in a suitcase.
The roads in parts of the town that I hadn't been in much before are becomming familiar. I'm assimilating a little more to the pace of life here. I have as much of a routine as can be expected and I have legitimate friends that I hang out with. It's life...in Haiti.
This past week I spent time trying to get a passport for a little girl who is trying to get a medical visa. Oh man, there are not enough words for me to express how frustrating this task is. It seems it takes me an entire day to just accomplish ONE task that brings a little bit closer to actually getting the passport. The hard thing is that instead of calling a governmental office and getting an answer, I have to get in a car, drive 35 minutes through PAP traffic (on a good day...a bad day it's an hour), fine a place to park near immigragion, hoof it up the road, push through lines of people, get to the office I need to get to, and then wait 2 hours in a room where no one knows the system (not that there is one), and then THINK I'm finally going to get the passport, only to be turned away because we're missing some piece of paper, or something is spelled incorrectly. Good gracious. BUT, this is the process, and this is how it goes. I'll be trying again on Monday. Hopefully we'll be successful, and then we can move on to the US embassy for the visa.
I also got to do some great stuff with my HMP work. I was able to see a woman's house that we are financing the rebuild on. It's getting close to being done. She and her family are still living ina tent. And I got to spend time with another friend who has sponsors for his sisters to go to school through the HMP. I was able to pay the school registration fees and first semester tuition thanks to generous sponsors of the HMP who make it possible for kids to go to School.
I also got to go out to dinner at a nice little restaurant in town. It's funny...you never know what food they will actually have on hand that the menu lists, and it takes forever, but it's pretty decent when it's all said and done. I even got to have a glass of wine and some ice cream. It was fantastic. Thanks to my new friend Kim for taking me out, it was a great treat!
If you were watching the news you may have seen that there was a big storm in Haiti yesterday...I think they were calling it a tropical storm microburst or something like that. It truly came out of nowhere. I've never seen anything like it. I was inside a restaurant with a friend and all the sudden you could see dust swirling up into the sky, all the way into the trees. The trees were bending in the wind, and then rain came...it POURED. It was incredible. And cold! I had goosebumps. Yep...goosebumps in Haiti. The hard reality for me, is that I witnessed a freak storm. I was indoors and had a car to deliver me from the restaurant to my home. I had a roof over my head and walls to protect me from the crazy. I can't imagine how it hit those living in tents. It's in moments like this that it's easy to see how unacceptable the tent cities are as permanent living conditions. These are not homes. Apparently some people died in one tent city. I'm in a bit of a news vaccuum so I don't know specifics. I wish I could give everyone a home...but it's just not that easy. I don't think it's ever "that easy" when it comes to Haiti, and serving in Haiti, and bringing relief, and helping development. Let's face it, if any of us REALLY had the answers we would have fixed this already. But the answers aren't easy, and so the struggle continues. My struggle of trying to wrap my head around helping seems pretty insignificant next to the struggle of those who are trying to do life in the midst of such difficult situations. Yeah, I gave up my cushy life in the states for 6 months...i don't have access to everything I'm used to having...and there are SOME sacrafices...and yet, when I look at my life here, it's a pretty cushy Haitian existence. I continue to see how I am blessed beyond measure and try to figure out ways to help, without doing more harm than good. It's a challenge I'm ready and willing to take.