A long day no doubt. Very early morning (3:30 AM) to the airport, which meant getting up at 3. Tammy, you are amazing for driving me there so early!
Everybody got to the airport and our flight from Nashville went without a hitch. That was until we got into Miami. The plane we were taking from Miami to Port Au Prince arrived 1 1/2 hours late so our flight boarded late. Then, when we were getting ready to push back from the gate, the announcement came that there was an electrical issue. We would have to wait for maintenance to come check it out. Anybody who flies knows what that means. Another delay. My excitement was growing and it was hard to wait longer. The issue was resolved rather quickly, though, as far as mechanical delays are concerned, and we were off.
The Port Au Prince airport has been recently updated with some of the money given to the releif effort. We arrived to the luxury of jetways and a few minutes of air conditioning. The A/C was short lived as customs and baggage claim were more of a solar oven, mixed with healthy dose of chaos.
The first thing that struck me as we started our 3 hour van ride to Jacmel were the smells. There were many which reminded me of Africa, like that of the charcoal cook stoves. Among those familiar ones were also some uncomfortable ones; the sickly sweet smell of decomposition, burning plastics, human waste.
People were everywhere, more than I have seen anywhere else. Most people are not able to return to their former homes and live either right on the street or tent camps. The adults and children are afraid to go back to the homes with concrete walls and roofs. The devastation is immense. The magnitude (for lack of a better word) of the destruction is far worse than was seen on the news and the need is still great more than three months later. The biggest fund raising effort in history has failed to get to the people and they are restless.
Our late arrival left us late into our hotel in Jacmel, completely overwhelmed by the sights, smells and sounds of Haiti.