**This was blogged while en route home, I just haven’t had much time to post it until now.
I’m sitting in the Miami airport and thought I would write while stuff was so fresh in my head. I know the next few days will be a blur so now’s probably the best time to get it out.
Before I forget! I checked out my site meter stats yesterday and have to admit, I had some fun doing it. It was the first time and it was fun for me to see who was reading, or at least the location of readers, which is pretty much like saying “Hey, I’m reading!” because I knew who most of you were. I know there are new readers checking out the blog either from searching Haiti online or because you’ve linked from other blogs. Welcome! To those of you that have linked me on your blog, thanks! It means a lot to me that you want others to read this thing. I’m glad our life is interesting enough that you want to come visit :)
Now, on to other things.
We were up and getting ready to go at 4:45 am this morning. I was really awake for about an hour or more before that. I haven’t been this ansy about a trip in a long time. I think Chris likes to be the cool as a cucumber traveler and me, well, I’m the one that wants to get in line as soon as possible, and do everything early etc. It’s kind of like the oil and vinegar of traveling and has resulted in more than one frustrated discussion. This is actually the first trip I’ve taken solo since before we got married. I feel like it’s a chance to bust out for a bit, but then I get slammed with the fact that the reason I’m going solo is because we can’t travel together right now. Sigh.
Chris didn’t want me to wake Olivia up before I left because he didn’t want her to get all sad when we left her at home with Matt. I can’t help it if she woke up while I was standing there hovering over her crib. And it may have had something to do with me picking her up and giving her gentle little kisses and taking deep breaths of her. Just maybe. Honey, if you’re reading this, sorry. I gave her a quick change, held her for a few minutes, then handed her off and we were out the door with no big emotional breakdown, which was what Chris was really worried about.
We had Jean drive us to the bridge, walked across and were in the truck and on the road in really good time. There was hardly any traffic and because of it Chris was able to drive less aggressively and we were able to look around more than normal.
In many places you could see where the water had washed over the road. I was blown away when we got to Kaliko, a beach resort about 25 minutes from us, and we saw that a whole river bed had washed across the road and down the drive to the resort, and into some of the properties along the road. It made me sad because we have friends that live right there and I could now see why they lost 40 feet of their wall. I’m amazed at the power of water.
The worst, by far, was Cabaret. As we started driving into town we could tell that A LOT of water had moved right through and over the road. Whole fields were still under several feet of water in places, and the damage on the other side of the road was incredible. Mud lines 4 feet up on houses and cars strewn about yards covered in debris. There was hardly anyone out on the roads – few people, few animals, few vehicles. As we got into town I noticed that only one roadside stand had anything to sell, and it was just a few belts. I wondered aloud about it and Chris told me it was still early, but I don’t think that was it because we’ve gone through there early in the morning before and there was more happening. I wondered if it was that people weren’t out selling, or if they didn’t have anything left to sell.
Going out of town found me yelling “Hole, hole, hole!” and Chris swerving around what was actually the road falling down about a foot or so. Our friend had warned us about it, so Chris had it in his head, but couldn’t see it the way I did. We got a bit further up the road and saw more damage. The water had come down fast and hard. On my side of the road there were no more ditches. There were caverns. The banks had literally been washed away so I was looking down a 20 foot drop to where people were trying to get water from the small pools that had formed. At one point the road went to one lane as we took turns driving past a place where the road had literally sunk down to nothingness. To my right a building was destroyed and another had completely sunk into another 20 foot deep cavern and was reduced to a pile of rubble. As quickly as we saw it we were out of town and the landscape looked normal.
I don’t even know what I think about what we saw this morning other than the fact that it was BAD. I felt so sad for the families that have been so badly affected by the last two weeks of weather here.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to the airport and was a little stressed when we saw barricades up to make lines that would wrap around and around and around. It was early so I didn’t have to wait long to get in, and then the lines were long again inside, but organized. In fact, more organized than normal. All of the ticket agents were open too, also not a normal occurrence at the airport in Port au Prince. I was in the airport, through security, through check in and through customs in an hour. That, is record time.
Our plane left on time, and arrived early. Miracle. I got up to customs in Miami, expecting it to be crazy. I was in and out in about 20 minutes. The custom agent had to ask me what an NGO was, which was kind of silly, but whatever. My luggage was some of the first off, also not usually normal. Getting to Miami, on time, and through customs, on time, is the hard part. This has been a breeze so far and after the week we’ve had I’m pretty grateful for that.
Signing of from MIA,