28/1/2010 to 29/1/2010
Maybe the trip shouldn’t count as a full day, but I feel it deserves its own entry. The schedule time of arrival at the meeting place was ten pm. I got there thirty minutes late and the organizers where still registering the volunteers. We where suppose to leave by eleven but in the Dominican Republic being on time is never a reality. In the end we finally left around midnight. We got a lecture from a priest/psychologist about handling stress (it wasn’t a very good speech at all) and we waited to see if more of the volunteers who signed up would show up. They didn’t , only 12 of the 20 did.
During the lecture a Haitian national that studies psychology in Santiago told us that based on what he had seen while in Haiti ( he worked for the red cross from January 13 until the 20th) right after the earthquake the death toll will be larger than anyone can imagine (he actually said 500,000!!) He said the rescue efforts focused on the buildings and houses in the main areas but that little help was reaching the small communities. By the time those far away places are finally reached the death toll would probably be higher than expected because some of those deaths could’ve been prevented with a faster response.
Our exodus from Sto Dgo was slowed by the Escogido celebrations. It was annoying (Licey Campeon!) but I understand their shock at such a feat, like someone said on twitter “the last time they won Luke Skywalker still didn’t know who is father was”.
By 2:30 am I was up. Sleeping on a bus is not something I do well. I played with my aunts BB for awhile until we reached Jimani. There we waited a lot then finally got our vaccination shots before getting ready to cross the border
Daylight came as we crossed to a place I was both anticipating and dreading. The drive to Leogane was longer than expected due to traffic but the biggest surprise to me was the lack of chaos on the streets. The TV made it seem like I would find Armageddon there, but I didn’t. I found tent camps everywhere, most of them made out of sticks and curtains or sheets; but mostly it was clean streets full of military personnel and lots of traffic. We saw a lot of broken down homes but they didn’t impact me as much as the colorful buses and how I finally saw a country where most drivers where as crazy as in the Dominican Republic. In the end I went back to napping until we reached the camp in Leogane. Little did I know then that what I would experience in the grounds of the Hospital Cardenal Leger would change my life forever.
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