Saturday, February 19, 2011
Haiti First Impressions
Our Foundry United Methodist Church volunteer group just arrived yesterday in Port-au-Prince. As we jostled along the bumpy streets , sweating out the DC rat race and in the Haiti heat, it was wonderful to hear the team's reaction to experiencing Haiti for the first time. Here are a few of the observations:
Mark: Haiti is full of life: barking dogs, crowing roosters, car alarms at 3 in the morning, sellers peddling goods in the market, artists showcasing their colorful paintings. I hope to listen this next week and be a part of the wonderful community of this church and of Mellier.
Margaret: For me, the main thing is community. My first impression is that there is an importance of community here. I know that at least a dozen of the children in Mellier have lost their parents after the earthquake. From what we have heard, the community their has really embraced those children and is helping to raise them. I'm looking forward to witnessing this first hand. Second, for our own Foundry group...I feel like we are part of a larger system.
Doug: The American and Haitian methodists we've met so far have been incredibly friendly. I'm really looking forward to seeing the other parts of Port-au-Prince, especially where the center of the earthquake destruction has happened. And, I'm eager to arrive in Mellier, and see what rural life in Haiti is like compared to the city. From what I've heard, it seems like there's big divide. Fresh air sounds good as well.
Laurie: I was impressed with Petionville. Restaurants are running, some people are working. People are kind and friendly and seem to really be helping one another. At least some good things are happening. To each person whom I said "Bonswa," everyone responded with a smile on their face. I came across a few people selling art on the street. My impression of them was that they were extremely kind, very educated (tri-lingual!), very friendly. After talking for a while, I was able to ask them where they were the day of the earthquake. They were thankfully outside, getting some sun and laying up against a building. The ground started shaking right before their eyes and they ran for safety. Thankfully, they were alright. I look forward to getting to know people better throughout the week and just listening to their stories.
More to come!