I was supposed to fly down to Haiti on February 12 but ice-storm Pax put an end to that plan. 3,000 flights were cancelled, including mine — which was sort of embarrassing because I had already told the world and his wife that I was going and hated to go back on my word. So when I suddenly came across another cheap flight to Port au Prince on February 20, I decided not to tell anyone I was going until I was actually really and truly there. Why jinx a good thing? Fingers crossed.
And now I really am actually here! And just saw Port au Prince up close and personal. And had goat stew for dinner. Yes!
Sure, Haiti is a third-world country – thanks mainly to the United States, Canada and France. And, sure, there are still people living in tents from the 2010 earthquake, and a lot of our money donated to Haiti has gone toward projects like building a five-star hotel and getting Baby Doc’s evil rep whitewashed. But today when I did a quick windshield survey of Port au Prince, I also saw a lot of school kids in uniforms going hopefully off to school and a lot of market women carrying on.
And I didn’t see as many homeless panhandlers here as I did back in the United States. But, like I said, Haiti is still a seriously third-world country.
Last night I slept for a half-hour on a red-eye flight from SFO to JFK.
Tonight I’m off to the Hotel Oloffson to hear the RAM band play music based on Haiti’s voudou heritage.
Picture from Universal Postal Union licensed under Creative Commons