May 4, 2010

First Impressions

   As we flew into Haiti, the destruction was immediatly evident.  As soon as I could see land, I could see hundreds of tents.  Some formal looking, donated by the US or other countries; many made of sheets of metal, tarps, and bed sheets.  In many places, streets and walkways were unrecognizable because of the immense amout of debri.
   We got off of the plane into the muggy Carribean climate. At 7:30am, it was already 85 degrees.  Stepping off the airplane we were greeted by the sound of a local Haitian band playing for tips.  It was pleasant and several of the airport personel were singing along quietly.  As we traveled through the airport, I became immediately aware of the presence of military, many different countries were represented. I felt proud to see Us military men and women, a part of a worldwide effort.
   We were met outside the airport by one of our trip leaders, Marcio.  He apologized for running late, sharing with us that he had been stopped by the Haitian police.  They tried to take him to jail for not having a certain permit, but he refused to go stating that that the government is crooked and trying to get his money.
   As we rode through the streets of Port-Au-Prince, the poverty was overwhelming.  It was unreal to see the effects of an earthquake that lasted only 45 seconds.  There were buildings that were missing a balcony or pillars on the outside.  Buildings that were cracked down the middle and half or more of the building was missing-an unlivable mess.  Sometimes, we saw only a plot of gravel, the ghost of someone's home or business.  We passed through and area of town where many donated clothes from all over the world were put in massive piles on the ground.  For an entire city block or more, this scene went on. Men, women, and children rumaged through the generous donations.
   When we finally arrived at our base, I could ponder - this whole earthquake thing was worse than I thought.

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