After Delta lost my luggage for several hours, 2 delayed flights, and 24 straight hours of travel, I am all moved into my new room in Haiti.
I left Seattle at 8:30 AM for Atlanta, where I had a few hours before my next flight left. I got to Ft. Lauderdale at 1030 PM, and was told that my luggage was still in Atlanta, but would be on the next flight out. 5 flights and 4 and a half hours later, my bag made it, but it was too late to check it again so I had to sleep in the entrance to their airport until American Airlines opened at 430 am. I got onto the airplane in Ft. Lauderdale for a quick 2 hour flight to Port-au-Prince at 830, but storms came in and they had to close the airport for about an hour. We finally got out right before they closed the airport again.
Gena was waiting for me at the airport in Haiti, with one of the NPFS vans and drivers they use to get around. We first stopped at St. Germain, where I’ll be working a lot. In addition to a small school, this is where about 50 children with a range of mental and physical handicaps come for therapy, support and meals. I met some of the children, and saw the pool I will be teaching the children to swim in. They also want me to work with children individually on feeding themselves, as many have the ability to but have never been taught.
After a tour, the driver came back with a jeep to get across town to Petionville, where I am living. In the hour drive, I saw literally 30 Tallulahs- Geo trackers are apparently very popular here. We got to the Father Wasson Center and Robin was there to help me get moved in and show me around the house. It reminds me a lot of a hostile, with a big living room and kitchen area on the top floor. This is the old hospital (the new hospital is across from St. Germain) and has been turned into administration and volunteer housing. The orphanage is another hour away in Kenscoff.
My room is on the 4th floor, next door to a few other volunteers. I have a bathroom inside the room, and a balcony that overlooks the street below as well as the construction of a new hotel they are building next door. It is incredibly loud 24 hours a day, and the noise carries right down the street so it always sounds like the noise is right outside, as opposed to 4 floors down and 2 blocks away. Thank goodness I have earplugs.
I actually get the wireless internet in my room, 2 floors down from where it is suppose to be centered, which is nice and surprising to everyone. Skype works, and I’ve had no problem accessing everything I need so far. It’s very weird that there is wireless internet and a dominoes pizza a few blocks away, because on the other hand, there is no mail system or hot water (ever).
I visited the therapy center 2 floors down this afternoon, and sat in on a physical therapy session. The first was a little girl, probably 2 years old, who burnt her left hand very badly and had surgery recently. Her finger were bent forward over the scar, making her hand permanently deformed. The therapist was trying to get her to bend her fingers the best she could, and even though they told me it was definitely hurting her, she didn't make a sound the entire time. The other girl was probably a year, and had issues with the muscles in her legs. She couldn't stand up without pain or point her toes downward. The therapist was massaging and moving her legs into the painful positions and the girl was clearly in alot of pain. She was able to stand with help, and hopefully they'll have her walking on her own soon.
Tomorow, I'll be going up to Kenscoff with Gena and the kids from St. Germaine!