Woke early this morning to our rooster (We seem to have developed a relationship by now so I think of him as my rooster). However, he was a bit early. He started to crow at 2:30 AM!! That was followed by a morning with no internet access and no water. We have found that when traveling in Haiti, one needs to be very flexible. We have a running joke now so that whenever anything does not go according to plan, we say “Well, after all, it is Haiti”.
We did the drive to Port-au-Prince in the morning. We got to see a bit of everything. We saw a beautiful lake.
We got to see lots of road construction. We actually got to drive on pavement for the first time in a long time – we all burst into applause when we first hit the pavement. So nice after all the rough roads in the central plateau. We got to travel behind some UN trucks carrying armed troops. We got to see some amazing traffic congestion once we hit Port-au-Prince. We also got to see some of the very colourful vehicles that seem to serve like buses for transportation in the city.
We checked in, then went to Villa Creole for lunch. This was the hotel we stayed at during the earthquake. Visiting this hotel again brought back a lot of memories. I found it really strange after all this time to go back and to identify the sidewalk I slept on the night after the earthquake, the pool I slept beside the second night, the room I was in when the earthquake hit, and the almond tree we stayed under waiting to be evacuated. I found that coming back to Haiti for this trip, and seeing this hotel again, has brought a sense of closure to me.
We met Janine Hodgeson from World Vision Canada at our hotel. Janine is responsible for World Vision activities in Haiti and Dominican Republic. While we were sitting at a table in the outdoor cafe in the back of the hotel, we saw Bill Clinton walk by!
We later had a more detailed discussion with Janine. The focus was on how FreddyLink could work together with World Vision Canada to encourage more people to sponsor children, and also to discuss some options for additional fund-raising that could be done in Fredericton to support the ADPs in the central plateau of Haiti. We came up with a number of good ideas that we will follow up on over he next few weeks and months. It was good to hear from Janine that the FreddyLink model is one that is of great interest to World Vision, and they are interested in seeing how FreddyLink develops. I really appreciated the openness of World Vision to work with us in developing new linkages and opportunities between Fredericton and the central plateau region.
Hard to believe we head home tomorrow. It has been a tremendous experience. We have all learned so much. I am excited to see how we can grow FreddyLink in the coming year!