A very early morning as our group of six met at O’Hare to catch our 7:20 am flight that would connect through Fort Lauderdale and bring us to Port-au-Prince in the afternoon.
Upon arriving, at first I was unavoidably making before-and-after comparisons from my previous visit just over one year ago—Nov 2009—with what I was observing at present—and of course, with one catastrophic, deadly, devastating earthquake having taken place in-between this time—January 12th is the one-year anniversary.
There was a new terminal at the Port-au-Prince airport. I understand that the airport terminals had been destroyed in the quake. There were tent cities as far as the eye could see. And then there were some more. There was more rubble along the side of the road than there had been the last time. I noticed that the Porsche dealership was closed, and thought: “thank goodness.” The closer to the presidential palace and the port areas we got, the more destruction was visible, more rubble, more tent areas. Destruction wasn’t so apparent to the untrained eye in places like Petionville and the area near the OLPC Headquarters and the Prince Hotel, perhaps because these areas are up on hillsides and the structures there tended to be built more solidly. But in between every nook and cranny, wherever an empty lot could be found, there were impromptu tent villages that had sprung up. And I guess they really aren’t impromptu anymore.
We arrived at the Prince Hotel (a paradise), checked in, then went over to the OLPC headquarters and met the team we would be working with. We talked about the plan for the coming days, but also left it open for changes. We then went to dinner in Petionville, where we were able to watch our fish being grilled. A fine dinner.
We went to sleep with plans to make an early start for Lascahobas the next morning.