12 December 2010

First Impressions

Well, I have been in Haiti for just over 24 hours now. And I have seen the inside of my flat, and the inside of some cars. Which also means I have seen Haiti, but only through windows. But from what I have seen so far, I think I am going to love living here. So here are my first impressions:
*All Photos Taken From My Rooftop Balcony

 - Haiti has horrible roads and sidewalks. Driving is not always on a paved street, and if it is paved, it has terrible potholes. Typical of a developing nation...
 - Haiti is very green and jungle-y. There are gorgeous rainforest covered mountains with views out to the bright blue sea. And the temp is actually not that bad! Right now, at 5pm it is 29*C / 85*F, humid, overcast and with a nice breeze. My skin is mildly damp, but not sweaty. I think I can handle this. However, the weather should only stay like this through Feb, when the rainy season starts. Oh, joy...
 - Haitian people seem to be very friendly and kind. This of course is based off my interactions with them at the airport and at the store. As expected in a developing country, the airport was swarming with people trying to 'help you' in order to make some money. The airport was a bit confusing, so I ended up being helped by a guy who took me straight to the WV driver. Cost me $5, but the guy was either a deaf/mute or couldn't talk. I figured that this must be his only income so either way, I didn't feel too bad that I was swindled into having someone help me.
 - Haiti is surprisingly very expensive. I have been to the grocery store twice and have realised that one can easily spend $100 on a weeks worth of groceries. It is a wonder and a pain to me to think about how Haitians live. 
 - I was taken straight to one of the WV teamhouses, which is just in an apartment complex. I am staying in a woman's room while she is on R&R leave. So I will be here for 3 weeks, and have lucked out by getting a room that is huge with a double bed, balcony with views to the mountains, and an ensuite toilet/shower! Score! Let's see where I end up next. PS. the building also has a rooftop patio and lots of other WV staff staying here as well. Am getting to meet everyone, which is really nice.
 - The political situation in Haiti is still quite tumultuous. There is supposedly going to be a recount of all the votes, which the top 2 candidates are rejecting. There is also supposed to be a re-election in January. But whatever is happening, Haitian people are not happy. The WV office has been closed this last week and all staff have been on lockdown, meaning they could not leave their houses. At all. And it looks like this is only going to continue. I have heard stories about burning tires being rolled around, barricades on the streets and cars set on fire. But all our staff have been safe, and I am staying in a relatively safe part of town. However, we need to be prepared just in case we are evacuated. Some other NGOs have evacuated their staff in preparation for this week.

That being said, I need to be prepared as well. Just think, I may have struggled to arrive here only to be evacuated. I am not sure if the office is open tomorrow, so I am not even sure if I will be starting work tomorrow. Its all up in the air, but whats new for my life. But its been an adventure so far, and I am interested to see what happens. 

Well, I am off to pack my Quick Run Bag. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment