A successful arrival to Haiti. We all made it. Well, except my water bottle. I am banging my head on the wall about leaving my Hydroflask in the airport. Keep your snickers and “surprise” face to yourself, Jeff. At least my phone made it!

It doesn’t matter what Haiti was in my memories. This place is still stunning in so many ways. I feel gross sitting here in this bed for so many reasons. I will admit that most of this grossness is that I haven’t showered yet. But, I have managed to track down a PRESIDENTE! At this hotel bar. #trueDominican

Okay, I was really excited for that beer and excited to share that little tidbit. Before I was able to settle into a beer, we had the opportunity to see a snippet of Port au Prince as we drove to the grocery store about 10 minutes from the hotel.

We bought food to make lunches for the week. I have pen karnya (bread), prosciutto, Gouda, and la yogurt (my fave yogurt). I also brought along some Rx bars for snacks if I need it. I enjoyed roaming through the store but was disappointed that I was not able to buy all local items. It’s so westernized here and I wanted some Haitian food, not Doritos and Gatorade! All the same, I am happy with my lunches for the week.

I was also very happy with my shrimp creole dinner (pictured below) prepared at the Palm Inn Hotel. I was also ravenous by dinner time and extremely grateful for the nourishment.

A snippet of Port au Prince: in drive-through mode

The drive through Port au Prince is how I expect it to be. The tap tap barrels through mangled streets, or what may have once been a paved street. Up and down these curves and hills lined with black men and women. Not a single white face, or yellow, or any other shade that is not black.

Some of the men and women are working their tables filled with yellow bruised mangos. Colorful 2nd hand clothing hangs from crumbling brick and mud fences. I see a couple and their child tending to their slightly larger table with pots and pans steaming a fresh meal into the air.

They don’t look happy and they do not look sad. Their expressions reminiscent of my own or Jon’s after a long day’s work. Beaten and knowing the work isn’t done, their is a mouth to feed and love to share with the zapped energy source that is apparently not limitless.

I steal a glimpse of their little boy piddling at his mother’s side quietly. I feel a twinge if longing and hope for them, and I send a wish into the world that they had a good enough day to sit down and fill their bellies tonight. I feel gross in all of my entitled gluttony. I know my next meal is coming maybe my sense of starving is nothing compared to some of my brethren lining these streets.

They’re standing, they’re sitting, working, and talking. My spirit lifts a little when we fly by a group of teenagers walking in a group, laughing together in their stylish and beautiful outfits. They’re going out and their vivacious laughter can be heard over the roaring and clinking of the taptap. I kinda want to follow them and see what fun they’re up to. We keep pressing our own way back to the hotel.

We keep whizzing past streets, homes, and more people. I know we will not stop, but I want to explore this place. It’s familiar to me but a different world I’ve grown up far away from.

A brief chat with my family makes me start missing home. I almost made the call at 11:30 last night to cancel this trip. Then again at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00… all the way up to 4:45 when it was too late and I was heading to the airport. I wish they were here because I feel alone most of the time with all of these women. I’m grateful that I have one good friend here. We are comfortable together in total quiet or chatting it up.

The devotion thingy

After dinner we transition into a devotion. Not so religious on this side of the fence, so, I have no idea what to expect. I decide to roll with it because I don’t have the energy to offend anyone but I also don’t have the room key. It’s awkward. Not just for me, for all of us as we are asked by the devotion thingy leader one question: “what is your hope this week?”

Crickets.

The conversation starts slow, and stays at a snails pace as the women are just nodding to what others are saying. Valid points are brought up. But idea one holds weight. “Keep your feet present and your mind on the moment.”

I decide this is a great takeaway. It did take me 15 minutes and my roommate to help me remember what she said to write this blog, but, I am going to try it on tomorrow.

Be present.

Be in the moment.

This is a good way to end my day. This phrase is a nice mantra to kick off a good week!

Anyways, it’s time for bed now… Dammit. I forgot my pajamas!