HODR does Gonaives

Trip Start Sep 05, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
In the mud!

Flag of Haiti  ,
Sunday, September 28, 2008

The strange oasis of MINUSTAHs peace keeping mission campus in Gonaives is slowly becoming less and less appealing. To me that is a good sign that I am beginning to feel comfortable on the streets in Gonaives.

A sweltering 20 minute walk through the baking mid day sun to meet Stef was pleasant despite the combination of putrid smells, stagnant month old hurricane water, and somehow a Pisco like dust bowl feel. The feeling of life on the streets really is alive, and despite the reality of the situation that Haitians find themselves in here, a nod and simple bonjour/bonsoir is generally reciprocated with a smile and similar greeting. Of course, people feel the need to point out every 5 seconds or so that I am indeed a white person by yelling "BLAN, BLAN" Sometimes I return the greeting by hollering "Hatien, Hatien!" Usually that is received in good humor

A successfully exploration of the local transportation and street side restaurants in Gonaives leaves me confident that we will have very little trouble moving ourselves and HODR volunteers around the city. A plate of lalo (spinach) rice and beans does a body good!

Occasionally the hood of your tap tap(beat up old toyata truck) will disappear below muddy water, bouncing in and out of invisible foot deep potholes, guaranteed to soak your shoes in icky water. Such is the nature of disaster relief work.

Our house, location, and neighborhood continues to excite me. A lot of work lies ahead to get the place fit for a base, but i can start to hear the noises, and smell the smells of a populated volunteer base as I walk through the empty rooms. October 10 will be an exciting day for HODR!

I know I'll be seeing some of you soon
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