Sights, sounds and smells of Haiti

Feb. 19
Susan Bresnahan, Fuller Center volunteer

Today is my first day in Haiti.

The sights and sounds and smells as we left the airport and drove to the hospital were amazing to say the least. Sewage, rotting fish, jerk chicken, dust.  The blaring horns, people’s voices, motorcycles, cars, trucks. Stands selling everything and anything line all the roads.  Who has money to buy?   People washing and bathing in big round tubs on the side of the road. Brokenness everywhere.

We arrived at the complex where we are staying for the week. We are on the top floor of the building that houses doctors without borders.  This is a "gated community."  We have security guards at every entry.  On the grounds that surround the hospital a tent village has sprung up.  What used to be gardens and parks is now tents upon tents, gravel and rubble. 

This tent village currently houses 15,000 people.  It truly is a city. They have their own government within their walls and impose fines on people when they break the laws.  They buy and sell everything and anything.  They have a water station, a laundry station, a theater, church, and school.  There are poles erected with solar panels for electricity.  They don’t have sewers or even garbage collection. 

We are working for an organization called Grace International. It has been in existence in Haiti for 37 years. They have children’s homes and schools and a hospital.  They are now working with the Fuller Center to provide housing for all these people.  We will be working at one site that will have 76 homes upon completion.

As I sit on my cot to journal I am listening to the sounds from the tent city below our windows.  I smell the charcoal of the cook fires as meals are being prepared.  Bicycle bells, roosters crowing, children laughing, babies crying, boom boxes playing music, cars horns … a real cacophony of sounds. 

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