Woke up really early for my flight. Thank God my daughter was with me at the airport to help, there was all sorts of brouhaha at the entrance of Delta terminal at JFK. No clear directives, people pushing and cutting and cursing for about 45 minutes. Maybe someone had finally drank their coffee, because things started to move. Each suitcase weighed about 51 pounds (just made it! They did not mind the extra pound)). Had to pay $40 for the extra luggage.
Finally past the most stressful part of traveling, I sat and waited for my flight, hoping things would go smoothly from here on out.
I arrived in Haiti around noon. Orieste Eliasaint, a porter in uniform, offered to get me a cart for $2 and he promised he would stay with me and be the only one to handle my bags until we reach the car outside. Sr. Martha was already there waiting. Many men on the way to the car tried to approach us and I reminded Orieste what we had discussed. Another man came to help Orieste when we reached the car door although I said it was not necessary. I had already given my porter $5 US. When the other guy complained that I had not paid him too I told him to see Orieste. This sounds mean, but if you allow more than one person to touch the bags, you must pay each one of them. I must say that arriving in the airport terminal today (I was here in August 2012) was so much more pleasant to go through the immigration booth than to the carousel for the luggage. Quite an improvement – better organized and less people pressing all around you to service you.
Sr. Martha drove to Carefour Fleurio with such ease among the ‘kamyonèt’ and the moto-taxies. I met the ten Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul living here. I can’t remember their names yet. They have two pre-postulants who are learning life in community and doing service: Celine and Dosne.
At 4 pm, I saw these two young ladies conduct classes for neighborhood children ages 4 to 12 (10 preschool,age and 22 older ones). First, they prayed, did some catechisms, and played some games. After two hours, before the children left they each received a mango harvested from the gardens of the campus.
I gave Sr. Perpetue the check sent from the NY Ladies of Charities for Jean Paul II School. I mentioned the need to write a financial report to thank donors. Most groups receiving funds in Haiti need to write details on how they use the money received. The donating organizations in the US are accountable to the membership as well as to the non-profit boards.
Sr. Martha and I braved crossing two streets to go to Digicel to buy a phone. What a scary and challenging experience it was to weave through the cars, trucks, and mottos.
The choir was practicing on the premises, and I loved their singing, and got a chance to record a bit:
First night in Haiti. I had a ‘moustikè’ and a fan to prevent the mosquitoes from feasting on this fresh blood of mine.