After 72 semi-waking hours of being in a famished, destroyed, impoverished nation, I'm full of intrigue about what's next.
Haiti is a nation of systemic poverty. I've seen poverty like this in parts of South American and African nations-but I could drive out of it and stay in a nice hotel or visit a government building-the entire country wasn't in despair. But here there's no escape from the poverty.
It's been six months since the earthquake and destruction is still everywhere. Instead of moving the rubble, people have settled on it. I'm afraid the people will just make this the new way of life.
There's so much good here-in the people, the organizations present, the goals-but the country's potential seems to be buried in the rubble with the rest of the city of Port au Prince.
Not once have I seen a single road crew, drive on a paved road, or seen anything that looks like substantial progress. Perhaps I would see it differently had I been here 6 months ago? But for David and Steve-and all those who I've asked who had been here as first responders- the immediate feeling of despair, death, and destruction have simmered into an acceptance of a way of life.
The people are unhappy with the current government. Civil unrest is boiling to the surface. There was a threat of a "manifestation" today. Basically, a manifestation is a riot. The opposition (which is 90 % of the people) plan a protest against the government and take it to the streets. Our driver/security, was called into work last night to prepare for today's planned manifestation. As I mentioned earlier, he is the head of security for the President of Haiti. He slept at the President's home last night.
The manifestation didn't happen-at least not yet-but the intentions and plans are real and will happen soon.
I'm overwhelmed about what needs to be done and where to start. The government's a mess, the land's a wreck, the buildings are flattened.
The people are hungry and living in fear of the next quake.
But because I have a little blue book with me, I get to leave it all....for now.