Last Day in Haiti

It’s hard to believe that this is my last day in Grand Guave. We get up at 5:00 am tomorrow and make the 2 1/2 hour drive through the streets (joke) of Port-A-Prince.

We went to the market this morning and that was an experience. They sell about any food or clothing item and much of it is imported to Haiti; not local flavor. They will butcher and prepare your pig or chicken while you wait. There are 40 Gourdes to the US Dollar and a bottle of water is 15 Gourdes.

We passed many construction and reconstruction projects and many of the various support organizations here have built water stations along the main thoroughfares so clean water is no longer a major issue.

The Government of Haiti is pretty much non-existent. No one pays taxes so it’s hard to imagine how (whatever Government there is) they can build new roads, provide electrical power, manage new construction projects to make sure they meet the new earthquake codes, provide police protection, etc, etc.

There is no such thing as mail delivery or street addresses or garbage collection. I saw a solar powered street light but turns out that it was installed by a relief organization.

Property ownership is often unclear because any records kept were destroyed in the earthquake and so they rely on past history and the word of neighbors as to who owns land and associated homes. There is no judge or jury here.

However, that being said, except for the voodoo believers who seem to reject anything good for Haiti, the average person is very peace-loving and friendly.

It’s hard to imagine that they lost 300,000 people to the Jan 2010 earthquake (10% of the population) in one day. Survivors whose home still stood after the earthquake were afraid to return for months; creating a nation of “sleeping bag”, on-the-ground citizens for quite some time.

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