July 1st. Change has come. At 11:55 this morning my Delta flight 699 touched down at the Port au Prince airport. Needless to say, this is an entirely different place than any I've ever been. Nothing could truly prepare me for what the realities of a major disaster look like until now, when I'm in it, watching the people in the city, seeing the wasted buildings, trying to visualize the moment it happened. Haiti is something entirely new.
I arrived at HODR basecamp in Leogane around 6PM. It is a vibrant place considering the reason for its existence. I'm surrounded by countless volunteers from all over the world, or at least the English speaking parts of the world. Local Haitian volunteers are also onboard but I have yet to talk to any of them. They don't spend the night in the camp, they have (had?) homes in the surrounding city. We international volunteers all share a building that was once designed as a music venue - open middle space, a stage, covered side spaces. I've pitched my tent on the roof. It's far too hot to consider the covered options. If only I could have the rain flap off, but rain can come at any moment, or so I'm told. Many of the tents end up in midnight ponds due to imperfections in the roof's structure. I'm hoping a picked a good spot, at least until I can hunt down some half-decent cinder blocks to create a raised platform with.
Pictures will follow. The internet connection here at the camp is very, very weak, so I don't see videos being feasible, but photos should be doable. For now, I need to sign off. The generators go silent at 10PM, and it's 9:35 now.
These New Boots were on my feet all day. They're actually not new at all, they're very old - hiking boots from when I did Outward Bound at age sixteen - but this is the first use they've had in years. Those Old Boots were left on the floor of the sublet apartment of someone very close to me. It seemed a fitting place to let them lie. She has a piece of my heart, as does New York City.