Landing in Port-au-Prince was different than most landings I’ve experienced. I usually pick an aisle seat, if at all possible—therefore, I don’t get much of a view out the plane window. But I could still see a little of the area surrounding the airport. Often, when flying into Atlanta or Charlotte or one of our major US cities, you see houses (some would call McMansions) on good-sized lots, sometimes with a pool in the backyard. Sometimes you’ll see a cul-de-sac.
Around the PAP airport, I noticed a lot of dirt. Dirt streets that were separating houses that almost all of us would deem substandard.
And then, after going through immigration and getting through the airport, there were lots of folks wanting to give us assistance. Their offers of help weren’t aggressive or terribly persistent. But they lined the walkway to the parking lot.
Then we had an hour drive to our hotel. If you’ve ever been in a developing country, you know exactly what I mean about the way traffic flows. I’m glad I wasn’t driving. We’d still be on the route.
The hotel is lovely. It’s an 18-room hotel on the hillside in Petion-Ville, which is on top of the mountain above PAP. The only pictures I took today were from my balcony.
Habitat is represented by folks from Michigan, North Carolina, California and me from West Virginia/Ohio. We are looking forward to seeing what our tithe funding is doing—we’ll be touring for the next two days. We were told this evening at dinner that our four affiliates have given $400K to Habitat’s efforts here.
We saw many more things on our drive that are in stark contrast with our life in the US. Walls surrounding homes with broken glass or razor wire at the top; bars on every window; armed security guards in the van with us and at the hotel.
I’m sure the contrasts will seem even greater during the next two days.
We take so much for granted.