Stating the obvious, it’s hard to sort out all the varying and contradictory impressions that You get on your first day in Haiti at this point in it’s history.
At times it seems like any third world country I’ve been in. That in itself is a good dose of reality and can alter one’s worldview, challenge our priorities and break our hearts. But then we took the drive through Port au Prince, the central city. There are piles of rubble everywhere! Every corner you go around you see another flattened building.
But according to the guys on the team who have been here before (I’m with a team composed of four of us that have never been here, 4 AIM staff one of them being a Haitian man and Marko) the big difference is that people have returned. It is ultra-crowded as you drive through the streets, you see thousands of people selling stuff, walking about, hanging out, right in the midst of piles of debris. It’s an odd site. It reminds me of a body that is thrashed and a spirit, a life that can’t be squashed.
The tent-cities are everywhere and many look like they have found some tarps and have become sadly permanent. Nice donated white tents by the hundreds. There are still many of the slapped together tent cities.
You also get the feeling that the mess is beyond anyone’s ability to clean up. There is no rebuilding that I’ve seen going on. There is barely any clean up that I saw. Keep in mind this is an impression from one day.