My trip back took me on a slightly different path. If you remember I got into Haiti on a bus from the Dominican Republic. This time I was able to get a ride on a small plane, run by World Vision, from Port-au-Prince to Santo Domingo. And instead of 6 hours it only took 45 minutes, which was a most welcomed change because I was really tired by the end of my stay.
Of course now, I am experiencing a serious case of jetlag, but my exhaustion was already showing before I left and honestly I felt bad or guilty about that. You see, I only spent a couple of weeks in Haiti. Yes, my schedule was packed, most days up at 4:30 to blog and upload pictures. Then I would spend the day out on shoots and doing interviews, travelling on the horrendous roads of Port-au-Prince through the kind of, at times, stand still traffic I have not seen in my travels before. The uncollected rubbish everywhere I went trespassed on my nasal passages and of course the devastation was heartbreaking. Back at around six to seven pm, I’d start making notes on my day’s work for an hour or so and review the pictures I would post on my blog. The evening was usually spent catching up with my parents, my brother, or any other visitor who came that day, followed by bed at around ten or eleven pm, maybe later if I read a little.
Not really a hard schedule but by the end of it I was exhausted. My exhaustion was not necessarily physical, it was brought on by what I had seen, heard, smelled, and felt; it was a psychological exhaustion. Thinking about it made me feel for those who were there from day one and have no way out. And that is a problem. You see, those of us who go in to help and support do it for two or three weeks at a time. The aid workers who live in the country have a furlough, every three months depending on the organisation’s rules. But the Haitians are there, most of them with no way out. What of their psychological state? How are they coping? I know that the immediate need is that of medicine, food and shelter. But the psychological needs of the population would be overlooked at a serious disadvantage to them and to society in the future.
There are some attempts being made to help parents reach out to their children and help them through the process with programs like “Place Ti Moun” (see short film insert below). But drop-in centres where people can come and speak to a counsellor need to be part of the rebuilding deal. More than buildings were crumbled or cracked. People were as well and a country’s true resources are its people. If they are overlooked, there will be serious issues to deal with later.
Now That I am back I will not blog on a daily basis. You know, work, kids… plus I am going through my footage and interviews in order to edit some pieces I hope will give you a better idea of what’s going on and how you can be part of the way forward. In the meantime enjoy this short montage highlighting the work at “Place Ti Moun”