Nou la. We're here.

Sunset from Kay Germaine overlooking the hospital tower, photo credit Doug Franz :)

Doug and I arrived in Haiti at about noon to a relatively smooth customs process and found our massive duffle bags full of toys, blankets, and books for the kids as well as rubber gloves, flashlights, and first aid kits for the cholera treatment center.

The Port-au-Prince airport is always an adventure (i.e. disaster). Dozens of men in coordinated plaid shirts descended upon us as we hobbled out with too much baggage in tow. Unable to pay anyone since we hadn't exchanged any dollars for gourdes, we shook all but one very determined man off. This friendly gentlemen did not respond to my Creole pleas that we didn't have any money and insisted on having his hand on the strap of one of Doug's very heavy bags for the whole 200 or 300 yards to the gate. (p.s. shout-out to Doug who carried both duffels, weighing over 30 pounds each, plus his two bags in the sweltering heat. Mesi anpil zanmi mwen).

Anyways, Gena was quick to arrive and we hopped in the bus to the compound. We're staying at Kay Germaine (above the rehab center and special needs school that's not currently in session because of Christmas holidays) and immediately I was blessed to sit down to lunch with Gena, Norma my wonderful physical therapist friend from Argentina with whom I worked last time, Fiona who is a short-term volunteer from Ireland and an occupational therapist, and Sister Lorraine, who is a kick in the pants. I don't think I've ever met a nun I didn't like.

After a quick settle in and a tour of the empty rehab facilities and a peek at the cholera treatment center (I don't feel comfortable working there until I get this cough under control), we spent a few hours in the abandoned babies room in the hospital, passing out beanie babies and getting some good ol' orphan cuddle time in. Two of the tots, Mois and Natalia, who both have mental disabilities, were here last year. It's sad to see these kids just live at a hospital because they get left behind. Sister Lorraine mentioned that one of the new kids with a pretty major disability was left at the cholera treatment center recently.

The evening was capped off with the first of many bucket showers (water is out today due to a problem with the tower), good conversation, and homemade Bailey's liqueur that Sister Lorraine crafted herself. Told you I never met a nun I didn't like.

I'm not going to take the time to upload a bunch of photos, but you can see some on Doug's blog here.

Tomorrow afternoon we'll be headed up to the orphanage! Excited to meet my godson and pass out some of the lovely toys we lugged all the way to Haiti. The weekend should be pretty lowkey, then the work should begin on Monday.

Haiti feels exactly the same as before. But also completely different. I know that doesn't make any sense, but neither does Haiti... It's not like I expected Molly to be at the airport this time to pick me up, but that didn't stop me from glancing around.

Haiti smells the same.