Today was my last full day in Haiti. My flight out is tomorrow afternoon at 5:30 to get back to Calgary for 2 p.m. on Sunday. And by the way, I checked the Calgary weather forecast…. I am not impressed!
As far as meetings go, I am definitely going out with a bang! Today I had meetings at the Haitian Parliament with the three MP’s that represent the Region Des Palmes. I had previously met with the fourth last week at the hotel, so finally getting a chance to connect with the other three was very important.
Their Parliament buildings were destroyed in the earthquake, so the national government is currently housed in temporary buildings that are essentially big ATCO trailers. The buildings, and there are several inside a walled compound, have the air of temporary buildings that are going to be around for quite a while. Inside the buildings and offices, everything is getting a bit run down. I had a meeting inside their Chambers, essentially their House of Commons, and while I was sitting there the facing of the step just fell off. No one seemed to care much, and just stepped around it. Temporary and tired was the feel all around.
But it was getting in that was the fun part. The Parliament is in buildings right along the waterfront, behind a massive wall along a major roadway. There’s the one gate to get in to the compound. Outside that gate is a massive hive of activity, from markets and street vendors (you can buy all of your daily needs from street vendors, from tampons to crazy glue!), and a mass of people wanting or waiting to get inside the compound.
And guns. Lots of men with guns. Not the kind that are holstered and carried by men in a disciplined manner. No, these were AK-47’s and shotguns being waved around and carried by dozens of men who all seemed to be yelling or blowing whistles at the same time. These were guns being carried around like a cup of coffee. It was a scene of chaos that seemed to be on the tipping point of anarchy. I guess that now seems normal in Haiti.
Chaos tipping on anarchy. That is why we are here, to put our finger on the scale and help tip it the other way. After two weeks here, I can honestly say it’s worth doing.
Now to finish my report. I hate writing reports!
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