We recently visited Port-au-Prince for the first time since April 2010 but the trip was unfortunately cut short due to the unfortunate passing of my father a few days before the time we were set to leave. I went with the kids to see my family and then flew back into Port-au-Prince to meet up with my husband who was already there. We were not able to stay long at all as we had an event to run in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, where we live and where our organization is based, just a few days after we arrived. Additionally, orienting ourselves and traveling in the area was not easy. The roads are not good, transportation is expensive, there are frequent traffic jams, and we really were not able to get around much, unfortunately. I had hoped to meet with a few groups and talk about collaborating on this project, but was not able to. However, I continue to communicate with some groups via e-mail and we plan on returning sometime hopefully within the next few months.
Before when we had traveled to Port-au-Prince, we had had our own vehicle and had stayed at my husband's family's house. Unfortunately, neither of those two options were available this trip, so we learned just how expensive transportation and hotels are compared to here in the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic we can rent a car for $28 US a day at the lowest. In Port-au-Prince, the lowest we found was about $100 US per day! A hotel that would've cost $15 in the Dominican Republic cost us $60 in Port-au-Prince. This is because business is so slow and far between clients that the costs are to make up for weeks and months of no business. It's not fair to the seldom customers, but I guess it is what people have to do to get by. Transportation is also much more expensive because the roads are so much worse.
The reason for our trip at this time was mainly an appointment at the American embassy to seek a visa for my husband to travel to the US (to visit, not to live), so that took up most of our time, but I also was able to meet with a lawyer who is highly recommended to facilitate adoptions of Haitian children living in the Dominican Republic. We have a few abandoned children in our care and are looking for people to adopt them, so he was able to answer questions about that. But I am in an e-mail dialogue with him as well where I hope to get some government contacts from him. For this effort to be successful, I think it needs to have government involvement. I also need to know the government's plans for specific tent cities.
Although we weren't able to travel much, I was able to observe that there are still thousands living in tents in pods all around town. There are also still entire buildings that collapsed during the earthquake where the rubble has not been removed. There are many less than in 2010, but they still are around.
My plan now is to first spend some time creating a book to sell in order to raise funds to fund these efforts. I see that there may be no other way to execute the plans without something specifically generating funds such as that. Hopefully partnerships will develop where other parties will contribute funds as well, but that is not likely unless Project Esperanza provides a significant portion of the funds as well. I will continue to update on the progression of this book, on the progression of communication with NGOs on the ground and the Haitian government, and on any observations or insight into life in the tent cities.
Unfortunately, we were once again unable to take pictures. I had a new camera someone gave to me while in the US, but did not realize until arriving in Port-au-Prince that it would not allow me to take any pictures without a memory card. I didn't have the opportunity to buy one in Port-au-Prince, so I could not take pictures.
Thank you always for your support!