Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 1: no cholera yet!

8am Friday: I get a txt msg from a travel buddy that cholera is ripping through Haiti. Concerning to me is that this guy rode his bicycle around the world. He's no stranger to foreign adventure and I generally listen to him.

7pm Friday: I read the reporting on the cholera outbreak... it's nowhere near where I'm going... land in Port-au-Prince, then onward to Jeremie.

3pm Saturday: My neighbor stops by to encourage me to stay away from Haiti.
Midnight: CNN reports the cholera deaths are spreading to PAP. Great.

5am today: Wake up. 10 deaths in PAP. Not worried, but definitely concerned.

6:00am: Leave for JFK

7:30am: Say goodbye to Carrie and head thru customs.

9:15am: Buy bottled water.

9:30am: All aboard.

9:35am: Talking with a very professorial gentleman -- an aid worker. He assures me that I'll be fine in PAP. Reassuring, but still concerned. Not going to be drinking any tap water anytime soon.

10:00am: Zonked out... had about four hours sleep last night.

1:00pm: Wake up and realize I'm no longer and elected official. Kinda bittersweet. Sad, but I always enjoy looking forward to all the possibilities the future holds! And now turning back the clocks one hour...

12:30pm: The eagle has landed. I stand up to grab my bag in the overhead compartment. Jammed into the narrow walkway and start talking with an American who has just arrived with her NGO, Digital Democracy. They're doing something related to ensuring free and fair elections here. Coincidentally, their Presidential election is on Thanksgiving weekend. So I'm definitely not coming home then as I've been told that Haitian Elections make a Wilbur Cross - Cheshire football game look like The Teddy Bears Picnic... streets shut down, tire fires everywhere. It's not a time to move about the country. Anyway, her discussion of free'n'fair elections struck me for some obvious reasons. And also because public policy and good government are so important... and it all starts with free and fair elections.

1:30pm: Customs and baggage claim... I can take either the heat & humidity or the free-for-all, WWE mayhem of the baggage claim... but putting the two together... ugh. SO glad to get out of there and see someone waiting for me... though when the guy told me that I "had" to pay him $10 for standing there with a sign and bringing my bags the 200 yards to the parking lot, I got a bit annoyed again. NBD though. I just rolled my eyes and laughed at him, saying he had to be kidding himself if he thought I was actually going to give him $10 for that... and that he may as well give me my bags back. And since he didn't, I let him bend my ear for the less-than-five-minutes walk and gave him two bucks when we got to the car. I mean, I'm happy to tip somebody... but when it comes to Americans visiting the developing world... there are way too many people working in the tourist industry who think it's appropriate to scam Americans. So he hemmed'n'hawed as I got in the car, but he knew $2 was fine.

2:00pm: Arrived at the guesthouse, Matthew 25. No a/c, just a fan. But they have cold soda for a buck, paid for with the honor system. Others staying at the house include a Board Member for PureWaterForTheWorld... a group that provides some sort of sand and rock water filtration system to people in Haiti, Nica and Hondo... and a film crew producing a documentary on soil, composting and something else for a soil-related NGO based in San Fran. Both interesting to me. Anyway, I have both my Chem book and this jam-packed cyber cafe -- where each person gets about five square feet of real estate -- just across the street... where I'm sitting now... as far as know without any cholera! So I'm in a good mood. Fly out to the countryside tomorrow.

3:00pm: My one hour on the web is about to expire. So signing off for now!

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Keep us posted on your adventures! Very interesting.


Breachway said...

Good stuff Tim....good luck

Matt J. said...

God Bless you Tim. May He watch over you and keep you safe while you help people down there. You truly are a giving individual and may He keep you out of harms way and back to us safely for all your efforts. Best of Luck!

Tony Perugini said...

Tim, if you require any care packages, let me know.

Tony Perugini

the cry of the poor said...

Perhaps fortuitously, the psalm for yesterday, the day Tim arrived in Haiti, was Psalm 34.

"The Lord hears the cry of the poor ...
God is close to the brokenhearted,
those who are crushed he saves."

(Click "the cry of the poor" above for sang rendition)

Of course, "Here on earth, God's work must be our own" (John F. Kennedy)

Thank you, Tim, for making God's work your own.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck to you and the good work you are doing down there.

Will you consider picking up where Tim left off on his blog? I know you have a blog in place, why not continue the work?

Tony Perugini said...

"Will you consider picking up where Tim left off on his blog? I know you have a blog in place, why not continue the work?"

I'm considering it but my only reservation is the time commitment needed at least to cover topics outside of my BOE world. My website is out of date but I would rather use Blogspot.

I do have a Blogspot account and may start a blog to cover BOE/Education topics and see where it goes from there.

I don't know how Tim managed to make time to cover such a wide variety of topics but he has some really big shoes to fill here. :-) His work here has been very valuable and it would be a shame if we didn't try to keep it going until Tim comes back home.


tim white said...

His work here has been very valuable and it would be a shame if we didn't try to keep it going

Thanks Tony, but a blog is made by a community of bloggers. For anything I did, there was always way more useful information -- anonymous or not -- provided by others.

Even if you just post on BOE issues, that'd be helpful to increasing both awareness and transparency. Plus I used to do "open forums" that were intended to be wide-ranging. Perhaps something similar could be useful to increase community involvement?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, Tim could continue the blog, with feeds from elected members.

Cheshire needs this blog to keep the special interests from completely taking over this town.

Anonymous said...

I think Tony should definitely carry on with this or his own blog. With the boe budget meetings just around the corner, he can keep those of us who miss the meetings informed. Sometimes those boe meetings don't air in a timely manner or at all.

Tony Perugini said...

Ok, let's give it a try. I'll publish some content over the next couple of days.

- Tony

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tony...Looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Love the update! Looking forward to the next. Happy adventuring. -CSH

Brooke Gelhaus said...

After we graduated some went on to earn oodles of money, start businesses and climb the corporate ladder. Some resumes are extremely impressive on paper and at cocktail parties. Your adventure and the decision to forgo the money to help the greater good and make an actual difference hands on is one of the most impressive things I have heard of. I hope my children will look to people like you for inspiration!

PS- try not to get cholera!!!!