The Eagle Has Landed… in Haiti!

I’m sitting at a table in our dormitory-style residence at a university smack-dab in the middle of Haiti.  How we got here was quite an adventure that began for most of us at Pearson International Airport around 4:30 this morning.  We took an early flight to Montreal where we were joined by several other members of the Speroway team from other parts of Canada.  Four hours later, we landed in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and met the ground team – but our journey wasn’t over yet.

Getting organized in Port-Au-Prince

Once we got our luggage and supplies loaded on a truck, we piled onto minibuses for the four hour drive to Pignon.  Within minutes, we were slowly climbing and crossing the striking mountain range just behind Port-Au-Prince, navigating hairpin turns and precarious switchbacks until we emerged on the other side.  We travelled for another two hours through beautiful scenery, small villages and a few larger towns until we arrived in Hinche – that’s where the real fun started.  For the final 45 minutes of our trip, the paved streets became a bumpy, gravel, road that crossed dry river beds challenging our driver with potholes the size of swimming pools.  It was slow going!

One of the amazing views from the bus window.

After leaving Toronto at 6:00am, we finally arrived at this unique university (more to come on this tomorrow) in interior Haiti at 8:30pm .  A great dinner was waiting for us after which we got to work preparing for tomorrow – the real reason were here.  At 6:00am tomorrow morning, our Speroway team of 35, along with a crew of translators from the university, will set up for a three day medical/dental clinic right here on campus serving thousands of patients from the surrounding area.  With us on this trip are eight medics (doctors, paramedics and nurses), eight dentists (including our resident endodontist), a full Pharmacy team to distribute prescribed medications and several other civilian volunteers handling Distribution (food, clothing and baby supplies), crowd control and other duties.

Welcome dinner after a long journey.

 

 

On the long drive here, it was clear that the need is great in Haiti, a country, still feeling the effects of the massive earthquake that struck in 2010.  Thousands of citizens remain displaced and reside in what were supposed to be temporary relief camps.  We’ll set up shop in some of those communities early next week.  Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere – needless to say we think we can do some good here over the next week.
My plan is to upload a blogpost every night until we return to Canada next Wednesday, pending our success finding a worthy wifi signal!  Each night, I’ll do my best to report on the events of the day and share some pics as we try to make a difference in the region.  This is an experienced and dedicated team and we’re eager to start work bright and early tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned.

Tim Fallis