Like many others deeply involved in Haiti, I've been spending the days since the 1 year anniversary of the earthquake thinking back to what I was doing, thinking, and feeling exactly a year ago--on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and so on. I remember continuing to stare at CNN many hours a day, watching as the same footage played over and over again. I think I watched Sanjay Gupta's interview of president Rene Preval at the airport 10 or 15 times, and each time it still made me shake my head in disbelief (if you know which interview I'm referring to, I'm guessing you might have had the same response). Video footage from the grounds of General Hospital, the mass burial sites at Titanyen, and the streets of downtown Port au Prince is etched in my mind as clear as if I'd seen it yesterday. I can still hear Anderson Cooper's voice as he reported from these places. I refreshed Google Reader every few minutes, hoping for more news from those already in Haiti.
By one year ago today I was in touch with Beth McHoul and the Livesays and others, making plans to work with Heartline. I went to a meeting midday on the 15th and was discouraged by people who were saying that no one should go to Haiti right now, even medical providers, due to the logistical challenges of housing and feeding more people on the ground. Friends in Haiti were telling me otherwise, though, and by the evening of the 15th, I had a lead on a flight into Haiti with an organization called Clean the World. By early morning on the 16th, I'd made a reservation to fly to Orlando, slept a few hours, did some major food/supply shopping at Target with Marcia, stopped by the hospital I work at in the Twin Cities (Children's) to pick up medical supplies (major props to them for donating to us), and then came home to 4 bags packed and ready to go (thanks to my mom and dad and Greg E.). We left for the airport and I arrived in Orlando later that evening, one step closer to Haiti. At that point I was starting to think I might actually make it in to Haiti...but still not getting my hopes up.
Tonight on January 16, 2011, I am in Cazale at Real Hope for Haiti. I'll be here for a few days. I'm looking forward to helping out in any way I can with their clinics and cholera treatment center.
And just when we thought life here couldn't get any weirder...about an hour ago Twitter exploded with people reporting that Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier was on a plane on his way back to Haiti. Soon after that his plane landed, and he is now apparently being driven down Route Frere, waving to people out of the window as he passes by. Others are saying there are rumors that Aristide's Haitian passport has been renewed. All of this while the most recent election's results are still very disputed. Things could get really interesting.