Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Touring Haiti

Today, our group left Zanmi Beni after breakfast and headed to the nearby US Embassy.

Don't have any pictures of the inside of the embassy as we were not allowed to bring phones or cameras past the first security checkpoint.

After having our passports reviewed and going through a TSA-like scanner, we were escorted to another building on the embassy grounds and then went through another security checkpoint with the heaviest doors I've ever tried to hold open (I can imagine that when these doors are closed, these doors are closed).

We were escorted upstairs to a seating area and spent the next 1-2 hours in a question and answer sessions with several of the embassy's officers who described their roles in Haiti and their lives as professionals in the Foreign Services.

We then enjoyed lunch at a nearby outdoor buffet (on the site of a former sugar cane plantation) which appeared to be frequented by both Haitians and non-Haitians alike.

After lunch, we made a quick side-trip to a metal artisan's shop where we bought several pieces of tin artwork direct from the artists.

We then boarded our vans for a long, bumpy, and winding trip up over the mountains to Mirebelais, avoiding numerous potholes, people, goats, and other obstacles along the way. Here's a view out our (tinted) front windshield.

We had some gorgeous views of the valley below, as well as of innumerable shacks in various states of disrepair.

The recently completed hospital at Mirebelais is a beautiful facility, with an emergency department, numerous inpatient units (one for men, one for women, and one for children).

While their outpatient clinics are already up and running, they are still working to get the inpatient units going. 
We also got the chance to go up on the roof of the hospital to view the many solar panels that have been installed to help power the facility.

After  a slow and bumpy descent down from the mountains, we enjoyed dinner at a pizza restaurant (Pizza Amour in Port au Prince - we highly recommend it) and then drove back to Zanmi Beni, past the nightlife that could be seen on almost every street corner in Port au Prince


Time to rest up now.
Looking forward to another exciting day tomorrow.

Bonswa !!

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