We’ve found our rhythm. We wake early and head off to triage. Three of us help the nurses in triage, while Travis and I teach a class to the Technicians. Because Reneau is in triage, my friend Dimitry assists us with translation in the class. He did a fantastic job and hopefully we can utilize his skills in the future. After finishing triage, we teach two more classes and say our goodbyes. It’s sad to say goodbye, especially because I don’t know if I will be able to return.
After a late lunch, we all shower and Reneau’s cousin Marie picks us up to go out to eat. This has become our tradition. We all squeeze into her SUV and drive off. It quickly becomes apparent why everyone drives SUVs in Port-au-Prince; the roads are bad and in some cases, non-existent.
Haiti Travel Tip #1: If you are driving and you hear “short cut”, hold on to something.
We climb up the mountains in hectic traffic. It is really cool to see the city like this. All week long, we see the same scenery day in and out. This is really our only chance to observe daily life in PAP. Some of the places we pass look just like neighborhoods from home, while other areas are unfinished and people have taken over abandoned buildings. Motorcycles swarm around the traffic, which at times is slow and ponderous and frantic at other times.
We arrive at La Reserve, a restaurant in Petitionville, a neighborhood in PAP. We try many traditional Haitian dishes. The food is hearty and delicious. It is nice to get to know Marie better as well. She offers a unique perspective for us into Haitian life.
Haitian Travel Tip #2: Try the Rum Punch at La Reserve. You will not be disappointed.
After dinner, Marie stops at her apartment to check on her young son and then drives us back to Villa Francesca. What an amazing night!
Saturday comes early, and we take a walking tour with Ms. Peggy, a woman who has volunteered two years of her life to assist the St. Luke’s Foundation. She shows us the factory that the Foundation runs, which includes an auto shop, bakery, sewing center, and peanut butter factory. The older students at the Foundation’s schools work here at times. Finally we visit the orphanages and see some of the sweetest children on the planet. We take many pictures with the kids and then walk back to the Villa to pack for the flight home.
It was a good trip. I spoke with Reneau shortly before we left and he thought the classes went well. He was proud of the staff for improving so much. While I’m happy to be on my way home, I’m also sad because I don’t know when I will have the opportunity to return.