Several people encouraged me to write about what I expect from my first trip to Haiti so that I might compare my expectations to my perspective when I return. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and so that conjures up images of a primitive place with unsanitary conditions. The news media focuses on stories of dysfunctional and corrupt government, rampant disease and civil unrest.
But my limited international travel experience suggests the it's never what you see in news stories. They do have modern conveniences such as electricity, bathrooms and internet. Photos from past trips show people that are cleanly dressed and smiling. In fact, all my friends that have been to Haiti have loved their experience and most have made return trips.
So, is Haiti a hopeless wasteland or a tropical paradise? I suspect it's somewhere in between.
My journey is a mission to observe, learn and relate. The people who have made our travel arrangements will make every effort to see that we have a good experience. The Haitians in the villages and MPP know that we are about the business of building a school that is for them. I'm told that they are looking forward to showing off what they've accomplished. I am anxious to learn of their progress.
What I expect is to make new friends, see new places, learn new things and return with a new perspective on the world in which we live.