Reflections of a Trip Coordinator

Our delegation with the principal of the school we’re helping to build.

Our delegation with the principal of the school we’re helping to build.

This is my fourth trip to Haiti and the EcoVillages.    I remember my fascination with looking out the window on my first trip at all the unfamiliar sights as we drove from Port au Prince to the Central Plateau.  I must have taken 200 photos through the windows of the Land Cruiser on that trip in 2015.

 This trip feels different.   I still look out the window but the sights are now all too familiar.  I am happy to let others gawk at the view and take lots of photos.

 I coordinated this trip.   The job is all about the logistics.  I am excited about traveling with new people with diverse backgrounds and life experiences.  Now I am the tour guide, being sure to point out significant sights and relate them to our pre-trip discussions. 

 We stopped at the hospital in Mirabalais.  It's not a very impressive building by American standards.  But it is striking in contrast to its surroundings.  The hospital is mentioned several times in To Fool the Rain which was the book we read collectively before the trip.  Now, we observe the setting and contemplate the difficulties for people in the surrounding hills who have to carry sick family members to this facility.

 We move on and arrive after dark at our home for the next 6 nights.  This is Sant Lakay at MPP.  It's their training center and our home base.  The guesthouse provides modest accommodations including a bed and shared bathrooms with cold running water.  It's primitive compared to lodging in the states.  But we don't complain and recognize that we have it better than many who live here year round.  The guesthouse has new beds and a fresh coat of paint.

All our meals will be provided here as well.  The ladies in the kitchen will start their day earlier and stay late into the evening to make sure we have 3 meals a day.  The best part of the food is that it's all organic and fresh.   Bananas, Papaya, and Mango are served every day.   Vegetable dishes always include beets, carrots and tomatoes.  Protein is mostly goat and sometimes fowl.  When we told them that Ian is vegetarian, they made fish especially for him.

We are treated royally in Haitian style.  Their resources are meager but their hospitality is warm.

by C. Calia