I had to cut the trip short because of a couple of urgent day job items so Andree and I flew out of PauP Sunday afternoon. Landed in Miami took a cab to Ft. Lauderdale airport picked up the car and drove home. 13 hours total travel time a tremendous improvement on previous trips.
We had a bit of a problem getting across the city to the airport because suddenly in the last couple of days there are dump trucks and small bulldozers (mostly Bobcats) everywhere. The rubble cleanup accelerated in the four days we were there and by Sunday morning the dust in the air was as thick as it was immediately after the earthquake. That is a positive. Roads that were clear six weeks ago now have rubble piles in them as the people of the city move rubble from the collapsed buildings to the roadside. That is the sytem the government has set up: move the rubble to the roadside and the government will pick it up. That is the same process used for removal of bodies immediatley after the earthquake; it seems to be working.
We saw a number of frame buildings being put up on cleared city lots. Frame construction with tin roofs.
Today is when schools have been told to reopen. There is a lot of anxiety for people on this; they want their children to go to school however many of the schools are private and charge fees and most of those who had jobs no longer are employed as most businesses shut down due to either destruction of the business or loss of customer base. Another concern is that it is very difficult to move around and transporting students is going to take hours back and forth every day.
On the negative side I read a Red Cross report last week that more than one million tents have been distributed and most of the population has a tent. We went from PauP to Leogane to Jacmel on Saturday (a very interesting trip) and the majority of the population is living in makeshift shelter still. I have no idea where all of these tents are going.
Even with a tent the living conditions continue to be horrible for the displaced. The tents are right next to the roads; sometimes in the roads; and are covered with thick dust. Even with daily heavy rain the dust is pervasvie I have a sore throat just from breathing it for three days. I can not imagine having a small child living in a tent at or on the road breathing that all of the time.
This, my third trip to Haiti after the earthquake, was the first trip where it was necessary to have money. There are hotels and restauraunts and taxis. Not many and there are waiting lists for rooms. And things, for us at least, have gotten very expensive. Three nights in a hotel and two meals a day cost us just under a thousand dollars. A couple of club sandwiches and Coke for lunch runs around $ 50 without tip. Ouch. For what we spent on this trip we could have had a nice vacation. Drivers and ancillary costs and airplanes and all that and it got expensive.
I am of two minds about spending money like this to stay in a hotel I would not even go near here in the USA. On the one hand I do not like the high prices however pumping $ 1,000 a day into the tourism and hotel economy can not be a bad thing for Haiti.
That's all for now.