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04/05/2012

Back in Haiti!

It has been 10 days since I came back into Haiti with JEN.

10 great days during which I saw so many improvement and changing in the streets of Port au Prince or on the road to our field office in Grand Goave, driving through Martissant, Carrefour, Mariani, Gressier or Leogane.

All these places where I drove through so many times from March 2010 and July 2011! Everywhere I see changing! Most of the debris has completely disappeared, making the road usable on its full width! And portions of the national road number 2 severely affected by the earthquake have been renovated, improving the traffic conditions impressively!

It didn’t fix fully the problem of traffic jams in Port au Prince though! Even though the capital did change for the better quite a lot in my eyes! With many more public lights installed, commuting overcrowded bus stop better located and organized and significant improvement of the garbage collection system the whole atmosphere of the city is changed! Seeing hundreds of children in their school uniform waiting on secure spaces for buses that are free has also been fantastic!

Discovering at once all this improvement made me thinking that had been out of the country 9 months! 9 months I spent in Europe where the media were only mentioning once in a while Haiti, always when hurricanes, political tensions or general instability… true enough but I have some memories going all the way back from March 2010 and things have definitely changed and are changing still!

If this visual very first contact back into Haiti was excellent, the better had to come with meeting again with former and new colleagues, speaking créole and meeting constantly with known and friendly faces, from the guard I hardly knew at Port au Prince Office to the local authorities in Leogane!

It was great to meet again with some colleagues that I did recruit 2 years ago when emergency time made us walk all day long in the mountain, assessing the damages of the earthquake house by house with terrified population living in spontaneous camps!

Remembering this challenging and physically exhausting period and comparing with today there is no comparison! As for the staff updating me on what happened during my absence there is no comparison either! Their self confidence and general overview of the situation have improved so much!

I’m definitely truly happy to be back in Haiti! After this long break of 9 months it is fully refreshed and inspired by my 16 previous months spent here that I start on a new project for JEN in Leogane.
This new project consider in supporting YEC in its renovation activities of the streets of Leogane centre, my task and responsibility is to ensure a good organization of the hard labor crew from Leogane employed by the specialized Haitians building companies operating under YEC authority.

More coordination and reporting than pure field activities like in the previous WASH program I was involved previously but for sure still a real challenge as it is a completely different part of “cultural differences” I do have to learn!

April 5, 2012 in Haiti |