I’m back in Florida now. The day started with a trip to the Port-au-prince airport for our “9 am” flight from the folks at MAF. They provide a wonderful service, but they’re not so great on communication. Turns out they simply wanted us there at 9; the flight wasn’t until 11. Well, the plane didn’t arrive until 11:45, but that’s just Haiti time. We didn’t end up taking off until 1pm. Dr. Dan was in our group, but he left to get on an earlier UN flight when we found out the REAL timing of our planned route.
The cool thing about the plane, when it did come, was that it was the Hendrick Motorsports team plane. They were giving out hats and stuff. Nice, fast plane. We arrived in Ft. Pierce 2.5 hours later, cleared immigration (lost my camera case), and got in our rental to drive to West Palm Beach. We have a flight tomorrow morning (5:45am!) back to Portland. It was wonderful getting off the plane and feeling the cool Florida air. So now I’m sitting on my bed at the hotel, when I should probably be sleeping. The shower was amazing. I washed every part of me twice, and the water was still dirty. It feels so good to be clean again, and I’m glad I saved a clean pair of clothes for the trip home.
It’s funny how those little things can completely change your sense of everything. Haiti feels like a distant memory, though I was there mere hours ago. I think I changed based on my setting. In Haiti, I was in disaster response mode, working non-stop, enduring the environment and just trying to help. Now, I’m in travel mode, just trying to get home. And back in Portland? I imagine I’ll slip back into normal life pretty quickly.
While I’m thankful I generally adjust to new places quickly, I’m also worried about forgetting too quickly. There’s so much need down there, and there will be for so long. I don’t want to leave that behind, however busy my life gets with “normal” stuff. We, as Americans, forget so quickly. I saw it after Katrina, the tsunami, and I’m sure it will happen here. In a few more weeks, it won’t be on the news anymore. And the giving will slow down. But the work will continue and the need will be just as real. Please don’t forget Haiti.
There’s at least one thing still with me: I thought I felt my bed shake a little several times tonight and I panicked. It will take some time to let go of “earthquake watch” mode. They scare me now.