Our CEO and chief Declan Murphy left Ireland last Friday 23rd Nov as part of the Volunteer In Haiti, Build it Week NOVEMBER 2012. Declan departed along with other volunteers to complete a week of House Building in Léogâne, one of the areas hit worst by the 2010 earthquake.
Haven Haiti Volunteer Mission Day 1 Diary Entry.
Got up at 0445 in New York to get to the airport for the flight to Port au Prince. Murphy’s law kicked in because as soon as I got to the desk the computers crashed and we ended up queuing for over an hour, not what you want to spend quality sleeping time doing. Still though the humor is good. Volunteers are comparing notes on ‘is it your first time’ or ‘how did you raise your funds?’
Some novel ideas are being discussed like donkey Derbys and sponsored ‘ ‘bake offs’. It all makes a difference when you see what the money is being spent on.
There are 90 Irish volunteers heading to a place called Leogoene. Even though I’ve been on this trip before I’m still slightly nervous about what sights will greet us when we get there.
The contrast between what we are used to on a daily basis and what Haitian life is like is stark and it only hits you when you step off the plane into the 3rd world mayhem that is Port au Prince.
We have the prospect of meeting Garth Brooks and his wife Trish Yearwood to look forward to as part of a 500 strong American volunteer group that are also converging on our campsite today.
During the week we will be joined by former president Jimmy carter and his wife Roslyn who are the patrons for this initiative on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.
…… Just landed in Port au Prince we are taken through immigration and customs which is like a disused 1950’s factory and very hot. The buses take us on the 2 hour or 20 mile journey to the site through some of the poorest slums I’ve seen. At one point we pass what looks like a landfill site which has adults and children poking through the smoldering rubbish gathering bottles and anything with even a nominal value.
There are still thousands of tents and shacks along the road and it now approaching the third anniversary of the earthquake.
We arrive at the site and are allocated our tents. There are three large tents housing 85 volunteers per tent. We are lucky enough to be given a 4 person tent which I’m sharing with three other foremen.
Finally I unpack and get ready for the early start tomorrow!