Flying in over Miami from Haiti was an odd experience. I had a window seat and entertained myself for the beginning of the flight by studying the terrain of Haiti: the dense, chaotic communities of Port-au-Prince with houses practically built on top of each other, and the rugged deforested mountains sprinkled ever-so-sparsely with houses and farming plots. I could just make out some areas where whole neighborhoods had collapsed down mountainsides like fallen dominoes.
When the pilot instructed us over the PA system to prepare for landing, I pulled up the window cover and was taken aback by the sights below: Perfectly straight rows of McMansions with aquamarine pools, massive hotels, order, wealth, functionality. All things that are rarely, if ever, present in Haiti. The contrast was alarming; the perfection, disturbing. I looked up at the two Haitian men sitting in the row in front of me, staring out the window as well. I wondered what their lives had been like, and what a person would think experiencing the United States after living their entire lives in Haiti. I imagined that person was me, even though I’d only spent two weeks there, and that I was seeing things in perspective for the first time looking down at Miami, realizing how bad things actually were in Haiti. There are so many problems there, problems of so large a scope they seem impossible to fix. But when you live there, it’s just life. It’s just the way things are.
Impossible though they may seem for fix or even help, I’m still going to try, through my little humanitarian project.
Looking back on my time in Haiti, it all feels like a dream now. A very strange dream. And you were there and you were there and you…