Ciamhie took part in Haven’s Build It Week in November 2012. Here, in her regular updates from the site, she shared her experiences and all the progress made by the teams of volunteers.
What an interesting two days it’s been!
We arrived at Dublin Airport at 8am on Friday morning, a bag of nerves and excitement, and recognising some familiar faces from last year’s trip but delighted to see many new additions. Haven Ambassador, Paul O’Connell, added to the excitement, by greeting us all in the departure lounge and wishing us luck, joined by Haven veteran George Hook. With all our photos taken (you know everyone wanted their photo taken with the two Irish legends!), we headed off through security and US customs on our first leg of our two-day travel to reach our destination.
First stop, New York, where we would spend a few quick hours and grab some much-needed rest, before our second leg from JFK to Port Au Prince, Haiti.
By the time we arrived in Haiti just after lunch today, we were dying to get to the site. A local Haitian band met us at the airport, filling the sticky air with sweet reggae tunes. This only added to the excitement and sense of occasion, as we joined over 500 Habitiat for Humanity volunteers who would be working side by side with us as part of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. What we were to witness and experience this week was going to change our lives.
The hour long bus journey was a quiet and emotional one. The scenes we saw from the windows of the bus only emphasised how important the work of Haven and, indeed, Habitat for Humanity really is to the people of country.
I know I’ve said it before, but I really do not know how these people get up every morning and motiviate themselves. This country has been struck by one natural disaster after another, without ever having a chance of fully recovering.
The scenes were dim, bleak, devastating and soul destroying, yet there were clear improvements from the same trip we took last year. We were able to see much more trading and entrepreneurship, with small shops and stalls lining the streets of Port-au-Prince. The piles of rubble left from the devastating earthquake that struck nearly three years ago have most definitely decreased, and building was also much more evident. The people of Haiti are striving to rebuild Haiti; all they need is a helping hand. The most moving images I witnessed though was the little glimmer of hope in the eyes of the people lining the street to watch our eleven, 52 seater buses travel in convoy to our campsite in Léogâne.
Looking forward to sharing our journey with you as the week progresses!
Espwa Pou Ayiti- Hope for Haiti