On customs forms, my destination is spelled – Christianville, Haiti.
Christianville is not a town, city or village but a walled, fenced, compound in the Haitian countryside that is a trade school, a co-ordinating point for churches from abroad doing missions in Haiti, a research lab on TB and infectious diseases, an operator of three private schools, K-12, and the location of Ms. Sue’s children’s home.
The ride to Christianville from Port Au Prince is a juggernaut with the nightmare being highway repair that forces four lanes into one single file lane with police spot checking paperwork of vehicles and driver’s passing through the gauntlet.
Along the main road leading out of town, darting in and out of cars, are walking vendors peddling bottled water, food, treats, toys, and anything else they might make a dime from. Along the rutted road are shacks,smoldering fires, garbage and gaunt faces of urban people surviving a country with eighty percent unemployment.
Through this juggernaut, Ms. Sue, Hannah and myself leave Port Au Prince, enter rolling countryside, green with fields, and, in the distance, mountains. The countryside, anywhere, is better than the city. Cities are squeezed, packed, crammed, noisy, crowded and stacked. The countryside is open, wide, green, quiet, expansive, shady.
My purpose is to make repairs at Ms. Sue’s kid’s home, but most repairs needed here go beyond my pay grade.
I can’t put broken families together. I can’t undo untimely deaths. I can’t make things equal.
If I can mostly leave things better than they were when I arrived, I will be successful.
Broken rain gutters, sagging gates, leaky plumbing, walls needing paint, and moving dirt will be on my plate this week and earning my eighth travel ring will take some effort.