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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Typically-unusual last day in Haiti: Haiti isn't the only country to experience power failures

On Sunday, May 19 we traveled home. For me, it was a day of mixed emotions. I was certainly anxious to get home to family and to work responsibilities. At the same time, I felt that some of the inertia we built up over the 10 days was about to end. It's difficult to foster program development, whether mentoring or English language or otherwise, from 2000+ kms away.

Traveling on Sunday was book-ended with two "typically-unusual" (a new phrase for me that pretty accurately describes working in Haiti) events. The first occurred @ 6:45 am as we sat down for breakfast at the Stella Maris in Cap-Haitien. Andre ran into the room and informed us that our flight had been changed from 8:30 to 7:45 am. We called Justin and rushed to eat and complete our packing. Justin arrived in 30 minutes and we were off. We pulled into the small Cap airport at about 7:35 and checked in. You have to understand that the Cap airport is small and we were the only flight leaving. And our flight involved 19 people. In typically-unusual Haitian style, we then waited until after 8 to start boarding. We departed at 8:15. So much for leaving at 7:45. One of the nuns at the Stella Maris said that sometimes the airline will pull this type of manouver in the hope of selling the person's ticket when he/she does not arrive on time.

The flight from Cap, included a "fly-over" of the Citadelle; what a gorgeous view.

After a 30 minute flight to Port au Prince (quite the contrast to the 6+ hours of driving we did earlier in the week to get from PAP to Cap), the group spent the morning touring the city. Jimmy, Jhonel's brother who owns a number of private schools in Haiti, coordinated this time and was a great host. The tour included seeing where the national palace used to stand. It has recently been razed due to the damage it suffered in the earthquake.

The pictures of the crumbled palace were symbolic of the state of affairs in Haiti after the earthquake. The group also got to see the new5-star Occidental hotel in PAP. A key word which we had used regularly to describe Haiti was "contrasts" and the hotel certainly represented this.

Karley had not been feeling well so she and I hung out at a restaurant while the group toured some of the city. In typically-unusual style, Karley slept with her head on a table for about 1.5 hours! At the end of that time, Chris and Kelly Lieb, friends from previous trips to Haiti walked into the restaurant. What a coincidence! Chris and I spent time discussing getting phones to him to distribute to some of his contacts. This will be where many of the donated BlackBerries will go since they will be distributed across the country to some of the more remote communities. This will give a good opportunity to test the Digital Mentoring Project in marginalized areas.

Our flights to Miami and then to Toronto were on-time but our last book-end typically-unusual event occurred when we pulled into the gate in Toronto: The power on the plane went out. We were on time but we had to wait 10 minutes for the doors to be opened and we exited with the aid of emergency lighting and flashlights. I guess the power doesn't go off just in Haiti!

Well, we've come full-circle. We started with a ride to TO thanks to Scott and Red Car Service and here we are getting ready to go home!

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