Back to the Gym

I finally went to the gym today, after being absent from it for almost two weeks. It sure felt good. And it felt really great that I had not lost any of my strength or endurance during that time. I even challenged myself and got two 45 second planks done!

Oh, what’s that you say? Where was I? ¬†Oh yeah. Haiti. What would you like to hear about?

The city slums?

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The country slums?

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Side-of-the-road slums? (a strip mall??)

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How about what I thought were little ATM boxes everywhere on the side of the road? Turns out they were lottery boxes. Just what a devastated country needs.

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Do I sound… I don’t know how I sound, or even what I feel. We were headquartered in Port au Prince, and drove through rubble and slums and tent cities and garbage and a LOT of people every day and all the way out to the country area where Carrefour Poy was. Its just a lot to process.

We did have a very ‘successful’ trip, accomplishing almost everything we set out to do. We brought over 150 pairs of shoes with us, but we still ran out before we were able to give every child a pair of shoes. We were able to meet with each of the sponsored students, and quite a few of the students still waiting for sponsors. We had a ‘teacher appreciation dinner’ (served them American style sandwiches) and we were able to visit with some of the students in their homes.

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The similarities to Nairobi were almost eery. And as I learned in Nairobi, there is peace in a simple life. Our host and chauffeur and interpreter, Pastor Gilbert, lives in a modest home in the middle of the rubble of Port au Prince. Like I said, sometimes there is electricity, and sometimes there isn’t. When there isn’t electricity, there isn’t running water (one of the most useful things I learned was that I could wash my hair with 5 cups of water! One to wet my hair, and 4 to make sure it was rinsed. That will come in handy someday.) There were always people coming and going from his house, and they had several women living with them who had no where else to go. A young nursing student and their 5 year old niece also lived with them. And yet, in the midst of all that, I thought, “Gilbert’s home is a very peaceful place.” Oh, and they had THE MOST WONDERFUL COFFEE ready for us each morning. What else could a person want?

Here’s a couple of shots of us at the San Francisco airport, all bright and shiny, at the beginning of our journey.

My friend Wendy and her son, with their healthy choices of kombucha and coconut water.

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Guess what I found?

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And at the end of the trip, Wendy and I and the three outstanding young men who worked with us as interpreters and more.

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As always, I had a little travel quilting project with me. I don’t usually have that much time to work on my travel quilts, but they are like a security blanket for me. And just taking them along with me usually inspires the direction I will take with them. You can check out my travel quilt over on the quilt blog if you want to.

Regular stuff: I was very happy that I didn’t overeat on this trip at all. And my joints did extremely well with the airplane travel. I swear they have added leg room to all the planes. After spending a week in 80-90 degree weather, with irregular weather and irregular running water, I arrived home in the middle of the night to bitter cold. And ironically, just as I was looking forward to a nice American hot shower, my water pipes froze up.

I’m glad to be home.

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8 thoughts on “Back to the Gym

  1. I hope you share more of this trip Debby. I think it is important to really *see* how life is in other parts of the world. What an amazing experience to have as well. And I am not sure how you pull off light colored pants with all that dirt and sand around. I would look very disheveled and in need of laundry.

  2. I guess a lottery ticket buys hope, but at what price? I’m sure it’s hard to see poverty-stricken people spend what little money they have on that.

    I’m glad the trip was successful. You guys did a wonderful thing. :)

    And I’m smiling at you holding that cup of froyo – and it’s Pinkberry!!!

  3. I can’t even imagine what it must be to see so much poverty everywhere you look. I’m glad the trip was successful and rewarding for you!

    And I agree with Lori on the white pants thing. I can’t even get out of the house with them clean. :)

  4. I left a comment on here yesterday and now it’s gone!! :(

    If I recall, I said that what you are doing is important work and I am so impressed with you. I can’t imagine living in those slums. Oh, I remember – I asked if it was difficult transitioning back to our comfy American lifestyle after being in that environment? Did you feel immense gratitude when you finally got back home?

    So glad you’re back safe and sound!!

  5. You might have said and I just missed it. How are you collecting your shoes? My kids’ grade school collects gently used gym shoes (most kids will have out grown them by the next fall). These are sent to a charity. Our shoe store collects them also. I think those go (specifically) to migrant (produce) workers’ children.

  6. Like Lori said, I hope you can write more about your trip once you’ve figured out what you were “sounding” like. It’s so easy to forget how many people live in such incredible poverty. Something about your group running out of shoes to give away absolutely got me in my gut. I’m sure it broke your heart, seeing the overwhelming need and not having enough. Thank you for doing what so many of us (me included) haven’t thought or dreamed to do.

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