Disaster Shakti – Haiti – Journal

June 11, 2010 – Pre-Trip Journal Entry
Gargi Roysircar

Disaster Shakti’s Food and Bake Sale for Haiti on 6-7-10 collected $190.00 in a quick lunch-break fund-raising event. We’ll be taking the money to Haiti, mostly to pay for translation services, which are $25.00 per day. Many thanks to SERD/Shakti volunteers who cooked and served, Catherine Peterson and Liz Allyn, Clinical Psychology’s staff who did the set up, Dept Chair, Kathi Borden, who publicized our event, contributed food, and socialized with interested visitors, and everyone who bought our ethnic cuisine. Your donated money will be used only for people in Haiti. Thank you for remembering Haiti.

I am all packed to go. From Dick’s Sporting Store in Keene, I purchased a long ski bag into which my tent, camp cot, and pillow, also from Dick’s, fit nicely. Into corners are my lightweight pants, t-shirts, breathable hiking shoes, and straw hat (all from Sam’s Outdoor Store in Keene), which are my professional clothes as a therapist. Doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Keene, who have just retuned from Haiti, tell me that Haitians expect professional providers to dress carefully (i.e., no tank tops and shorts). I am sewing two cotton sheets into a mummy-like sleeping bag. The DHM doctors tell me that it’s good that I am going to sleep on a cot and will be wrapped in sheets. Rats scurry in and out and insects buzz around, even in houses, and we’ll be staying in the open air (by the way, I have never camped before). There are rats in water pipes. When I shower I need to keep my mouth shut and away from the falling water and must only drink bottled water and soda, which can be bought easily. I am up to date with my travel shots from Disaster Shakti’s trip to Mexico two years ago, and I’ve had my first anti-malaria pill. I am taking with me cippro in case of stomach upsets.

The returning doctors tell me that the food of rice and beans is good and that in Port du Prince there is a Chinese restaurant and two American ice cream stores. Safety and security is not a concern, but that we should remain in our relief workers group. However, we need to be prepared for scary driving by motor vehicle drivers, whether public or private. The first day upon our arrival at Port du Prince will be a shock because of the rubble and devastation, but we’ll soon adapt as we get to work. There is a fine clean beach outside Port du Prince, which we perhaps we’ll visit if we can.

From Keene’s VerizonWireless, I bought a blackberry with international connection from Haiti to the United States. So be prepared to receive from me phone calls, text messages, pictures, and videos. Since Haiti has internet connection, I hope the Antioch library will loan me a small laptop. Then I can post in the Community Discourse link my Haiti journal entries. If you receive these notes, please send me encouragement and support because that will sustain me though challenging times.

Thank you for reading my pre-trip journal entry. Au revoir dear supporters,
Gargi Roysircar