Saturday, July 23, 2011

Work Trip to Haiti

I got back home a week ago from a week-long work trip to Haiti... it was truly a memorable experience. While most of my time was spent doing IT work in helping perform a systems migration (with the help of our senior network administrator from Maryland and our local IT staff) for all their computers, I certainly did see a bit of scenery and unbelievable sights along the way. Our staff down there were all very nice and wonderful to work with, and I understand that they are doing good things for the people of Haiti on multiple projects including reconstruction/rubble removal, etc. You can read about their work on the CHF International website. :)

Now for the visual candy part... I'd like to share a couple of pictures with my readers so you can see what I saw down there... :)


I did try to pack light, but my work decided to send me with a giant plastic tank of a suitcase with some equipment after we discovered it was needed for our project. And yes, that's a garment bag... with the exception of a couple of small essentials (a comb, for example) , I did manage to pack everything I needed for a whole week... shockingly!

Haitian immigration... I think I stood in line for over an hour... this is just the beginning... there was an entire warehouse inside with lines that wrapped around... totally organized chaos...

Restaurant at the Hotel Montana... pretty good food and beautiful location. If you ever visit, make sure you take a look at the views of the landscape from the balcony!
Click above to pan around the view from the Hotel Montana restaurant balcony...

Probably my best all-direction panoramic stitching... this particular balcony view is just lovely...

Working on laptops... and yes... I was cold, which is why I have a sweater on...

This is one of the poorer communities... the people who have money build on flat ground leaving those less well off to build on the side of the mountain without mortar... which is why national disasters are so debilitating to the island... the whole place falls apart at the slightest wind or shaking of the earth...
Click above to pan around the image... 

This was part of the process, we created new accounts and had to get everyone logged in for the first time on the new system...

Working with our local colleagues, who helped us finish the project in a timely manner... without them, we'd probably still be there now! 
Adding printers... :)

Rooftop view

Finally went shopping towards the middle of my stay... Giant is the premiere grocery store... they had a lot of odd items and I'm told that their selection varies without warning. Buy what you need if you see it, because it may never be stocked again...

This was during a torrential rain... people and cars were literaly wading in as much as two feet of rapidly running water down hills on what was the side of the road... it was a sight to see! I did slip and fall on my side when I was running into our office to try not to get wet... that wasn't so fun... lol

All our offices are filled with instructional signs... I found them often amusing... everything from keeping doors shut to flushing in the bathroom... oh and uneven floor warnings... (architects are optional in Haiti)
Only picture I have of my room... and yes, that is my travel steamer... totally brilliant device!
I figured out how to download Breakfast at Tiffany's from my home computer across the internet to my iPhone and then hook it up to the television. * smile *

Hilarious sign in an office

The cell phone loaner I had... kinda cool because it had a flashlight built-in! It was really helpful when we were working in unlit closet spaces!

Yes... this is actually a cow walking on the sidewalk... earlier our driver had to scatter some goats that were in the middle of the r

Beyond the fence is a long open-aired walkway you have to traverse to get to the parking lot when you arrive in Haiti... these are people simply watching people arrive... probably not for any particular reason

The airport

Waiting in the airport in Port au Prince

On the flight to Miami
Riding the Miami Skylink :)
My reflection in an airport window... and yes, I did forget cufflinks too... :P
You'll notice that many of my pictures show the nicer side of Haiti... I didn't take pictures of everything... largely I didn't want to make people feel uncomfortable by doing the whole tourist snap thing... so I snuck in photos when I could, particularly in areas where there weren't people. Places not filled with people are hard to find, though.