Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas in Haiti

Aussie friend Chris, who works for the U.N., found herself on a short assignment in Haiti just just a few weeks before I'd moved into my trailer in Florida in mid December. Suddenly she was not only not half way around the world, she was just a short flight away. The opportunity to spend Christmas together seemed obvious.

This makes it my third tropical Christmas in a row, after having spent Christmas of 2006 and 2007 in Fremantle, Australia.

I'd never been to Haiti before and found it a land of desparation. Chris works with food distribution in areas of deep poverty and I was able to witness such in levels I'd never seen before, not even in Nepal.

On the brighter side, it is a tropical island, after all, and Chris' smile is perhaps the brightest I've ever seen in my life. We had many good times in Port-au-Prince, and started our own tradition of a pina colada before anything else every evening of the week I was there.

I also joined her co-workers (of every nationality imaginable, including one country in Africa I'd never heard of before) on a cookout on a nearby beach. A bevy of children full of bright smiles swarmed around us half way through the day, focusing on Chris (no fools, they), looking for nothing but our happy energy given back.