In our latest update from the founder, Elade talks about how much progress has been made in Zorange in the last 10 years, how the place that was once barren is now a thriving community. Danielle Lazzaro, one of our awesome volunteers, experienced the same feelings of amazement at the progress that has been made in Haiti, even in just the last year since she was there last. Danielle traveled to Haiti on our January trip, and has shared some of her reflections, looking back on the the trip the week after returning home:
I am not even sure where to begin when talking about this past trip to Haiti. For me it was another amazing experience to add to my list of Haiti adventures. We arrived in Port-Au-Prince on the morning of January 30th. To my surprise everything was organized and the airport was calm and quiet, totally different from the crowed and chaotic terminal we navigated back in March right after the earthquake. We managed to collect our bags and waited for our fearless leader to pick us up.
It was hot, and sunny and it felt so good! We piled into the truck and headed out. Driving through Port-Au-Prince felt different this time. To my surprise a lot of the rubble had been removed and clean up crews were hard at work. Construction projects were underway and life seemed as though it was back to normal, well as normal as life there can get! But for me driving through the city did not affect me as much as it had the first time I came. This time there were no tear but smiles at the progress that seemed to be happening all around us.
Elade surprised us with a overnight stop at Laumando hotel… in Jacmel. What a wonderful surprise. The hotel had closed down after the Earthquake but it was back up and running. For the new travelers it was a complete shock, Deborah, Shirley and Maria couldn’t believe that a place could exist like that in Haiti. We all enjoyed a hot shower, a great meal, and quickly become close friends.
We packed up early the next morning and headed home to Zorange! After 8 coconuts, two bottles of Creme da Cacao and a flat tire, we arrived at the top of the mountain. It felt so good to be there! Rita and I cried of course, Dr. G was all smiles and the newbies were anxious to see what the next four days had in store.
As we got out of the car and headed into Zorange, there it was – the dorm! It was beautiful. Two bathrooms, a large living room, four bedrooms and a porch! I couldn’t believe my eyes! All I could think was how far we had come! It wasn’t long ago when we were setting up the tents and making group trips to the outhouse! There was running water, real toilets and even ELECTRICITY! I was speechless. Elade took all of us up to the school right away for another surprise, The building had been completed. The school was finished! I was blown away by all of the amazing progress that has been made.
We all worked hard, and enjoyed every minute we spent in Zorange with each other and with our old friends. The nurses at the clinic impressed us all. Everything that Elade has wished for had come true. We spent our evenings making plans for the new clinic and hospital, sipping cold Prestige and playing boardgames with the kids from the area.
All of a sudden it was Friday morning, we headed to Bainet. It was great, though we didn’t really have to say goodbye yet because they all came with us! Vierge, Olivie, Gerta, Jude, Marcel, Nasson, TaTa and the rest of the group came along for the ride and night in Bainet. We enjoyed our last night in Haiti altogether and slept on the roof of our dorm under the stars.