Emory medical student gets a first glimpse of Haiti
By Nayla Khoury
It felt like we were walking into summer again as we descended the steps of the airplane and onto the tarmac. “Hopefully, living in Atlanta, you are used to this heat,” Arabelle said to me. “Some people pass out, you know.”
The five-hour car ride gave us a peek of Haiti. We leaned into the windows of our Pathfinders, catching glimpses of narrow roads leading off the windy track. There was much construction, or unfinished work, or ruins- we weren’t sure what. Robbie explained that Haitians are taxed less on a building if its “under construction,” which may explain why many buildings were half painted. There is much to find out.
This is my first time to Haiti so all I know is what I have seen from the bumpy car ride. I was surprised by how rural it was, even the capital city, though this should have been expected. Much of the land looked unpopulated. I was surprised seeing cactus living side-by-side with palm trees, and by a family of pigs and piglets squealing on the side of the road (they are so cute!). Driving through Cange, I was amazed at how Paul Farmer’s clinic, Zanmi Lasante, towered over the surrounding village. This is not my first trip in a developing country, but I was nevertheless surprised by the shacks these Haitians may call home, by the glimmers of light bulbs shining through thatched roofs, and by the breathtaking views of nature that these residents enjoy.
It was just a glimpse, an appetizer of sorts. I wanted to stop at every village, to run down the windy paths and find out where they lead. I can’t wait for the rest of the week. I am hungry for more.