A blog by Dan Moen
Interestingly enough I feel a tremendous amount of anxiety the day before leaving to travel. The only way I can explain the anxiety is that there are so many unknowns on the trip. I have to admit that I am a worrier and unfortunately it can take up a lot of time in my little brain. Some of the concerns are: I will be meeting my UU College of Social Justice colleagues for the first time-how will that work out? What will it be like for me to be in a developing country? Port-Au-Prince is not Dublin. Yikes, everything will be OK. Before leaving I called my daughter Rachel in Denver who has spent months in Guatemala. I told that I was anxious about how the peasants of MPP would receive us? How do they feel about a bunch of white people coming to visit with them? She said my job is to simply stand in “Solidarity” with them. “Just let them know you support their struggle,” she said. I took the word “solidarity” and kept repeating it to myself like a mantra.
I flew to JFK for a connecting flight to Haiti. Once on the flight to Haiti I realized quickly that everyone on this plane, were black or Haitians. I said to myself, “I am in the country already”. I had a few conversations and discovered that most of the people lived in the US and were flying to Haiti visit family. One man said that he is a truck driver in New Jersey and makes a trip to see his girlfriend once a month.
I arrived in Port-Au-Prince at 10 am. My UU College of Social Justice leaders, Michele and Rebecca met me after I passed through customs. Our group would be arriving on various flights all day long. We waited for one more arrival before being taken to motel, the Palm Inn. Our leaders would spend the rest of the day picking up our fellow travelers at the airport and transporting them over deeply rutted roads to the motel. The rest of the day was spent getting acquainted with my new group. A wonderful group of people—I have successfully eliminated any anxiety I had on Friday night.