This post was originally published on the Accion Medium account. You can see that here.
I breathe a sigh of relief as I step into the back of the van, its dark windows a blissful respite from the hot Haitian sun. Back in Boston, there’s still about six feet of snow on the ground, and my sweater and corduroys seem almost as out of place as the group of Canadian doctors riding in front of me on the way to their respective hotels. Our driver masterfully winds through the mountainous streets, gripping the wheel as he avoids at least three head-on collisions at the last minute. Rock outcroppings shoot out of the ground with wild abandon, a natural majesty usually absent from cities as big as Port-au-Prince. The city seems to wrap itself around the hillsides and cliffs, roads nestled into the rock just enough to avoid a steep fall, if one can manage to avoid the barrage of oncoming traffic, wandering farm animals, and wayward soda salesmen who seem to dance around every corner. The dance of their movements belies a deep understanding of, and comfort with, their surroundings.