Sitting in the back of the taxi, my mind felt split down the middle. I was late for a red-eye flight to Haiti but my 7 year-old son had forgotten his sleeping bag and the guilty mom in me made the cavalier decision to squeeze in a last-minute drop off at the slumber party. En route, I glanced down at my phone. A message just in from a colleague who lives in Port-au-Prince reads: “Cholera rising. Slow progress from the president. Slow rebuilding. Assassinations and kidnapping on rise last two weeks. Electric air.”
Well that’s reassuring.
I look up and there’s my son and his friends flagging down my cab. His sweet smile just on the other side of the glass. Two speedy hugs later, I’m back in the cab, reunited with the troubling message on my phone.
The 10x10 campaign sent my colleagues and me to Haiti back in May in search of candidates for our feature film about girls empowerment in poverty-stricken countries and to learn more about how our nonprofit partner organizations like Plan and Partners in Health support girls education. When we make an initial trip to any country, we interview dozens of girls for our film. In Haiti, we met fifty and had the difficult task of narrowing them down to one to become the inspiration for the Haiti chapter of the film.
I fell in love with Haiti on that first trip. Before this one, our film insurance company didn’t ease my concerns, but then again, they’re paid to ponder the worst. Securing coverage for this second trip meant I had to call Partners in Health and ask about their “gun” policy. “We don’t believe in guns,” explained their communications team, “but don’t worry we will have a couple of drivers and two security guards.” Not exactly the assurances the insurance broker was looking for.
“Could you please drive faster?” I’m now worried about making my flight. I wondered if Edwidge Danticat was in the throes of a similar mental tug-of-war. Edwidge, acclaimed writer and beloved ambassador for the Haitian people, was leaving behind two baby girls in Miami so she could spend time with the girl she chose for the Haiti chapter of the 10x10 film.
The bright lights of LAX snap me into gear. I shrug off the concerns. After all, the girls of Haiti cope with these dangers on a daily basis. Let’s get real.
We’ll be sharing stories and photos from our second trip to Haiti all week. Follow us on Facebook to catch them all.