That’s all it took for me to decide to go to another country.
I’m a procrastinator so all it took for me to pack was just shy of 24 hours.
In a few short hours a country had lost everything.
Getting off the airplane, breathing in the wet, heavy air and following the shuffling, nervously excited crowd through the open-air airport, none of the images I had seen streaming on TVs came to mind.The press conference held by the Govenor General of Canada that I listened to and cried to wasn’t registering.
A few short hours away from where I planned to be vacationing and frolicking on a beach was a country full of desperation and despair.
A few short hours away from the airport sat the border between Dominican Republic and Haiti.
How could one side of an island be flattened, while the other still stood?
Throughout the week there were often times when the reality of where we were would hit us.
Strangely enough it would come at the same time.
A group of young adults, our lives still full of potential and advantages we largely aren’t aware of.
Laughing about what had happened the night before while replenishing our hydration levels with the free beverages supplied to us.
Then there would be a lull in conversation.
No one ever had a response beyond a nod or a murmur of some kind.
It was more someone using their voice for all our thoughts.
Our resort sat right in the small town of Sosua and it was easy to wander the streets and experience real Dominican life.
In the streets shop owners, women offering hair braiding, manicures and pedicures would call to us.
Sometimes we would stop and talk to them and we heard some of their stories.
Many of them were Haitian.
We were broke.
Our trip was funded by my mother.
We knew when we got home we would have to face bills that we had no income to pay for.
But we still had a home to return to.