Subject: RE: Never
Good afternoon around the world....

I would have to say that of all the places we've been thus far Haiti would be the one we would least like to return to. It was a very interesting experience - Baby Doc was still in power. In spite of a pleasant visit to the Jane Barbencourt rum distillery, the poverty was a level of such that we could hardly bear it. To say these people were desperate would be a positive statement. We sat in a car in very hot weather with armless, handless people reaching their limbs through the open windows begging. We were warned that to give them anything would create a riot of people storming our van and so we could only ignore them... About as much as one could ignore a ravenous, roaring lion a foot away. There was also a very eerie feeling riding along and looking at all the voodoo going on. We were taken to the famous Iron Market where there were 65,000 people in one square block! Incredible. We were advised not to get out of the van - too dangerous. We were surrounded by a SEA of humanity parting in front for the van and very swiftly closing behind as we inched along. Our stomachs were in our throats the entire time. We then left there for an afternoon at a place called HABITATION LE CLERC. It was surrounded by military guards with automatic weapons. We couldn't figure out what was going on and once inside it was the first thing we asked. We were told that they were there for the guest's protection from the rabble outside the walls. Two days before, we had been in Santo Domingo only hours after the leader had been assassinated. We still toured the city and the Christopher Columbus home as well as his grave in the Cathedral, etc. It was very frightening for us since we come from a country where these things are not common - but even this did not prepare us for Port au Prince. Upon departure we were terribly sad and could hardly manage to bring ourselves up from the depths of despair we found ourselves in. There was absolutely nothing we could do. We felt both helpless and hopeless at the same time. No, we would not like to visit that spot again. We were very happy to leave Haiti that day and did not look back.

Sara Wetegrove Alive and WELL in Tucson, Arizona