Posted by: posthaiti | February 5, 2010

HODR goes to leogane feb. 15!

today came the most exciting news i’ve heard since coming home: Hands On Disaster Response, or HODR, will deploy on Feb. 15…in the town of leogane! can you believe it? i’d like to go just to be able to find some peeps amidst the rubble, as it were.

so, in order to vol, you actually have to apply. they’ve gotten around 3,000 inquiries, so at this point they’re taking applications on their web site and giving priority to skilled workers and past HODR vols (if you volunteered in gonaives in 2008, you’ve got a better shot). go here for the full announcement.

i applied first thing this morning, with my target leave date either march 7 or march 21, returning (gulp) may 31. i’m not even sure they’ll take me, as i have no building, engineering, or medical skills, which is still what most agencies down there right now are looking for. since i’ve got some unexpected (and reasonably well-paid — thanks, state of NY!) free time that i’d love to devote to haiti’s people, i figure two-and-a-half months is not that long. and, from experience, time goes fast when you’re with the one you love, so to speak. i’m sure even inside the chaos there right now, that familiar and ancient rhythm of life will descend upon the bones and make it feel like you want to stay forever.

on a much more somber note, flo, the wonderful, quirky artist whom i met while breezing from PAP to jacmel, was finally returned to her parents’ home in vermont this week. at the ‘we are going with flo’ blog, a post from today says that his ashes are finally back with his family. flo, i think, knew well the feeling of not just liking haiti, but falling in love with it. that feeling of, ahh, i’m home. THIS is where i belong, THIS is where i need to be. i’m simply glad that he died doing exactly what he loved doing; i think about that often now before going to sleep or during the day when i’m having bad thoughts or feeling anxious, sad, angry, you name it: i think, what would flo be doing? is this how i really want to be spending my time? if this was the last day of my life, what would i be doing, thinking, saying, eating, reading, writing, looking for and at, creating, loving?

actually, i’ve had a bit of trouble keeping up with the news and what’s going on in haiti, outside of HODR announcing their deployment. incidentally, i wrote my butt off today, outlining a piece that one day, i hope, might be long enough and readable enough to become a book. i’m excited, as i think i’ve at last settled on the voice. one of the biggest challenges (so far) of writing long-form anything is finding the right voice and finding it every time you sit down to write. that’s not easy, and i don’t know how it works. sometimes it’s a state of mind, others, it’s not.

anyway, i hope to put the blog and following haiti first and my book outlining second over the next several weeks, so stay tuned for updates.

i had a request for pictures today and realized that i really need to post my haiti pix on flickr. so, those will be up tomorrow, along with a post talking about my experience in jacmel and part one of a recount of the vodou ceremonies in the next days.



  1. SO beautiful and heartbreaking.
    Thank you,

    Ann McGarrell

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