Our first full day began bright and early – a 6 a.m. wake-up call for morning yoga on the roof of the community center. I’m not much of a morning person – even after a couple years of early morning marathon training for 10, 15, 20 mile runs. But, it is always nice when you’re able to get up and get moving, especially at sunrise. And, especially in Haiti – when the dust and diesel isn’t quite as thick yet and there’s a little dampness in the air. The morning yoga sessions were very important to me – to get centered, balanced and find a moment of peace each day to prepare for what would always be very heavy, intensive days.
After a quick egg sandwich (food was not quite a culinary treat throughout our trip – but I always looked forward to a simple egg sandwich), we immediately headed downtown to the national penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. The drive wasn’t too long, but the sights were a lot to take in. Tent cities, piles and piles of trash along the sides of the road, armed military … We drove through Cité Soleil – dubbed the poorest place in the Western Hemisphere. There are anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 residents, all in a massive tent city, riddled with gang violence. En route through the area, we passed a crime scene – I couldn’t quite make out what was going on but there were UN soldiers, Haitian officers, crowds of people … and what I would make out in my photo later, a body, a man, laying dead on the ground.