If my experience with travelling has taught me anything, it’s that there will always be hiccups along the way – you just have to mentally prepare yourself for any situation with the knowledge that things will eventually work themselves out. And so my trip to Haiti to begin my 6-month internship started off with a series of inconveniences. The night before our flight to Toronto, we found out that our original flight was cancelled and we were booked onto a later flight (this turned out to be an insignificant issue in comparison to the challenges we ran into on the actual day of flights). That morning, I received an email from the airline stating that my flight had been cancelled and they were unable to book me onto another flight. After some frantic calls we were able to get onto a later flight to Toronto.
During our layover there, we found out that we were supposed to have picked up our baggage to go through US customs – which we of course didn’t discover until after we had left the baggage claim area. We then spent a few hours stranded in the airport, not knowing where our baggage was or how to retrieve them. We finally ended up tracking down our luggage and making it to our gate in time.
As we were waiting to board the flight to Miami, the airline called my name up and I thought to myself “What is it going to be this time?”. It turned out that since I’d stated that I was going to be in Haiti for 6 months, they wouldn’t let me board the flight unless I showed a ticket proving that I was going to cross the Dominican border to renew my Haitian visa when it expired in 3 months. Proof which I of course didn’t have since we had just planned on crossing the border via car. This was resolved after explaining to them (and pleading, at least in my case) that the Haitian embassy’s advice was just to cross the border in-country to renew the visa.
When we arrived at the Miami hotel, we found out that there was just one bed booked for us two interns rather than two beds as our original reservation showed. At this point I had come to expect problems to arise so I wasn’t too surprised.
So when we finally landed in Haiti yesterday afternoon, breezing through passport control and baggage claim with no problem, it felt quite surreal. Experiencing issues makes you appreciate all the more situations that go smoothly. I’m sure there will be many, many misadventures and mishaps to come in Haiti – I just have to remind myself to go with the flow, because everything will work out. Eventually.
Isabelle Kim is working in Haiti with ISCA and Les Soeurs Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur as a Value-Chain and Agri-Business Coordinator.