Second First Impressions

The plane landed with a gentle thud followed by a thunderous applause and murmurs of ‘thank you Jesus’’. We were back inHaiti. In case we weren’t quite sure the blast of humid heat that welcomed us as we boarded the 30 second bus ride to the chaos of immigration sure let us know we were here. As we drove through the downtown streets I found myself recognizing land marks, already more spatially aware of our surroundings. It has been 8 months since our last visit (how time flies) and the streets seem much cleaner, as more rubble has been removed. The city is both marginally different in its aesthetic and feeling. Reminds me that nothing is stagnant, but rather, constantly evolving.

It’s funny how different each visit to a similar place can be. We feel so much more sure of our business this time, yet I find my nerves buzzing, slightly on edge. This ‘workation’, as Sway termed it, is the real deal. We have worked with talented interns and designers and made some serious contacts back inTorontoprior to this trip. There is more to prove, especially as we have already made pre orders. This needs to WORK. Of course, I know it will, but there remain those ever present nerves, which perhaps serve well to push us further in our work.

This time aroundPort-au-Princewill present itself in a much different light. Already we have met new people and experienced new delights. We are staying with a gentleman by the name of Vincent and his 5 year old son, Steffan Xavier, and their home-keeper,Alliance. Vincent hails fromFrancebut has been living inHaitifor over 12 years now. 4 years ago he adopted Steffan, a vibrant young boy who has taken to placing a tennis racket on our backs to transform us into Cinderella or monsters. Vincent started his own organization, privately funded, that works with young Haitians incorporating the arts and music.

Already it has been an engaging and language challenging experience. We are determined to improve our French and learn a few basics in Creole. Petit Steffan is a good teacher as he speaks quickly and constantly expects us to understand. Needless to say our tired brains crashed early last night as we fell into our bed by 9pm. We expect to find ourselves experiencing some night life at a later point J.

I am currently sitting amongst our designs and work plans at the INDEPCO office in downtownPort-au-Prince. We have reunited with Hans, the director of INDEPCO, his driver, Joclene, and Sael andBaselwho both work at INDEPCO. Seeing familiar faces eager to start working on our designs once more is invigorating. Plans to hit the Pepe markets with our newest friend-and Creole teacher-Perez are in the works for tomorrow. If all goes well not only will we unearth all the materials needed for the orders we are filling this time around but also we will stock pile for future orders.

In moments where we stand at the back of the factory, with machines buzzing, talking with Hans about the work plan to fill our orders I have to pinch myself in disbelief. Who would have thought these two ‘femmes blanches’ (as Steffan calls us) would be creating their own designs? I could not imagine embarking on this crazy and exciting ethical business adventure with anyone other than Conseulo. With a laugh always ready to bubble over, we are excited to take on anything that comes our way.

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