This was the day I was waiting for: finishing up our site! It’s crazy that it fell on the same day as our last day here, but I don’t think I could have asked for a better project to end my stay here on. The morning started a little rough, there was some disagreement about the pace at which we should be working, but Breanne helped sort that all out and we were back to normal. The difficulty with the site today was that there was still work to be done, but it was all in one area, which meant you couldn’t really have everyone shoveling in the same tight spot, which meant some of us had to find random little projects to work on. Our project leader was Tim, who’d been the project leader for the last couple days, and he was absolutely amazing. There were a lot of girls on this site, and he was super patient in teaching us sledgehammer techniques. Over. And over. And over, again. Like I said, this man had patience. I did get to master my chicken dance technique quite a bit today: basically climb up a pile of rubble, hold on to the top, and kick your feet down so the rubble will fall to the bottom and people can shovel it into the wheel barrow. Best job ever.

We packed up for lunch and went to wait for our tap tap to drive us home. We waited. And waited. Then finally decided to take action. Since our site is pretty close to our home base, we ended up just walking back instead of waiting half an hour for it to show up. This meat the people of Leogane got to see about 10 or 12 white people walking through their crazy streets pushing wheelbarrows and carrying shovels. I’m sure they were stoked.

We went for a final walk through the town at lunch, which was awesome. I actually hadn’t walked more than to the corner where Little Venice, aka Rubble Bar, aka Gutter Bar, was located, so it was great to see a little more of the place where we were working. And I stocked up on some cookies to snack on during the afternoon session :)

We ended up having a pretty slow afternoon, since there wasn’t too much work left to do. We did mostly housekeeping, cleaning up areas that weren’t completed, then we got to have a picture session with our group and the locals on the cement slab that we had cleared. It was an amazing feeling. Oh, and one of our volunteers, Eric/Kevin, found out he has at least 3 girlfriends there. These girls were all over him, it was hilarious. The reason I call him Eric/Kevin is because his name is Kevin, but I was calling him Eric for about 2 days. No wonder he didn’t turn around whenever I talked to him.

We got back to our camp early, which meant showers and a drink before dinner! We headed to Little Venice for a beer, which turned into two since we were celebrating the completion of our sight, and also a little goodbye party since there were three of us leaving. Abby, Brianne and I were constantly thinking about our goodbye speech through dinner and the beginning of our meeting (at the meeting, new people are introduced and people that are leaving get a chance to say goodbye to the group). Thankfully we survived our speeches: Abby had a great line about loving 95% of the people there, and not liking the other 5%, but respecting them. (The next morning I heard someone talking about “the five percenters,” so I think Abby started something!) Abby and I were just a taaaaaaaad emotional, so we had to leave right after the meeting to hold back our tears with a beer. Friday night was absolutely amazing. We were surrounded by so many amazing new friends, which I didn’t expect to happen on this trip. It was definitely a bitter sweet night. More sweet than bitter.

I woke up with this morning (Saturday) with a huge sadness in my heart, but so much happiness that I actually made it down here, and that I did all the things I wanted to do while I was here. I can’t thank everyone enough for making this dream a reality, and a damn good one at that! There were a few people who came by our bunks while Abby and I were packing, to say their goodbyes. Abby and I got lucky in getting some prime real estate locations in the favellas (there are tents and their are bunks; I guess the bunk area is lovingly termed the favellas). We stumbled upon two empty bunks on what we later learned was Fourth Avenue, and we later later learned that we had amazing neighbors. To Christa, Reuben, and Jake the Snake, you guys are awesome. I can’t thank you guys enough for being as cool and funny as you are. Shawn, you may not have had the blessing to live on Fourth Ave., but you were an awesome rooftop neighbor!

Back to Saturday….we packed up our stuff, and got to see everyone off to work since our shuttle wasn’t picking us up until 8am. Once again, the drive from Leogane and through PAP didn’t fail to take my breath away. It’s absolutely incredible to see the condition most of these people are living in. Anyone would be humbled and silenced beyond belief. We were able to figure out the madness outside the airport, and got checked in without any problems. Abby and I had a good three hours to wait to board our plane, since we took an earlier shuttle so we could split the cost with a couple other girls that were leaving today. And now I’m sitting at JFK doing a little more waiting, since our connecting flight is delayed due to high winds. I guess my journey hasn’t officially ended, but for all intents and purposes: Haiti Mission Accomplished!

I think I’m going to have one final entry on some general stuff about my trip, which I’m really looking forward to writing and sharing with all of you.

To all the people at Hands On and those that helped me get there, I can’t say this enough: THANK YOU.

UPDATE: our connection flight ended up being delayed FOUR hours, but we made friends with some people that were on our flight so it wasn’t too bad. What was crappy was having a sore throat, achy body, and slight fever on the flight home. It’s almost 2pm and I’m still lounging in bed trying to feel normal. I guess that might take a few days, huh? :)