From the moment of purchase of non-refundable plane tickets to the welcome collapse on the couch back home, Haiti is a study in shifting details, particularly this trip, as we’ve had very little time to prepare.

So let’s start with the “necessaries of life”, as Thoreau called them: Shelter, Food, Clothing, Fuel. Given the nature of our trip, I’ll add: Safety, Transport, Translation, and Communications. Since Haiti is a warm climate, I’ll change “Fuel” to “Power”.

Shelter: I’ve got the second week covered, as I’m staying at John Engle’s. This leaves shelter for the first week. Two nights in Petite Rivière at Manalo’s Inn. Check. Two nights in Léogâne with at Joseph’s brother’s house. Check. Two nights in Mirebalais hotel. Check. Altogether, these stays are costing around $325pp or an average of $27 a night.

Food: Breakfast is included with each stay, so that leaves lunch and dinner. When I was in Haiti the last time, my hosts were insistent on feeding more than I eat at home. Skipping meals is not uncommon for me, particularly when I get busy, so I’m not worried much about lunch. Bring two boxes of Clif bars and call it done. Dinner will be available at each location, though I need to figure out how much extra money to bring for it. We’re on a shoe-string budget.

Water is bigger concern. My first trip to Haiti left me clutching my stomach for three days, which would slow me down this time given the packed schedule. Last trip, I brought a portable water purifier, which worked quite well, though I have no idea where it is now (probably still in Haiti). I cannot afford to buy another one now. Manalo’s Inn will be fine. John’s will be fine. This leaves Léogâne and Mirebalais. Must ask. With my refillable water bottle, I’d at most need to refill twice a day. Perhaps consider bringing my Camelback backpack with its water bladder, though there’s much less room.

Clothing: Two questions arise with clothing. First, will I be able to do laundry midway through my trip, so I can bring less? Second, should I bring a business suit for my meetings in Port au Prince? For the first week, I’d very much like to keep my luggage to my backpack and my camera bag. The fewer clothes I can bring, the better. As always, collared short sleeve shirts are preferred, given Haitian custom. Long pants as well, though I may mix.

Tomorrow’s post will continue with Power, Communications, and the rest.

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