Haiti Express

So I’ve barely been back a week, and I’m thinking about leaving again. My wife is encouraging me to go to Haiti, to help with the relief effort and to look for stories. I have a contact there who I sent a message, to see if I could help. And I found a $400 airplane ticket, which isn’t cheap but isn’t expensive. During 9/11 and Katrina I considered going to help, but I never got off my butt and went. This time, however, if I can work it out I’ll go. I was thinking a week, but I’ve got to see if I can get the time off.

These last few weeks have been hectic, and I admit I’ve been neglecting LPJ. It took days to resettle after Mexico (including a trip to New York to retrieve the dog from the father-in-law’s house). Honestly, I’d like to just kick into the old Berlin Reporter routine and feel like I’m back in the swing of things, but when a city is destroyed its hard not to notice. It’d be worth another week of minor stresses.

And just as so many interesting things are happening in Berlin. Laidlaw submits its proposal for EFSEC review; CPD gets pressure from residents to do the same. The CPD/PSNH matter should have a next step soon. Fraser is looking for a buyer for the Gorham mill, and a city council transition is about to take place. It’s an exciting time, and I’m glad to be in the middle of it.
I’ve got interesting things going on as well. I’m trying to find out more about that U.K. hero who saved a Berlin resident, so I can put that in the paper. I’m hoping to turn that story into a radio piece as well. I may also do some work for the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, which was recently launched to provide investigative reporting for Maine. It a non-profit, and I would get valuable experience digging for stories. That’s experience I hope to transfer to the Reporter. Berlin undoubtedly has a wealth stories that require more expertise than I’ve got, but hopefully not for long.

So my next few weeks are up in the air, but my next few days are not. I’ve got a couple of stories I’m digging into tomorrow, though at this time I’m still looking for more. I have to admit, I still feel out of the loop. The running around all over the place has kept me from sensing Berlin’s pulse. If I wind up in Haiti, it’ll probably be a few more weeks; otherwise it’ll be a few more days. I’ll let you know how things develop and if I’m going. In the meantime, if you hear anything, let me know!

Update: I’ve got the OK from work to go to Haiti. I’m still waiting to hear about some leads there to make it feasible.

Update: I’ve contacted a prominent Haitian from the Manchester area who is going back to Haiti with a small group. He’s agreed to let me come along. I’m still looking for some more contacts to ensure my safety and sufficient material to keep me occupied for a week. Most of the humanitarian groups I’ve heard on the air and on the media are saying they need money at this time, not volunteers, but I’m trying to reach several that are looking for people to go.

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