I had even taken the day off on February 3rd to give myself enough time to pack carefully, because I could have worked a half-day; my flight from Norfolk to Miami was not until 4:25 PM. My biggest concern was making sure I packed all the appropriate camera equipment and accessories I would need, chargers, cables, batteries, memory cards, manuals, particularly since I was bringing my brand new Canon Rebel T1i DSLR camera. I had hardly broken it in, actually still figuring out how to use it, but I had finally decided I needed it in Haiti for long shots and crisper closeups than my Nikon Coolpix could provide. So this trip would be a hands-on learning experience too.
I was flying back to Haiti again with well-known independent journalist Georgianne Nienaber, who has been covering the Haiti beat as well as anyone since the great earthquake of January 12th last year that killed perhaps over 300,000 thousand Haitians while rendering homeless over another million and a half, figures hard to totally validate, but solid surmises nonetheless. Georgianne had also begun exposing the lies and ineptitude surrounding the cholera epidemic that began sweeping through Haiti last October, exacerbated by bureaucracy, callousness, coverups and ineptitude.
I had gone with Georgianne last May to, among other thing, investigate the earthquake refugee camps in a four-day whirlwind tour of Port-au-Prince and outlaying areas. It had been a colorful and exciting experience, and I had learned firsthand why so many travelers fall in love with the Haitian people despite it all, despite the poverty, overcrowding, hunger, corruption and chaos. And I was eager to return.
Now, as my wife dropped me off at the Norfolk International Airport around 3 PM for my American Airlines flight, I was less than 24 hours away from said return, an easy flight, a night in Miami and on into Port-au-Prince by Noon the next day. Or so I thought.