It was hot and very hot on the tarmac of the haitian Toussaint Louverture airport in Port-au-Prince. Military planes from the US, Canada, Venezuela landed and took off one after the other leaving and bringing noise to kill your ear drum.
At 5:10 pm local EST, I was told that my charter flight to Santo domingo previously scheduled to 3:30 pm will finally depart. I streched my legs and pulled my carry on to a bus to drive us to the plane.
Next to me, a very familiar TV face. I got closer and she smiled.
“You lok someone I know”, I said.
“Really”, she replied with a big smile .
“”Are Crhistianne Amanpoor”, I asked. She said yes… handind her right hand for a firm handshake.
I told her my name and smiled.
It was impossible to start a conversation. The noise from the planes reactors were against us.
I stood by her and confirmed we’re on the same flight to Santo Domingo.
We got on the bus. She sat behind me. My thinking was on the questions I would have for her and how to secure my seat on the plane next to her.
I got off the bus and opened the door for her. She thanked me and fired her first question.
“How long have you been here”, she asked .
She also asked me about my family, wife, kids, father and mother.
We were still on the tarmac ready to board the Cessna Jet.
She was with a CNN crew of 7 members.
I made sure she boarded first and I got on the plane right after her. She sat by the window and put her briefcase on the place next to her.
“Would you mind if I sit here and have a conversation with you Christianna”, I asked her.
“No not at all”, she replied moving her briefcase to the floor and inviting me to sit.
We had a casual conversation on what I do as a journalist and about CECOSIDA and relationship with Kaiser Family Foundation and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership.
She says she likes what CECOSIDA is doing with sms to provide emmergency information service and partnership with Thompson reuters Foundation.
I told her about my project to do a training session for haitian journalists on Trauma.
She asked question; then paused, knocking her head up down, smiled and silenced. Her 3-4 seconds silencincing, her eyes on my eyes were the most empathic moments.
Then, I asked her how long she has been with CNN> She said 26 and a half years.
I said 26 years… and she said and a half… laughing a loud… lol.
We had a conversation a battons rompus in French and English. She told me she started at the bottom … doing everything… in the newsdesk …
About Haiti, she told me, the worse is already done. now is the time to look for the better. And even after the cameras will go, the international community will remain engaged in the country.
She questioned me about Haiti’s history, the soul of the people.
She compared haiti to nowhere. “It’s not Africa and it’s not America”, she said this is a unique place, with unique people and unique history.
Our plane left PaP.
She checked her blackberry. I took time to send a quick post on Facebook telling my friends that I’m traveling by Christianne Amanpour.
She took out a book, a novel of marie-Claude Chauvet I read in French: Amour , Colere and Folie (love, wrath and madness).
We spoke about litterature. Haitian writters, Us writters.
She silenced a minute looking through the winddow the haitian landscape. She siad what a beautiful country showing me the pink rays of the sunset on the mountains.
She gave me her contact information and I gave her my card.
“Plaese, if you come to New York, let’s continue our conversation”, she told me.
We passed the immigration service in santo domingo leaving her with her team .