Saturday, June 5, 2010

A visting friend tells highlights from his Haiti experience

Well, as most of you know, missions trips have been part of my life for about 6 years now; but one thing that I haven’t done much of, is write day-by-day journals. Now that I’ve looked back and regretted not writing things down, it makes me want to record every special moment on every one of my trips.
Another awesome part about this trip is that Lexi, the second child in my family, is along with me to make a difference in the lives of the people here. We set off from home around noontime on June 1, 2010, to the Newark International Airport. Our flight was scheduled for 4:45pm on American Airlines, but it got cancelled because of the nasty storms that were brewing up. AA set us up on another flight on the same route on Continental Airlines; so we said our good-byes and got into the security line.
We figured since we had 12 hours of layover in Miami, we might as well get to know the airport a little bit and try to have some fun.About 5:30 we were able to get our luggage and headed off to check in at our gate. After a safe flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, we stepped out into the blistering heat and boarded the shuttle bus to get to the immigration stations. . After finally getting our bags, we held hands to stay together, and headed out into the black wilderness. It was a different experience for Lexi, knowing that every person around you was eyeing you head-to-toe; but after a few minutes, we saw some familiar white faces and rushed over in glee to Robin and Cassie Adams…..

…..As we jumped into the “Contair” (big pick-up truck with caged-in bed), we found out that Robin and Cassie came with a Haitian driver, named Judain; and that they had been there since the day before getting groceries. Driving through Port-au-Prince, we saw a little bit of what the earthquake had done, and how much there is yet to pick up and rebuild. We saw a “tent city”, where thousands of people are living in simple tents because their homes were destroyed. Also on the way, we stopped at a plant to pick up some boxes of frozen chicken to take over to the island to eat. Some other sites along the 2 hour drive to the boat port were: massive grave sites where the whole family is buried in the same little grave house; little towns with very little infrastructure; wide-open fields with tents and animals scattered throughout the land; beautiful beaches along the coast; and high, majestic mountains all around us. The roads outside of the city got a lot better, but the driving didn’t…We were constantly yelling over horns beeping and trucks and school buses flying by. It was an amazing contrast between the hectic, crowded city, and the beautiful, tranquil countryside. There were Haitians everywhere, and as soon as they figured out that there were white people in back of the truck, all eyes were directed towards us. We arrived at the dock after a while, and for the first time, we got some relief from the heat by wading into the bath-water-temperature bay....

... After about 6 miles into the boat voyage, we had the awesome opportunity to watch a school of dolphins play around near the boat. Everyone else came up to the roof in the front to watch the show. They said that it was the biggest gathering that they had ever seen of dolphins on the way over, so it was pretty amazing. They jumped for us and even scooted along the top of the water on their tails like they do in the Sea World shows. :-) Also on our way over, we had the privilege to get acquainted with the famous flying fish…They are pretty cool to watch as they jump up and skim across the top of the water. As blue as it was, the ocean water was contaminated with garbage all along the current that traveled through the channel. We learned that the trash comes out of Port-au-Prince as the rain comes down at night and washes it around. Anyway, we arrived to the island dock around the middle of the day and were greeted by Lowell and Maddie Adams, along with some other Haitian guys. We loaded up the truck and jumped in to head up to their house on the missionary compound. We asked lots of questions and found out that the island is around 30 miles long and about 10 miles wide. It has 40 to 50 different communities living on it and the population drastically rose after the earthquake damaged so much of Port-au-Prince.

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