The posts that follow are a brief description of daily events surrounding an organized trip to Haiti in the summer of 2010. There were 12 of us total plus one reporter from the Daily Journal in Farmington, MO. I have relayed each post as it was written in my journal so please overlook any grammatical errors or crazy talk. I will also try to include pictures along the way.
Monday, July 12th
Well…it’s the last day. Hard to believe we have endured a week in tents, in incredible heat, torrential rain (we also had heavy rain at bedtime last night – ALMOST flooded, but thankfully not!), tarantulas, mosquitoes, little food, beans and rice, hard work, cuts, scrapes, bruises and the emotional drain of feeling overwhelmed by circumstances out of our control. I’m not sure how many people would make it through a week like this, but if you asked anyone on our team if they would do it all again…the result? Everyone would give you the same answer…ABSOLUTELY!
We got up at at 5:15am today. We were supposed to shower, tear down our tents and then load by 6:30am. Due to the heavy rain, we decided to leave our tents up to dry. Heather and Gerson will tear them down for us at some point. We’ve asked them to give our tents to the orphanage since they have to sleep on mats underneath a tarp. I think it will really help them to have 3 large tents and hopefully almost all the children will have a place in the tent to sleep.
After a quick shower everyone packed their belongings. I gave Gerson and Heather pretty much everything left over I had: my ponchos, clothes, shoes, fan, batteries, medicine, bug spray, air mattress, etc. These are things they cannot get in Haiti very easily and many things they can give to others. Hopefully it will help in some small way. All of us tipped the cooks as well. We must have done okay, since Heather said they were VERY happy. I gave them $10 and all three ladies thanked me and kissed me on the cheek. With our small tips, we were able to give them as much money as they make in a whole month!!
We said our goodbyes to those at camp and loaded our bus to head pack to Port-au-Prince. Guess what? We had the same driver as we had before. He is amazing, but let me tell you, he can scare the pants off of you with his crazy fast driving and swerving!
Traffic was as bad going into town as it was coming out. We took a little different route into town and ran smack dab into a huge traffic jam. Remember as well that they have no road rules so this made things very hectic and very interesting! We ended up in downtown Port-au-Prince which are streets and streets of market type areas. I hope the pictures will represent this. Most of the buildings were crumbled in, but the people still managed to keep “business as usual.” The streets were packed with people and vendors on a busy Monday morning. Fortunately, we allowed plenty of time to get to the airport, and we arrived shortly after 10am for our 12:10pm flight.
The airport for take off was WAY different then the airport for the landing. There were only a few “red hat” guys, but they didn’t bother us much at all. We quickly made our way inside and found a very clean area with AIR. Thecheck-in and customs areas were small, but we moved very quickly through the short line.
The line above is there for a very specific reason…it notes the end of my journal entry. I sit here finishing this blog entry nearly seven months later with much difficulty. Sure, sure, we got back to the States, had a pizza as soon as we landed at the airport and all of us pretended that we were back to “normal.” We landed in St. Louis to many friendly faces, family, lots of smiles, food in abundance and of course, all the creature comforts of home. If only it were that simple.
The first few days back were very difficult. There were times I would be driving and the tears would stream down my face. Or I would begin sobbing when thinking of those who had touched our hearts with their story. Life, for me at least, would never be the same.
It’s been months now and most of us have settled back into the daily “routine” that bores our souls. All of us long for another day back in Haiti, another day to make a difference, another day to serve an incredible God that overwhelms us. For now the 2010 journey has ended but yet the story continues…
Tomorrow I will be announcing something that will change our family forever…it’s nothing earth shattering, nothing extraordinary, but it will be something that will probably mark our family for generations to come. Simply put, we may never be the same.
And as far as I’m concerned…well, that’s a good thing.
Grace and peace.