Todays Blogger: Scott
Wow, can you believe we left Surrey Alliance two days ago? For us, it took almost twenty- four hours to reach our destination, so it seems a little longer.
April 23rd- 24th
Our trip started really smoothly with everyone at the airport on time and a check-in agent to ourselves with no line up. We cruised through security an US customs and we were on our way.
Our first stop was Las Vegas – hold on…before you get jealous, we had only two hours in the airport, which was barely enough to make our flight. It turned out that because we were changing planes we had to retrieve all of our luggage – which included twelve, 50 lb hockey bags full of supplies. We had to transfer terminals via shuttle bus with our bags in tow. That’s when we encountered our first little glimpse of God’s hand…when we told the driver what we were doing, he radioed ahead and got special permission to drop us in a restricted zone. The baggage agent there was extra careful re-checking our bags for the next leg of the journey…while the time ticked away.
We then faced another security check point, which left us about 17 minutes to all get to the flight and on board. It seemed tight, but we made it with 7 minutes to spare before they closed the doors. Really, as we reflect we see God’s hand on this little bit of logistics.
The flight from there took us to Miami, where we all had a little to eat and walked around just a little groggy (most of us were operating on only about 2 hours of sleep from the overnight flight).
From Miami, we jetted over to Haiti. When we arrived at the Port-au-Prince Airport, we expected mayhem and the Haitians did not disappoint. We were mobbed by men shouting and trying to grab our bags…we understand that they get quite aggressive because a carried bag for a tourist can bring a decent tip. The luggage was piled into a secured vehicle (imagine a gorilla cage on the back of a Nissan). The whole team then piled into a van and we were off. This is really where we got our first taste of the heat and humidity. We zig-zagged through traffic with energetic honks from our driver as we quickly learned about Haitian driving habits. Did I mention that there are no streetlights here? I guess that’s why so many buses and smaller transport vehicles have police-style ramming racks across the front.
Our host graciously welcomed us into our home for the next 10 days. We had a hearty dinner of rice/beans, chicken and coleslaw. After dinner we sat around zombie-like for an initial orientation. About half the team did a ½ hour walk around the area surrounding the Haiti Arise compound while the rest of team relaxed (some were even asleep before we got back from our walk).
The team awoke to the smell of pancakes and strong coffee. Did we mention the dinner bell – and the roosters…well no chance you’ll miss a meal here.
We had a couple of nice Haiti moments overnight too. The ladies room had a guest frog who was accidentally stepped on…for those of you who love animals, don’t fear, he/she was gently picked up, taken outside and allowed to hop away.
The men’s dorm room was visited by a little flood from an air conditioner with a blocked drain…Scott’s bed directly under the AC absorbed a lot of the water, so according to him
“Hey no big deal, at least is was cool water”
We went to the best spot on campus for a brief morning devotion. From there, we joined the other team staying in the guest house for a more thorough orientation of the grounds.
We saw the clinic, the tech school, the church, the elementary school on campus and we then ventured out again into the community. We walked up to the “children’s village”, the goat farm and the general area.
Bonus material: For those of you who have been here, Haiti Arise has mad a lot of progress in the past couple of years here. The Children’s village now has a functioning duplex and one near completion. A school building has been also substantially completed. The goat farm is also new, and it is now seeing it’s first returning goats.
We split up again after lunch with part of the team heading over the the Children’s village to paint the unfinished duplex while the rest of the team stayed cool and took a little more rest in advance of evening church.
The church service was a real blessing to the team. Pastor Byron shared a testimony as did the pastor from the other group. The holy spirit was present and several of the team talked afterwards about how realized that our God is the same despite language, culture and geographic boundaries. We are doing well and your prayers are helping to sustain us as we continue to adjust to the heat, food, culture and language.
God Bless…Na we demain (see you tomorrow)