by Wendy Liskey, MH4H trip participant
The team’s day started with a 3:45 am shuttle pickup at our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, to catch our 6:30 am flight to Port au Prince. Whew. That is an early start to the day! Our team had some good bonding over creative problem solving, trying to get all of our suitcases to meet the 50 lb weight limit. We had a frantic 10 minutes of shoving various parts of a large tile cutter into suitcases that were well under the weight limit! We all laugh about it now but at the time, we were a little stressed (and the “friendly” airport employees weren’t helping lower our stress level). I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when we were able to get to our departure gate! I know God was looking out for us with that crazy, early shuttle pick up time – He knew it would take us that long to get checked in for our flight!
Our flight was smooth and immigration/customs was a breeze. We quickly found our Haitian leader, Zeke, outside the Port au Prince airport and our 3+ hour journey to Savenette had begun. I think we all breathed another sigh of relief once we got out of the Port au Prince traffic. It is nothing short of CRAZY. We shared lots of laughs and plenty of shrieks as our driver dodged through traffic and honked (loudly) to clear our path.
Port Au Prince traffic is crazy!
The drive was beautiful and tragic. The level of poverty you see along the way is something new to many of us. But then mixed with the poverty is a half-clothed child waving at us from the side of the road. Haiti truly is a beautiful country. And the roads were good for most of the way – when they were bad, they were really bad. I was here in 2010, and it amazes me to see the improvements they’ve made to their roads in the last 3 years.
We got to the new dorm and quickly settled in to our home for the next week. What a blessing it is for us to stay in such a nice, new place. We’re more in the countryside so we’ll be able to see some amazing night skies while we’re here.
After our lunch (our first meal with Spam), we all took some time to rest (remember that 3:45 am shuttle pick up?). Later in the afternoon, about 7 of us took a walk around the “neighborhood” with Zeke. It was the highlight of our day! We met many wonderful Haitians, hugged on and played with adorable kids and saw great sights – thin, bare wire barely above our heads, supplying power to a home; a natural spring that was the gathering spot where laundry and bathing were occurring; an older farmer leading his large steer (with large horns) down the same skinny footpath we were walking down. All the while, Zeke was introducing us to people, and they would welcome us inside their homes. The pride they showed in what they had was quite inspiring. All along the way, we commented to each other about how truly blessed we are and how sad it is that so many Americans don’t recognize those blessings.
After dinner we each shared why we came on this trip – how beautiful it is to see how God writes things on our hearts, and it’s even more beautiful when we obediently follow that.
We’re ending our day early, just like we started the day! We’re excited to get a good night’s sleep and to get refreshed for our projects and time at the Pignon Market. Thank you for your prayers for safe travels – God was with us and going before us the entire way.