Written by Alan McCleeary, trip leader for the Central College campus ministries team.
Hey everyone! Hope all is well back in the states. Haiti has been full of new experiences in the few days we have been here. Today, we had the opportunity to visit the Citadel, the largest fortress in the Americas. Henry Christophe had it built by 20,000 Haitians and took twenty years to complete. It was finished in 1820.The Citadel is also known as the 8th wonder of the world. A view of the fortress.
In order to get to the Citadel, we piled into a truck – fourteen of us in total. I believe this is called a Haitian tap-tap. The majority of us sat on benches in the bed of the truck. We traveled on the bumpy road for around three hours each way. My butt is sore, but we made the most of it. “This is so ridiculous, but I love it,” said Hunter, as he sat on the roof the cab with his feet hanging off the side.The tap tap ride to the Citadel. Through the rivers and mountains, the ride to the Citadel gives quite the views. Roodson, the translator for the day, went with the team from Pignon.
Once we arrived, we had to navigate through the Haitian vendors attempting to sell their souvenirs. The Citadel was built on top of a mountain, so we had a nice climb before seeing the impressive structure and views across Haiti. I’m sure you will see many pictures that won’t do it justice.There are a couple ways to get to the top of the mountain – one is the longer, winding road. If you take the road, you can pay to ride a donkey to the top. Another way to the top is a short cut, up the rocks of the mountain. This group decided to take the short cut. The Citadel is a massive structure, completely made by hand. You can see the scale, as the Central team is on top of the fortress (look closely). This is an original cannon inside the fortress. Not a single shot was ever fired from this structure. Christi, Pouchon, and Hannah relaxing on some cannonballs in the courtyard.
Once we toughed the ride back (it began to rain on us), I took a little nap before dinner. The wonderful cooks prepared goat! Afterwards, we played some games and practiced our skits for our trip to the orphanage. At the moment, we are under attack by moth things – so I am going to retreat to my bed!
Overall, I am really surprised by how things are going. The team is bonding really well and, in the short time we have been here, I have seen and felt God’s nearness. He is so faithful. Pray that He would continue to reveal Himself in new ways and for the strength to remain faithful to where He has placed us.
Blessings and thank you for all your support!