Haiti Trip Part 1 - Getting there

I've had some time to process my experience in Haiti and attempt adjusting back to the American way of life. My prayer is that I don't let the American way of life get in the way as much as it did before the trip. I'll start off my Haiti series with an easy post - how did I get there?

On the way to Haiti, I connected through Ft. Lauderdale. From southern Florida, Haiti is only a 2 hour plane ride away. Here's an aerial view of Haiti - it's seriously a beautiful nation. Much more mountainous that I expected. Haiti has less than 10 major cities and is approx the size of Massachusetts. There is much of the island that is unpopulated, but the cities are severely overcrowded. When we landed in Port au Prince, we hopped on a small plane that took us to NW Haiti. Here's something that really surprised me: I didn't see any direct damage from the earthquake. The area that was damaged is very centralized in Port au Prince and is the most populated area of the country, which is why it caused such severe devastation. Although I certainly did witness some of the economic and social impacts of the earthquake, the actual physical damage, though, wasn't widespread over Haiti.
This is the landing strip in NW Haiti. There were donkeys present.

From Port de Paix, we hopped on a bus and drove about 90 minutes to the mission in St. Louis du Nord. There are seriously people everywhere on the streets. Some people were walking back from markets, asking for food, hanging with their friends, eating garbage that others have left behind. It was really shocking for this to be the first thing I saw in Haiti. It's heartbreaking and difficult to look at. I tried to not take too many pictures - I think the people of Haiti are aware of their state of poverty and having a bus full of white people leaning out of the bus taking your pictures probably doesn't make them feel very secure. Any pictures I took of people I tried to ask permission first.

Trash is everywhere. I didn't see a trash can in public the entire time I was there. This was honestly really hard for me to understand. Why is it like that? Why do the people seemingly care so little? I'll post more on this later, but what I have tried to remind myself of frequently when I felt a judgemental nature creeping in on me is that I, too, am guilty of sin. When sin entered this world everything changed - our relationship with God, our relationship with others and even our relationship with the environment.

When we arrived at the mission, I set up my home for the week. I liked having a tent - it was my own space. They do have dorms there at the mission with bunk beds (think like camp), but there aren't any windows and it was SO hot at night that I appreciated the little wind I did get in the tent. The temp was probably around 95 during the day and probably 80ish at night - it felt like 100% humidity. A few people on our trip did get sick from dehydration. One day I drank four 32oz. bottles of water and didn't pee once. TMI? Sorry.

This is the view from my tent. LOST, anyone? I was bummed because no one else on the trip watched the show LOST - I kept wanting to make references to the black smoke, Locke and the others, but no one understood me. I looked it up - it was filmed in Hawaii, not Haiti.

In the next post I will show pictures of the Eye Clinic and talk more specifically about what we did while in Haiti.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting... I can't believe about the 4 32 ounce bottles; that's a lot of water! wow... looking forward to more posts!