Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Haiti Update: A Bumpy Truck Ride & a Wrong Turn

Monday, August 2

We sent off our Communications/Construction Team this morning at the Port Au Prince airport. Our Bridge Orphanage team arrived a few hours later. Ericlee, the kids and I, along with Peter, met them at the airport. The airport security guards would not allow us to walk to the door so I had to walk all the way around the gate on the street. I knew the team needed to see a familiar face when they emerged from the airport. When you arrive in Haiti, it feels like there are mobs of people trying to help with your suitcases, sell you items and asking for donations. I didn’t want them to navigate this part alone.

What a blessing the team made it with all their bags and no delays. I heard Bev shout “Dorina” as I stood outside the gate and I was so relieved to see them all safely in Haiti. Then we all piled all their bags in Peter’s pickup truck and the team got into the rented car and headed out of town. We did make a pit stop for some Haitian sandwiches, an oil change and a gas fill-up before we were on our way. The team had no idea what kind of trip was ahead. We were caravanning with Peter. Four team members squeezed in the back, three in the middle and two in the front of our car.

We were not able to catch the small missionary flight we usually take inland. Instead we had to drive through the city of Port Au Prince 80 miles north through the countryside. We saw a lot along the way as we drove. We saw the bustling city of Port Au Prince with all the entrepreneurs selling food and goods in the streets. We saw tent cities teeming with earthquake survivors who had lost their homes. The paved roads of the city gave way to winding roads that climbed up the mountains and then turned into bumpy country roads. The team had fun pointing out the little goats and cows along the way. We passed a beautiful lake that we never would have seen if we had taken the airplane. That area reminded us of a national park. It was so green and blue and beautiful.

At one point, we had to stop because a few of us were getting sick and one team member (who will remain nameless) had to throw up. No fun! Unfortunately, our car stopped but Peter who was driving the suitcases and Bev driving with him did not see us stop. We pressed on – anxious to get to Pignon. We hoped Peter would be just around the bend. Unfortunately, he was many miles ahead and we did not know the way.

The saying goes, you don’t know your own strength until you are in hot water. I experienced that some hot water in that moment when I had to be the navigator and start asking for directions in Kreyol. I’ve learned never to ask one person for directions in a foreign country. We asked about five people. The first young woman sent us down the wrong road but the next four pointed us to the road to Hinch, which we knew was on our route to Pignon.

On this road, we found Peter and Beverly waiting for us. We were so relieved to see them and vowed to all stay together. Our trip was 5 ½ hours in all, although Jenn and Dana say it felt like 9 hours. Our Haitian staff welcomed the team with a Haitian feast waiting for us all. We survived!

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