Saturday, July 13, 2013

Haiti: Day 1?

Preface: This was written on my iphone the first night we slept at the mission. I originally planed to go back and correct spelling and such but then decided to leave it as is.

Day 1?

Getting ready for Haiti has taken a few months and as I write this on my top bunk in the mission where we are staying I'm sure I'm still not prepared

First, after months of trying to think of everything I think I'll need for the trip.  which I was richly blessed to be able to take.
We gathered at the church Sat July 6th for our "send off".

It was great to see everyone that showed up to pray for the trip and say "See you in a week" to.

Around 5ish we were packed and on our way.
Rode to St Louis with Lance Gladden, Kevin Blackmon and the Trujillo's.
surprisingly for the 3 hour trip we didn't stop for any potty breaks.
It did however rain on our bags which were exposed in the back of Kevin's truck.
Luckily for us the rain didn't really kick in until right before the hotel.
The hotel that  pastor Kelly had reserved for us weeks back via Travelocity. Y'know the site with the roaming gnome.
So we get to the hotel. We park under the awning and are greeted by two fellow travelers.
Who were standing  in the doorway of our hotel dumbfoundingly staring at a sign posted that said "Hotel Closed thanks for your business".
Our business being paying for rooms that we in turn couldn't stay in.
Kelly called Travelocity  and he was told that they couldn't refund his money yet because no one was answering the phone at the hotel to verify that it was closed.
You know the locked & abandoned hotel where were there people to answer the phone we wouldn't be in this situation.
So Lance suggested we just go to the airport & sleep there. We all humped on board that idea. It seemed like an adventure and we were on our way to the airport 8 hours before our flight.

Then we stopped at Home Depot to procure a tarp. Which for all intents and purposes was used primarily to lock in the moisture our bags had endured in the truck bed on the trip up & subsequent trip across town to said Home Depot.

We ate at a Culvers before heading to the airport as well.

After filling our bellies we went to Lambert airport to await our flight.
8 hours is a while to wait without sustenance  so Lance, Travis and I set out to find a late night eat morning coffee.
God was good and on the bottom floor of the airport we found an all night bagel and coffee shop.

That was a blessing for both the coffee and the monotony break of walking the distance to the shop. Further for Elaina because she over shot the first escalator and went the even longer way at least once.

Coffee was good and the exploration was fun.
Lance and I spent some time on the escalator because..... Well why not.

Kevin laid on the rail, Kelly, Jeff, Travis and Elaina played with a ukulele that Elaina had brought.
Chad read, Christina face timed her house and tried to sleep. Kara disappears for a bit and tried to nap.
Eventually Jeff decided to play cards and after some rearranging of some deceptively heavy chairs we were set to pass the rest of the remaining 4 hours playing cards
This got Chads attention and he joined us with cards.

Finally it was time to check our bags in and get our tickets.
This went relatively smoothly. Couple hiccups but mainly all good.

Security went equally well.
Linda packed my bag because she's awesome. However I didn't know what was in it so I had to have it searched by TSA.
Speaking of which. I got to use one of those full body scanners and it was interesting
Bought a charging cable for my phone at the airport and settled in to wait to board.
Travis had no carry on bags on account he is a freak of nature so he got to board before us.
Then we got to board.
The plane ride was uneventful other than the fact that I couldn't recline my seat. Because I couldn't find the button and didn't want to ask.

I sat by strangers whom I quickly befriended because Kevin was behind me and we talk a lot.

Landed in Miami without a hitch.
Deplaned if that's a word and ate a quick breakfast/lunch at a little place in the Miami airport.
I ordered a Cuban. For two reasons. One they are delicious and two Dexter Morgan on Showtimes
Dexter eats them in Miami in the first season and I've had that stuck in my craw ever since.

It was pretty terrible however. As was Elaina's breakfast croissant.
She just picked at the top croissant half.

When we went to board the plane the stewardess at the door was chewing out an employee for not properly checking luggage for size.
They were forced to send a dude back off the plane because his bag wouldn't fit.
This made the dude nervous and he took it out on my carry on by confiscating it. Even thought it would have fit and had fit on the previous flight.

Flight to Haiti was smoother than the flight to Miami.
Arrival at Haiti however had its hitches.
It was pretty packed & the luggage was slow in coming but eventually it all did and we proceeded to lug it all to the waiting vehicles.

Pastor Eddie from clc had told us that when you arrive with your bags that Haitians would swarm trying to get a tip for helping with the bags.
Sounds reasonable but the problem comes when they consider "helping with your bags" lightly placing a hand on it while you push the cart thru a crowd comprised largely of people looking for an open spot on your bags where they too can place their hand.
Finally got thru the crowd to the van/bus. Which is AMAZING by the way.  It's a Toyota something or other that we do not have over here.
Just a beast.
We loaded up the bags, on the roof of the bus and the back of a truck and took off.
I rode with our translator Leslie, Lance & Eddie.
The ride to the mission was eye opening. There weren't many people on the streets because it was Sunday. Or at least that's what Eddie told us. Edie is the pastor at clc in rolls and has been on a lot of mission trips and several just to this orphanage in Haiti.

How often does he go you ask? Well as I was writing this he came into the room and proceeded to inflate an air mattress.
When asked about where he packed it. He told us he leaves it here for his visits and just hopes its here when he comes back each time.

Any way, the roads are terrible but the drivers, the drivers are phenomenal.
I'm not sure if it was the guts they had or the attitude that impressed me more.
Everywhere you looked almost ever car had some sort of rub mark from another vehicle. You drive so close to other cars you could stick your arm in their vehicle from yours.  They drive side by side like that for pretty decent distances.
All the while motorcycles, taxi trucks and pedestrians are weaving in and out of traffic.
When we finally turned up the hill to the mission house we were staying at. I was shocked by both the amount of tents and shanties as well as the poor condition of the roads.
The road was washed out beyond reason and you basically tried to keep your tires on theses concrete block paths about 2 ft wide.

The mission at the top of the hill is really a sight.
There is a brick wall around the entire property. The main house has a small kitchen, a dining room, bathroom and 1 bedroom downstairs.
Upstairs there is 3 bedrooms and one bath.  Also an amazing veranda with a pretty great view.

It took us a couple hours to settle in & nap after our day & seeing as hardly any if us had slept we went out pretty quick. At least the guys did I believe Elaina and Christina stayed up til actual bedtime.
Which for me was 8ish.

After my nap Kevin asked if i wanted to take a walk so we went down the path. We heard music at the church so we stopped by. We were standing outside when a nice young man asked us if we'd like to go in.  Of course we did. We were then treated to a service that was just amazing.
Couldn't  understand a word that was said during the songs but they were beautiful. The spirit was thick in the room. People danced and sang and no one cared what anyone was doing.
No dirty looks, zero judgement. Just the carefree attitude with which they worshiped was astounding.
I have a pretty horrendous voice and only sing when the only person that might hear me is Lin.  She's gotten used to it.
The worshiped like no one was watching.
It was electric.

After the singing and prayer. The prayer lasted about 10 minutes by the way.
Long enough to confuse me because I kept thinking surely it's over and I'm the only one bowing my head.
I wasn't so I just put it back down and waited.
Finally after more music the preacher stood to give the sermon, IN ENGLISH! By then Lance and a few people from Christian Life Center had joined us.
There is a missionary/preacher and 2 companions staying at the mission house with us and they are holding revival there.
So she preached in english and the regular pastor yelled it in creole translating what she said.

At the e d if the service there was a few more songs and they broke for the evening.

We we went to the house fir dinner. dinner which for me was a bottle of water and a snack bag of trail mix.

The rest of the gang ate peanut butter & jelly which is off the table for me. Just can't do it.  Ate it when I was a kid then one day just couldn't do it. Haven't ate it in years. It's the ideas of jelly I just can't take.

After dinner I went upstairs to write this. It was about 8pm when I started.  Got groggy about an hour later and had to quit mid way and go to bed.
I'm finishing this now a little after 9 on day two.
I want to start day 2 but I'm crushing bugs with every screen tap. They seem to be attracted to the screen light.

Thanks for reading.

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