Sunday, November 6, 2011

Haiti Update

It seems like I've been at a loss for words for updating about our trip to Haiti, and our moving plans.  I can't guarantee that this post will sound pretty, or even well thought out, but I figure that I at least need to write something.

Gary and I traveled to Haiti on October 17th.  With us was Paul Gunther, our Missions Pastor from church, and Heidi, who works with Food For the Hungry (FH from here on...).  Other than getting the building plans approved for the church in Lespinasse, we didn't really have a clear plan what our trip would include.  Ultimately, it was for me to visit Haiti and make sure I didn't have a total freak out and change my mind about the move.  Also, so we could work out a little more clearly what we would be doing when we moved there.  Fortunately, I didn't freak out, and we feel like this trip only confirmed our desire to move to Haiti full time.

Day one was mostly a travel day.  When we arrived, the field liaison for FH picked us up from the airport and took us to the guest house to drop our stuff off.  Now before we get to that part... I just want to touch on the driving in Port-au-Prince.  Gary had told me that the driving was crazy, roads were nuts, people everywhere, yada, yada, yada... and frankly I just underestimated him.  It was bonkers.  No rules free for all, with lots of pedestrians and games of chicken while passing into oncoming traffic.  We spent the rest of the day visiting the FH offices and walking to Hot & Fresh for dinner.  I ate a questionable "cheeseburger".

This is Bonita and her baby Wilda.  Bonita was in the middle of braiding Wilda's hair when we arrived at her house, and the baby did not like it one bit.  I think she was happy that we arrived so she could have a break.  Gary visited them in March when Wilda was just a few weeks old.  

Day two was one of my favorite days.  We headed out of the city up to the community of Lespinasse.  It is quite the drive.  We had a paved road about half the way, then it was some of the roughest driving I've ever experienced in my life... while high on a mountainside... with not a whole lot standing in the way between us and that really long fall down.  I popped some Dramamine, so it was kind of fun.  Once we reached Pastor Felix's house.  We had some introductions, I got to use the the four creole words that I know, then we were off to visit some of the community members' houses.  For the next three hours or so, we sat under the tent that serves as the church, with members who serve on a committee of community leaders.  It was fascinating and exciting to sit a meeting that was entirely translated back and forth between English and creole, to work together planning a building project that will serve as their church, community center, and medical clinic.  I'm so excited to be a part of what God is doing here!  
 This is Wilfred, Bonita, and baby Wilda's house.  

 Meeting with community leaders about their building project

Day three was spent briefly at The Good Neighbor Orphanage in Port-au-Prince.  There are thirty children who live and go to school here.  Johnny, the director, has purchased land to move the children to a bigger facility to house a few more children.  During the next year, the construction will continue and they hope to move next October.  They will keep this location to continue schooling some local children, as well as having church here for community members.  Currently, they host a college student for a few months here and there to teach English at the school.  English instruction isn't consistent, and only for a few months at a time if they're lucky.  Gary spoke to Johnny about the potential for me to teach English at the school, and for Gary to help around the orphanage with kids and the move.  We will be working with Johnny in the coming months to figure out how we will plug into working here as well.  After we left the orphanage, we drove back up to Lespinasse, stopping for lunch at the Baptist Mission.  What a view!!!    We spent more time with Pastor Felix and his family, then headed back down to PAP.  We met up with some of the in-country personnel from FH for dinner, and experienced the craziness of what happens when a downpour hits the already crazy streets.
The chair is bad.
Baptist Mission

View from our table at lunch
Baptist Mission

We're in this man's house.  He has five children.  My bathroom is bigger, and yet he smiles.

The next morning, we woke up early, literally to the rooster next door crowing (the same rooster, incidentally, who crowed all night regardless of the time), and headed to the airport.  A little bonus, we got upgraded to first class from Port-au-Prince to Ft. Lauderdale.  It felt a little wrong, but the guilt faded pretty quick once they served me my hot towel (what are you supposed to do with it?!?  I had a Wedding Singer moment) and the newest episode of The Office.
Such dorks... us unable to hide our excitement in first class.  It was like a second honeymoon.

Since being home, we have met again with our church leadership and have decided to proceed next month with more meetings, plans for a January visit, fundraising, etc.  Also, we have a more clear move date... "Summer 2012"... a little vague, but will have to do for now.  We continue to seek God's guidance in all of our decisions, and to not let fear dictate what we know God is asking us to do.

Thank you so much for joining with us with your prayers and reading this little blog!

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