Tuesday, April 22, 2008


We woke at 2:45 am to leave the house at 3:30. Before leaving we prayed for safe travels, the safety of our family and friends in the US, and we prayed that all of our bags that we attempted to weigh on a bathroom scale the night before would be 50 lbs or less so we wouldn’t have to pay for the additional weight. Pap took us to the airport and we arrived around 4:45am. After unloading all 8 duffel bags and 4 carry-ons we weighed them with our fingers crossed. Every bag was 47-52 lbs so we could transfer some of the items to the underweight bags. Every bag ended up being 50 lbs or less. God is so good. We really didn’t want to use money to pay for overweight bags that we could use buy beans and rice to feed hungry children in the orphanages.

This trip was the easiest trip to Haiti that I had ever experienced. Every time we would get off of one plane, the next gate would be right in front of us. We were so tired and God really protected us and prevented us from running like crazies through the airport to catch the next flight. In Miami we had plenty of time to gather our bags and we ate “our last supper” at Chili’s. We slept on most of the flights and took a landing approach in Haiti that I had never taken before. It was kinda like we were in a tornado. I don’t think that our pilot had ever landed in Haiti before, or maybe he was just as exhausted as we were. Regardless, God landed us safely and down the stairs and onto the tarmac we walked. The hot windy air blew in our faces and the smell of Haiti began.

As we walked to the airport mom & I noticed a “white” women traveling by herself. When we got into the Customs line she came up behind us. We asked her name and where she was going. She said her name was Dixie and she was going to an orphanage that we weren’t familiar with & she really wasn’t sure where it was since she had never been to Haiti before. She said an American women, named Barb was going to be here to pick her up but she didn’t know what she looked like. After talking to her, she seemed to be very independent and has gone on several mission trips but we were still concerned that she was by herself so we told her to tag along and we would help her find her ride.

If you have never been to Haiti before then you wouldn’t know exactly what to expect. I will try to explain. After the long walk on the hot tarmac, you then walk into a narrow, cool room where you wait in a long line for Customs to stamp your passport. Then you are shuffled into a huge, hot, crowded, nasty smelling room and expected to find your luggage rolling by you, while being told to move over, move over, move over in a language that you can’t understand but a body language that you can… very impatient and rude. You have to stack your five-foot long luggage on little carts that may only be one our two feet wide. Remind you, we have 8 duffel bags and 4 carry ons. Dad and Doug each grab a cart while mom and I guard the carry on bags. After sweating profusely, we find all of our luggage and then Dixie’s and head toward the exit.

Now we get into another line that requires the Customs form that we filled out on the airplane and also the luggage stickers that lets them know how many bags you should have. They then ask you what is in the bags and hope that your answer is correct so they won’t pull you aside and search through all your bags and confiscate anything they think they should. Next is the fun part! You walk outside and it may as well be a billion people trying to touch your bags so they can say they helped and they should get a tip. There are also “big bosses” and you are to pick one. They have a group of men that help you get the luggage loaded into your truck and keep the other men back, then you are to tip only the “big boss” and he is to divide the tip fairly. This is so crazy because there is usually a fight between Haitians trying to get your business. It’s awful that they have to argue over something that we see as so minute, yet this may be their only chance to have enough money to feed their families. Please thank God today that you have more then enough food in your pantry and clothes in your closet… and if for some reason you were to lose your job, there are programs in place that won’t let you and your family starve. As much as we complain about our government, we have the strongest most blessed government in the world. Thanks be to God.

No comments: