Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Get Me to Haiti

"By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which he has called you." Ephesians 1:18

Monday, Day 1
The first 48 hours, our team of 10 amazing people lived out the movies "Planes, Trains, & Automobiles" and "Groundhog Day". The journey started at 0400 at the Minneapolis airport, many had not slept the night before in anticipation of our adventure.  With smiles and hugs, we all warmley greeted one another and boarded the plane to Maimi.  Landing in Miami at 1100, we had a 3+ hour layover before catching the next flight at 2:45pm.  One of our team members, Jane, was "recovering" from a kidney infection diagnosed the day before departure.  We all encouraged her, "You will be fine."  We knew we might have been wrong as her pink cheeks paled and she was found leaning next to a pillar lethargic and diaphoretic.  Two nurses and an EMT looked at each other and were afraid, "Let's just get her on the next flight."  "If only we can get her to Haiti, she'll get a good nights sleep there."  We passed the time with a game of spoons using peanut butter m'm's.  Awesome, We were hopeful again.

At 2:00pm, we began boarding our crowded, hot flight on which all but Sam's carryon were confiscated by the gate agent due to lack of space in the overhead. Not a problem.  Just 1.5 hours away from a bed for Jane!!  After waiting 20 minutes, we were told we had to wait a few minutes more while they checked a mechanical issue.  "Don't worry, folks, we will be off the ground shortly."  Another 30 minutes went by and they informed us that the plane was not leaving the ground and that we had to de-board and re-board another plane.  Jane was tired, but after a smile and a thumbs up and we headed for the gate.  At 3:15 we re-boarded a new plane, hopefully one that flew.  Here all 200 passengers are again, a little bit more restless, but hopefull.  UNTIL, about 30 minutes went by and they announced they were taking time to refuel and get a fresh flight crew.  "We should be off the ground in 30 more minutes."  Another hour went by before they announced the flight was CANCELLED:)  Back to the airport we go to wait in line for another 2 hours to rebook our flight and find "Plan B".  At this point, we were all wondering if Jane needed to go home. The only member of the team with her bag was Sam and she offered to share her wonderful clothes and toothbrush but had no takers.   Despite the delay and becoming dysfunctionally familiar with the Miami airport the team perservered.  Our fearless leaders came back with hotel rooms, meal vouchers and a shuttle to and a flight out of Ft. Lauderdale at 1:05pm the next day.  After a late night dinner at Subway, we all crashed in our comfy hotel beds.

At this point in our journey we are a very close team, one of the blessings that rose out of the ashes.  We found out today that they meal prepared for us after we landed on Monday was shared with the Haitian workers.  For some, it was the first time they ate at a dining room table.  Another blessing that came out of day one was that Jane got a good nights rest and was well to continue the journey today.

Tuesday, Day 2
Smooth day, after Starbucks coffee and an on-time shuttle we boarded the plane and left Ft. Lauderdale at exactly 1:05pm. 

From above it is a vision of a beautiful island surrounded by ocean water with rooftops of the city.  As you get closer to landing the water turns a shade of brown and the buildings turn into tin shacks.  The airport is new and also appears "normal" and  organized.  As we made our way with our 26 pieces of luggage to the outside to be loaded into the taptap we were ambushed by a crowd of Haitians waiting to be the first to help us for the tip.  The smell outside was that of something burning in the air, the real journey begins.  The taptap reminds me of an old grain truck from the farm but with a cage around the bed.  We piled the luggage of donations (thank you everyone!) into the back and crawled in, with the door being locked behind us.  The paddy wagon took us through the city on streets of stones and dirt.  The sidewalks had pieces of ambandoned tires, trash, and vehicles randomly left behind.  No traffic lights but surprisingly organized intersections of grace and kindness as cars, trucks, motorcycles and scooters shared the space.  Trying not to stare, but to drink it all in, we watched the beautiful people of Haiti through the cage of the taptap as we made our twenty minute ride to our guest house of Healing Haiti.  It is a gated home with no locks on the gate :)  I love that part!  We were greeted by our host warmly and sat down to a very welcome meal  of spagetti and hotdogs.  Looking forward to the day tomorrow!  Sam and Betsy

The Mind grows by taking in, but the Heart grows by giving out; it is important to maintain a balanced life. Warren Wiersbe



  1. Wonderful reporting Sam and Betsy..so glad u got to Haiti safe..I cud see from flight tracker you got cancelled..wondered what happened....Looking forward to your 'dispatches'..say hi to Marilyn...Dan

  2. Beautiful writing for a chaotic experience. Similar to some experiences in Haiti...chaotic yet, beautiful blessings. Praying for Jane's healing...give her a hug from me!!! She is a trooper so I am sure she will rally :)
    Blessings and grace for the rest of your time together! Lisa J.

  3. You are all troopers! I love the word "ambushed" ... made me laugh. :)