Travel to Haiti

I recently had one of the best weeks of my life. I took a mission trip to Haiti from Nov. 26 – Dec. 3. Even though I’ve been back several days, I’ve been processing everything, editing photos, and trying to determine the best way to share my experience. So many people have been asking about it that I’ve decided to do a blog post for each day I was there. I journaled throughout the trip, so I’m going to share a few photos and each day’s journal entry. I know that hearing about another person’s mission trip secondhand will never be the same as going on one yourself, but I hope this can at least make a small impact. Here we go…

Monday, Nov. 26

The trip started off bright and early, leaving the house at 4 a.m. for a 6:30 flight out of Kansas City. Scott, Curtis, Gwen, Hank, Whitney, Fred, Matt, Ryan, Jacob, and myself gathered for a group photo before we headed out. At that time, we had no idea how close we would become over the next week. We flew to Chicago to Miami to Port-au-Prince with no hold ups. The flight from Chicago to Miami was the longest (with no snacks from American Airlines, of course).

Flying into Port-au-Prince

When we flew into Haiti we could see tiny shacks, homes with no roofs, tents, and even a few mansions amongst the rubble. It has been close to 3 years since the earthquake, but much still needs to be done.The airport was recently remodeled with fresh paint and … air conditioning! Haitians were trying to grab our bags for a tip, but we had a plan to get carts for our luggage, and we stuck to it. Once we got outside the culture & environment was so vastly different that I almost lost it right there. There were tons of men standing outside trying to give rides, grab luggage, etc. They looked so needy, yet determined. We found our ride (Jackson – with 1 arm) and crammed into the back of a truck with a caged roof.

Fred, Whitney, and Hank crammed into the truck that took us to the guest house.

The road to the United Methodist Guest House was incredibly bumpy, and therefore very slow. I was in shock most of the ride – the city was so crowded with people; everyone looked so poor. Lots of people had tiny stands alongside the street; many of them were carrying huge loads of stuff on their heads, some without shoes. It smelled like fuel, burning trash, and dust all in one. And the noise! So many horns honking and people yelling all at once. The homes we saw were small concrete one-room buildings & tent cities. Yet up on the hills you could see a few exquisite mansions. I can’t get over the huge separation of classes. It was starting to get dark so I couldn’t get many photos.

A view of busy Port-au-Prince through the caged truck at dusk.

We were grateful to finally arrive at the guest house, which was quite nice with running water, electricity, and Wi-Fi; rooms with bunk beds; a nice outdoors space with a pool; and a decent kitchen with excellent cooks. We had a delicious dinner of tender pork, bananas, salad with tomatoes, cheesy potatoes, sweet potato fries, rice, and cake. We had a debriefing about the culture and what to expect from an American who lived at the guest house (had been there 6 months), then we went to bed by 9. I made friends with Lily, a cute kitty who slept at my feet all night, making me feel right at home.

Stay tuned for Day 2 and better photos…