Day one in Haiti – March 25

By Diane

There was little to see most of our time in the air, but we could feel the excitement mount when Sara spotted the faint coastline of an island appear in our view. This could be our destination.

We came in low over the outskirts of Port au Prince to a view of a mass of rusted and tarped roofs. The airport was a rush of immigration check points and lugging baggage out into the hot sun where we met One-Arm Jackson who guided us to our transportation.With all our bags and a few people in one truck and the rest of us in the van, we took off through the crowded streets. Our van driver, Johnny, was an expert at weaving his way around and through the lines of outgoing and incoming traffic. Many taptaps drove by with their brightly decorated exteriors and jam-packed cargo – human or otherwise.

Our ride of about an hour from Port au Prince to Thomas took us past too many sites to describe in a few words, but we should be able to include pictures at some point. Just a few of them were shells of buildings, women washing clothes in the river, cows grazing in empty lots, people hauling produce to market on donkeys, bananas and papayas spread out for sale and new bricks being laid.

Our van arrived at the Thomas School where we met Warren McGuffin who is in charge of the Thomas Food Project.He gave us a tour and a quick overview of the project while we waited for the truck to join us. It turned out that it went to the other location that is part of the Project but Johnny retrieved the occupants and cargo. We bustled about unpacking and sorting the 13 bags which made quite a display of pillowcase dresses, toothbrushes, pencils, work gloves and more and more.

Before and after dinner, our first project was to set up our homes for the week. The men bivouac in one of the classrooms and the women have two rooms in the guest house. The guest rooms have newly installed cots and mattresses but the men’s room doesn’t.They set about blowing up the air mattresses we brought and most of the women added them to their beds as well. The occupants of each room met the challenge of installing mosquito netting in their own way. We feel elegantly ensconced in our canopy beds.

Dinner was delicious and a welcome treat after all our travel. Beans and rice, goat meat, beet and potato salad (give us the recipe!), and a spicy shredded carrot salad (namedsomething like pi-clay). We even had real Coke (ie, the kind with sugar, not corn syrup).

We had an inspirational devotional led by Rob. We could only find a Bible in Creole so James read it to us and then interpreted. We sang “Go ye, go ye, into the world” and “Go forth in Jesus Name” and Rob read from Sara’s page in Sue’s devotional book which touched us all. Then Janette asked us to share some of our first impressions. Corrie gave a moving testimony of how much this experience and the people we have already met inspire her and encourage her desire to spend her life in mission work.

Then it was to bed for a sleep that had been on hold since we awoke for church on Sunday morning.