Andy’s impressions


(Recorded in Haiti by Diane –  March 25-April 1)

I’m struck by just how friendly people are here – the Haitians  – I was very surprised by that. I think we were coming here mostly to do projects like painting and construction, stuff like that, but I like that we’ve been out meeting people, seeing how they live. That’s probably been the most rewarding part. Probably the thing I was dreading the most coming here was just not knowing what we were going to be doing. But that part has been easy to do stuff, easy to get involved, talking to people.  I wish the language barrier wasn’t as big, but it’s still been better than I thought.

Food has been excellent. I haven’t had anything I didn’t like.

I like the transportation. I think we’re still getting away easy compared to what they have to do most of the time with the taptaps. More challenging, more scary. It’s still definitely not how we get around in California. I haven’t been afraid, and I probably should be,  maybe because I’m not driving. Maybe I’m too trusting of the driver.

I went and bought propane. Dropped off two strangers at the cyber café (laughs). Got ice cream. Went up and saw Jean Claude’s school. Has a lot of promise. The school they have now is really in poor shape. It’s just jury-rigged together . It’s kind of impressive. You can tell the kids study there. You can see handwriting and stuff.  Man, our Sunday School rooms back at Memorial are actually pretty good.


Emma’s Impressions

(recorded in the Newark airport by Diane)

What would you wish for Haiti?

Drinking water and stuff, like the basic necessities.

What impressed you?

They were really resourceful with everything. If they didn’t have something they would just make it. It was really impressive, especially as someone who does that a lot. They came up with stuff that even I would never think of. Brilliant solutions. Simple.

How did you feel about what you did?

Good. I think the most important thing was filtering the water but I liked the community building more. I feel like that’s what we focused on the most, what made the most difference in the long run.

Corrie’s Impressions

From Facebook

I lost: 8 lbs, my selfishness, Haitian stereotypes, my desire to ride inside of a car (and not on top of one,) my anxiety caused by society, some blood to mosquitos, self-pity, stress over meaningless things, and my heart.

I gained: so many good friends, knowledge, confidence, memories, stories, happiness, the ability to love the simple things, strength to carry on each day, unbelievable insight of the devastation of the country, respect for the Haitian people, a nice tan, perspective of what life should be about, an interesting,prospective on America, motivation to work hard, the desire to learn the language of Creole, ways to be resourceful, ways to reconstruct my life for the better, a positive outlook towards Haiti, and the eagerness to go back as soon as possible.

Rob’s impressions

Recorded in Haiti by Diane (March 25-March 31)

I’m so impressed that they can live in the poverty that they live in and still be so happy and so pleasant to people from outside. I haven’t met anyone who’s been aggressive at all. They may look aggressive when you first look at them, but I think that is just one of their natural facial features. But once you say hello to them and extend a hand of friendship, they are right there with a big smile and to say hello, how are you and welcome.

And then, the issue of this particular church and being in the situation where they still need help and the hope that there will be others who will come behind us and work the little bit  that  they can to improve this church.

Other than that, I’m not too surprised about the living conditions. I fully expected to see a poverty situation. These people are resilient. With the help of their government I think they could enrich the life of help these people immensely.  One would be to start to get food back on the table. But that’s going to be rough row to hoe. This country has had a very volatile history. It’s been taken advantage of. I’m glad I’m here, glad I came and hopefully looking forward to coming again.

Steve’s impressions.

Recorded in Haiti by Diane

I’m surprised how industrious they are. They’re really hustling trying to make a living. I talked to one motorcycle cab driver. He works five days a week and puts in at least 10 hours a day. Goes to church on Sunday. He said he supports his family. I asked him how many kids he has. He said he doesn’t have any kids. He isn’t married. He supports his extended family. I guess that’s how it is. Whoever has a job puts money in to support his extended family. I’ve seen a couple just like the homeless we have in a big city, filthy clothes, grungy, whatnot, but most of the people, even though they live in hovels, little shacks, they have clean clothes. It’s quite an eye-opener.

Jim’s Impressions

Jim: Lot of teams coming. Warren has done a good job of selling the program. There are lots of different systems that need to be perfected. I still am amazed – like tonight when we drove up the hill to that school and drove back – how many people smiled at us and said bonjou, even if I pronounced it wrong. There were a couple of grumbly men who kind of looked like: Why are you so happy? I think the point I’m impressed with every day is, as poor as they are, they can still have a smile on their face. The average American would probably not smile. Can you do more in terms of community building with less? That’s my question. That’s exactly what’s facing us now in terms of resources: Looking for ways of doing more with less.

Expectations – March 25

By Diane

Early impressions from the Newark airport en route to Haiti:

How has the trip been so far?

Teri: Exhausting.

Janette: The team gets along really well so it’s promising that we’ll have a great week together. Good attitudes. I think we’ll have a really good week together.

Corrie: I am excited. In the meetings we are doing business, but now we are actually doing work and it’s fun to be with everybody.

Rob: I’m tired. I’m not quite excited yet, but I’m getting there.

Andy: One thing I’ve noticed is I keep wondering why other passengers in the airport keep staring at me. Then I realize we’re all wearing the same red shirt. Everything has gone smooth. Hopefully that will be a sign of what the rest of the trip will be like.

What are you anticipating for the rest of the day?

Teri: Another long trip. Looking forward to getting to Haiti and seeing what I’ve been looking forward to for months and months.

Janette: Mostly I think it will be an adventure to get where we are actually going to be working. If we do anything beyond that it will be a huge blessing and a surprise. Get to our location and get settled and get comfortable.

Corrie: I’m really tired so I anticipate being grumpy but I’m trying not to. A lot of heat and a lot of sweat. And just a huge world we never knew.

Rob: I’m going to be very tired. Hopefully we won’t have a lot of activities today other than getting to the school. And hopefully, we’ll be able to rest the rest of the day.

Andy: I think to be a little bit shocked by the heat when we come out of the airplane. I think just all the people that will be in Haiti. That’ll be a little bit of a shock, too. Just how many of them there are. Hopefully, we won’t do a lot but get back to the place and prepare for tomorrow and get going then.