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.

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.

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.
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