Wouldn't it be nice to tell you about Haiti?
Here it goes:
I went to Emily's to stay over the night before our flight. Also there was Katelyn and Sam. I had never met Katelyn and I met Sam at summer camp this past June. We had quite the laugh fest. Our first group bonding began when we had to use a manual pump to blow up our air mattresses to sleep at Emily's.
Very early in the AM, we started our drive to JFK, on the way we picked up Patti at a Rest Stop on I-95. The sky changing deeper to lighter shades of blue the entire way. We got to the airport and checked in via the easiest kiosks I've ever seen...we were amazed that people actually still wait in line...not even sure why they do. We got through security fine and quickly as we were ushered over to a brand new line. We got breakfast and as we started to eat, Johnny, David, and Marie showed up. It was great to see Johnny, it made me feel secure to have him with us. And David and Marie were so nice.
I sat next to Marie on the plane. I guarantee you, beside the flight crew, we were the ONLY white people on this flight. But I must say, there is something to be said for Haitians and the races. It doesn't seem to matter. And I learned first hand, immediately, that God's people need no words to communicate. I was in the middle of the 3 seater middle row. Marie on my left and a Haitian woman on my right. First, she could not understand the seat belt...so I showed her and helped her buckle hers. It was like those lessons from earlier on. God teaching me that mission means to serve Him, even in the smallest of things. The smallest most ridiculous things can show dignity. The whole trip, Marie and I shared travel stories, it was beautiful. We even attempted the crossword puzzle in the magazine together. Who knew we knew so many words for things. I was impressed.
We landed, and man oh man, if Haitians can do anything fast and efficiently, it is get OFF the airplane. Wow. So we step off the plane into a hanger thing, which was a surprise, then we file down the hall/down the stairs, by the band playing and onto a shuttle. Yes, they have a welcome band in Haiti. Heat filled the bus as we drove past parts of the airport, cracks in all the walls pretty much. We got to the newer arrival area since the old one was ruined. Go through customs and a guy came to "help" with our bags. He asked what mission we were with and we said Movin' with the SPirit, and he claimed to have seen our truck. We walk down to the end of the waiting area, no truck. The truck is always waiting...we call around...finally they arrive. We loaded up and sat. Not sure what we were waiting for but we got to meet a priest and a man adopting kids...and some people from our Mission. Then we started our drive.
This was the worst part I thought, having to drive through Port Au Prince and see just what the earthquake had left behind. I thought I'd see workers, rebuilding...we saw garbage everywhere, rubble everywhere, people everywhere. Tents EVERYWHERE. We saw one bulldozer eventually and some people in that same spot building a road. That was all I witness of "rebuilding". The rest was heartbreaking. We made many stops along the way for supplies to bring back to the village. It made me feel good to know our Mission not only gives opportunity to those in the village to earn a living, but we can support those in Port-au-Prince too by buying their stuff.
As we got closer to the end of paved roads, we stopped for gas. As we began our treck through the mountains, it got darker. I had this idea that we would have finished our drive before dark, because with no real roads and questionable safety, how could you drive in Haiti at night? Wrong! We kept driving, and it got darker...we learned quickly that Uncle Jean was our favorite driver and that in Haiti, you can see all the stars God ever made. And that moto drivers are the craziest of the Haitian people!
God moment: As we started on the bumpy "roads" to the village, Brother Delord took out his Rosary beeds across from me and began to pray. I started praying with him in my head, but lost track and just completely got lost in the peace that was filling the truck from his prayer. I never had such peace in joy in my whole life...and to have it in such a moment was amazing because our truck was bumping all over the place, it was dark, and I was in an unknown place, with only one person I really knew well...but I had peace and joy. The kind that it felt like it was our Blessed Mother living right in my heart keeping me calm. The trust I had in Jesus during that truck ride, it was like I was somewhere else. I don't think I ever stopped smiling.
We arrived to screaming children, they all toppled Emily first since they knew her..then before long (like 2 minutes) we all had beautiful children in our arms. I have no sure recollection what happened after that. Did we have night prayer? Did we eat? I don't know. I think I was lost in that peace and joy. As we walked over to Johnna, she said "I can't believe I'm seeing you in Haiti"...I couldn't belief it either. Gras a Dye! (Thanks be to God)
More of the trip soon...