Saturday, May 14, 2011

Haiti-Arrival and First Impressions

We made it! We all met at the airport early on Friday morning to get the whole team and all of our bags checked in. We flew from Sacramento to LAX to Miami. We spent a very short night in Miami and then got on a very early flight to Port Au Prince. I was kind of nervous about making it out of the airport with all of our bags after reading all the specifics in our manual. It made it sound very chaotic! It was, but not nearly as bad as I thought. We made it through security and customs, got all of our bags and found Big, our airport guide. Then we went outside to wait for our ride to Child Hope. It was very hot and humid, even early in the morning. And there were lots of people walking around.

Ready to go--at the Sacramento Airport
Early morning at Miami Airport
We're going to Port au Prince!
Made it! At PAP Airport
We've got all our stuff and all our people, just waiting for the truck to pick us up!

When Bill and Susette arrived to pick us up in the cage truck we were all excited that it was really happening!

Right away as we drove through the major city, the poverty was apparent. We drove by huge tent cities that have been around since the earthquake a year and a half ago. To me it looked like little had been done since then. There were many collapsing buildings, rubble and lots of trash in the streets. But our pastor, who had been there right after the earthquake happened, said things looked much better than he remembered.

Ann, Pam, Erick, Jim and Chuck inside the cage truck
A view of one of the tent cities from the truck

When we arrived at the guest house (which was just finished and looked beautiful) the armed guard had to open the gate and let us in. It was a reminder that we were in a dangerous place and needed to be careful.

Armed guard-There was a guard at each building

After we got all of our bags unloaded and into the house, we had our team orientation meeting. Then we got to tour the programs/buildings of Child Hope. Child Hope has a girls home, a boys home, a primary school, a medical clinic and a transition house as well as the guest house. We got to visit each place and meet some of the kids for the first time. We spent a good amount of time playing with the little boys at the boys home. I got to meet Wilson, Ti-You, Schneider, Fan-Fan and Lukenson—we played Frisbee.

A house right next door to the girls home that collapsed during the earthquake
Anderson with some of his artwork.
Sweet Wilson
Schneider-he is a great soccer player!
I got to play frisbee with Wilson and Fan-Fan
Lukenson played with us too
Emmanuel-love his smile!
Some of the boys playing drip, drip, drench (a variation of duck, duck, goose)

I got to read with Adnaika at the girls home

Around 6 o’clock it was time to head back to the guest house for dinner. One of our rules was not to be out after dark, and it gets dark about 6:30. We had a delicious meal prepared for us by our wonderful cooks, Venice and Janette, followed by a debrief meeting and early bed time. We were all very tired and looking forward to our week in Port au Prince.

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