HAITI MISSIONS TRIP
The mission trip was at the same time great, and very challenging, and definitely delivering on the "push me out of my comfort zone" promise. Arriving in Haiti wasn't bad, although an interesting thing is that as white people in Haiti, we are kind of seen as the rich people so everyone was offering to help us in some way for a bit of money. But that was just around the airport in Port Au Prince, once we loaded up the van we headed out to San Jacmel where we stayed for the first night. (Port au prince drive 1, PAP Drive 2, PAP Drive 3, PAP Drive 4, PAP Drive 5) Once outside of Port au Prince the scenery was very nice (picture) and on occasion we would see little houses together in a sort of small village (houses), some nice and others made out of leaves and sticks or corrugated steel. It was dark by the time we arrived at a church by the beach (beach), and with a broken lift gate my friend had to help out (stoic), but we unpacked and slept (cabin). The next day we loaded up in the big truck (truck) with supplies and our luggage and headed up the mountain (more scenery). It was a rough ride, 4 hours in the back of the truck because there was pretty much no suspension left, and the road kept alternating between paved and rocky, unpaved road, with most of it being rocky. Needless to say we were wobbly be the time we arrived (but it's a nice view, with cell coverage). Once we were up there we spent the next couple days working on finishing putting up the shoring and also installing electrics for the already finished area so that they could plug up a generator and have outlets and lights (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). It was a rough couple days because our living space (beds everywhere, i installed that), sleeping space, eating space (our kitchen) was all the same area and shared among 10-12 people. Nights were cold, but humid, so sleeping was difficult most nights, and down the mountain wasn't any easier because it was dryer, but hotter with the temperature never dipping below 70, even at night. But by Thursday morning we had finished our work (1, 2, 3), and after some last minute chiseling (man is a machine, 2) to allowing for piping from the water tank to go through the upstairs wall, we were done. Though, I have to admit, I didn't much to do with putting in the concrete as they paired me with the electrician to wire the first floor and fix the wiring in a nearby church. We were a team of three, Willie on the left, Gilly in the middle who acted as our translator, and finally me on the right. We had that place wired, the church fixed, and the pipe and boxes in the ceiling of the next level set up when they poured concrete.
With our work finished it was time to go back down the mountain, only this time with about 18 people and everyone's luggage in the truck (cramped is the word) so it wasn't as easy a drive down as up. We stayed at the beach house one last night, spending some time in the water, and then drove to the pastor's home to stay for our final night before heading to the airport (common pickup modification in haiti) at 3am the next day.
In the end we accomplished what we set out to do, were able to bless several people with work to help feed their families, and took the next step in getting a permanent mission house set up for the very remote location of Seguin. The things that surprised me on the trip were that despite living in houses made out of plywood, everyone I met had a cell phone of some kind. The other is that in Haiti they share nearly everything, so if you have a vehicle with some open seats and you stop, they have a tendency to hop on in order to get a ride closer to where they are going. This happened at least twice on our trip down the mountain when we made bathroom stops, pushing our total up to 20 people at some points. And lastly, because of the third world nature of the country, they have more of an acceptance of death then we do, but it's not that they don't care about life, it's that they tend to cherish moments more than we do, and this was highlighted with the closing prayer of the trip by the Haitian pastor who said "if we don't meet again in this life, let us meet again in the next". So would I go back? Maybe, like I said it was equal parts good and difficult, with a healthy dose of homesickness part way through, but I do see the good this will bring, so only God knows.