Our Journey today began in the Miami International Airport, where the team boards the plane at 6:30am destine to Port Au Prince, Haiti. The Journey took just shy of 1.5 hours with relatively no turbulence and smooth air. Flying into Haiti was truly remarkable, with lush greenery and miles of mountains meeting crystals blue Caribbean waters; the scenery was truly breath taking for us all.
Upon landing the Haitian people greeted us with warm welcomes and native song adding to the special charm. Once through customs, which by the way was super simple, we made our way to baggage claim and that is when you feel something very different. After a challenging 25 minutes or so we all got our bags and there was Karen, the wonderful mission leader of HATS came in to greet us. Karen was so welcoming and warm right off the bat, but she quickly switched into Haitian mode and instructed the baggage handlers to stay away from us and got us into a truck and off we went!
Driving from the Airport, down the coast and into the Haitian valley was mind blowing. Growing up we have been given a glimpse into what poverty looks like via TV and infomercials like World Vision but seeing it first hand is truly another experience. From broken down cars, ram shackled homes, to groups of people selling, yelling and trying to make a dollar; words cannot describe this experience but the pictures will help!
After the 2.5 hour driving experience we finally made it to HATS, where we were welcomed with open arms and children’s laughter and smiles! Karen, along with her friends Keith and Joan warmly greeted us and took us on the grand mission tour of HATS. Joan and Keith then proceeded to give us an overview of the week along with our work tasks. Remarkably, we dropped our stuff, got into teams and quickly began working away; from painting and screening to bench building and caulking. After a few hours and one bench later, we then shifted our focus to spending quality time with the children of the orphanage. The time spent with the children was the most rewarding for us all. We look forward to getting to know them better and sharing more fun time together!
It’s now 6:30pm, the temperature has cooled to 28 degrees, and Germaine, the mission cook, made a beautiful Haitian chicken with rice dinner! Dinner time was special as we reflected on our long journey recapping what we experienced and felt. As I sit here writing this blog, I can’t but help but be filled with joy, happiness and gratitude. This is day one… Looking forward to what tomorrow brings!