I didn’t sleep last night.  Neither did half of my team.  The excitement lingered into the wee hours until we all gathered at my house at 3:30 am, ready to hit the road and jump on a jet plane.

We encountered only a few small bumps in our journey…a missing passport found only after frantically searching the cars, suitcases, and  the yard by flashlight (it was in the yard), and a one hour flight delay because the airplane’s cabin had reached about 100 degrees overnight and they didn’t want us suffering in the heat.  Thankfully, we still made our connection in Miami and arrived in Haiti around 2:00pm.

Some of our first impressions of Haiti:

Stephen: “My very first thought, It’s Tropical. But it reminds me of South Dallas’ homeless area…the poverty, the people just standing around.”

Kerby: I had 2 first thoughts almost simultaneously.  When getting off the plane, there was a live band playing at the airport to greet us, and that was pretty groovy.  But also, it’s so poor, just as I had prepared myself to believe.”

Mike: It’s somewhat poorer than what I’ve been exposed to before.

For me, Lindsey, reality of the situation hit while still on the plane.  I and the Haitian lady sitting next to me began to chitchat, small talk really…why we’re here, have I been here before, where I’m from, who I’m with, etc.  Then, she began to share…most of her family’s homes crumbled in “The Event”.  Luckily, hers had been spared except for a few cracks.  Her daughter, only 14, saw her school crash to the ground and saw many of her friend’s lives destroyed.  Within the first few weeks after the earthquake, she was able to fly her daughter to New York to live with her aunt and continue her schooling.  Despite speaking very little English and having lived through something traumatic, her daughter is thriving in New York.  A few months later she was able to leave Haiti to reunite with her daughter and sister.  But several months had passed, and she could no longer avoid returning to her devastated home.

As I talked with Nina, she gave me a glimpse of some of the stories I may encounter in the next week.  But behind her gentleness and infectious smile, lied pain and unspoken heartbreak.

Yes, the poverty we’ve seen just on the 15 minute ride from the airport to our house is disheartening…but it’s not about the poverty…we’re not here to just clear the rubble or counter the hunger.  We’re here to ease some of the pain; to listen to their stories, then hug them, cry with them, and offer them encouragement and hope.   I have a feeling, though, that we’ll be the ones leaving feeling encouraged and challenged.


Here are some pictures from today.  Click on the picture to get a small description:


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