October 2, PM
Wow. Wow. Wow. What a difference a few hours makes. We have landed safely in Port Au Prince and my life will never be the same. As much as I’ve seen in the pictures and on TV, nothing can compare to seeing the tragedy with your own eyes.
The airport wasn’t too shabby. Not DIA by a long stretch, but probably could be worse. As we walked along, you could see that we were in a new part of the airport. The damage across the way was remarkable, from broken glass to cracked walls to parts of the ceiling caved in. Baggage claim (and customs) was just in a big hangar of sorts. There were about 20 (rough estimate) different mission groups and luggage was a logistical nightmare! But we all got through it in one piece with all our stuff and started to venture into a land unknown…
The desperation of people wanting to help at the airport for a few bucks in mind blowing. We had people begging to help us with our enormous haul of a luggage and that was just the beginning. A boy of about 12 started yelling at us from the other side of the fence, “I love Jesus. I love you. Give me something!” Apparently they learn at a young age how to survive. That alone is heartbreaking.
The drive through Port Au Prince to Bon Repos is worth a million pictures. I took a gazillion, but am not sure if they can even capture the entire truth. People, markets, tents, and poverty where everywhere, from within a few feet to as far as the eye could see. I was fortunate enough to sit with Raguel, our Haitian translator who helped me understand what I was looking at. Not that anything I saw was comprehendible. The ditches were filled with still water and trash. And more trash. The tremendous rainfall the area has seen lately just added to the standing water. What a great place to be a mosquito!
It was amazing to come up to the orphanage. What a beautiful sanctuary in a world of chaos. We got off our school bus (which was half filled with our donations!) and were greeted by a line of kids. They were like a tidal wave , overwhelming us with hugs and kisses on the cheeks. They were complete sweethearts- there is no other word.
Dinner was also gracious; spaghetti, fried plantains and avocados. After dinner we set our mosquito nets up on our mattress and interacted with the children. They do prayers and sing before bed time and it is uplifting. The kids are miracles in a mess, plain and simple. One boy, about Zander’s age, invited me to sit with him. As I sat with him and held him, I felt a tear fall off my face. I wasn’t even aware I needed to cry, and I don’t know where that tear came from, but I know it will only one of many before the trip is over.