The following is the first report from our team serving in Haiti this week…
Little white homes and businesses dot the landscape and increasingly tumble on to the coast line. Rolling green hills spread across the entire island which is larger than I imagined. Our luggage and bags full of gifts for the kiddos are hauled away in a hefty Dodge pickup truck with the front license plate reading “USA” in red, white and blue. Appropriate, I thought. We jumped in a van and were taken to the Mountain Top Ministries Guesthouse. The streets along the way were windy and bumpy up the steep hill, duplicate business line the streets, and people walk with baskets of goods on their heads. A man stops to take a breath from pushing a wheelbarrow of cement, back sweaty from the effort and heat. Our van swerves between and around other vehicles either going too slow or stopped in the street to chat it up with a friend. People do not flinch a muscle as we drive past their vulnerable bodies.
Many believe that if you have been to one developing country, you have been to them all. But this is not true. It is the people you encounter and relationships made while traveling that distinguishes a great trip from a good trip. This is the key ingredient of connection and insight to the culture.
Waiting in the airport for our last flight, Haitians wait to go home or visit family and friends. Kate, Havilah and I find three open seats at the terminal. A mother next to me clutches her baby girl tight to her chest and each time the baby coos, mama coos too. As the mother sings a lullaby, I find a silly grin form on my face and I am just happy to be a part of this. The kindness of open hearts is felt through those greeting each other with kisses and words in Creole.
Our first day of travel began with Kate, Havilah and I sleeping on the airport floor, chugging coffee before going through security and then getting settled in at the guesthouse. By the evening we met Willem, the founder of Mountain Top Ministries and Rachel, AGCI’s Foreign Service Provider who takes care of the children at Rivers of Hope. Together, we ate a hearty Haitian dinner. During this week I am excited to learn from Willem, Rachel and others we meet during our time here. And we are very excited to meet the kiddos tomorrow!