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Haiti Stream of Consciousness
I have arrived safely in Port-Au-Prince Haiti. I have been here less than 12 hours so
far but in many ways I feel I have left the planet.
I have decided that the best way to share with you my day is
simply a stream of consciousness blog. So here are my random thoughts.
We arrived on a large American Airlines plane, seven rows
wide and almost full. As we approached the Island it was much more mountainous
than I expected. As we began to taxi
in I realized that the airport control tower had collapsed and been replaced by
a little 10′ x 14′ trailer on the ground.
Very large plane being controlled by a very small trailer with no visibility.
We had no real problems clearing customs but as you leave
the airport you are faced with large Red secured gates to exit through. On the other
side of the gates is a mass of humanity six or eight rows deep pushed against
the fence. As we exited people
started to grab my bag and my first thought was that they wanted to take it ,
but then I realized they wanted to carry it for me in hopes of a tip. I was
advised by our people meeting us to not let go of the bag, period. After we
cleared the gate area, the crowed thinned. I was approached by an injured man
who was hungry. He asked if I could give him money. I gave him some money, and realized too late that I had made
a mistake. Immediately I had
women, children and other men following me asking me for money. Geftay, a great Haitian brother, I work
with here on church to church, came to me and said lets go, and never do that
We piled into our waiting van and drove a ways toward
downtown Port-Au-Prince. We were headed to one of the few restaurants in the
city that our team feels is safe. They explained that the U.N officials staying
on the island eat there. The food they had on hand consisted of two choices ham and cheese sandwiches or chicken
spread sandwiches. Welcome to
After lunch we drove through downtown Port-Au-Prince. It is hard to describe a city of well
over a million people that just fell down but all the people that survived are
still there. I don’t have words.
The most pitiful sight I have ever seen. There were children begging for money against the van
windows as we stopped for traffic. There were Tent and tarp cities of thousands
everywhere. Imagine a city that size with no garbage pickup in over four
and on one of out
Then we were joined by 8 Haitian pastors in our church to church program and 8
of our staff translators for dinner. Each of us ate with a Pastor and a translator and had a
chance to hear their stories.
Stay tuned. A
real blog tomorrow.
You are in my thoughts and prayers. Seriously. I was in Haiti at the end of February and could have written your same blog then. Stunning that it seems so little has changed. Be prepared… you will miss it – every moment of it, chaos and all – when you return to what we thought was the “real” world. I still ache and three months have passed since I left Port au Prince. I found you on Twitter… I’m @getaclewis … and will continue to follow you there.
God be with you and your team,
Interesting for sure. It is a whole other experience seeing it firsthand instead of the television. I’m excited for you though!
I remember all those feelings really well. Especially walking out of the airport seeing that gate swarming with people thinking ‘how in the world do I get through there?’ Of course God already had it taken care of and the AIM p/u people were able to wait inside the gate, which was a HUGE blessing.
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