We promise we’ve had a really great trip. Promise. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had it’s share of adventure (we use the word adventure because we’re so good at positive spin) . Right now we’re writing to you from 30,000 feet en route to Miami, praying we make our connection to Raleigh. See what had happened was…after a crazy early morning drive from Bainet (details to come..this is a “it rains, it pours story”), we arrived at the airport safe and sweaty, boarded the plane and settled in, dreaming of flushing toilets, cell service and fried food during our 5 hour layover in Miami. Hold up. Turns out a valve on the plane needs tightening. Valve tightening leads to the discovery of a hydrolic leak in the landing gear. We all get off the plane. Miracles happen (the part needed to fix the plane is actually in Haiti…things never happen that easily here). We get back on the plane. We’re now sitting here waiting to refuel (the truck is here, but you know, they can’t fuel with lightning in the area, which clearly there is). The clock keeps ticking away as we watch our connection window get tighter and tighter.
Let’s back the truck up real quick so you understand our mental state at this point. Yesterday, on our way to Bainet, we smell burning rubber after tackling a big hill in the Nissan (remember that this is the other car…as in not the one that got stuck in the river earlier in the week) and pull over to find out it’s the clutch. The solution? Pile us all and our luggage into the Toyota like sardines-there were 11 of us flying (literally,on that bumpy road) to Bainet…Jessica even rode seated backwards on the front console. A few hours later, Marcel comes rolling down the streets of Bainet in the Toyota, tugging the Nissan and Elade behind him. Notice we say ‘tug’ and not ‘tow’. There is no calling AAA, no professional truck to hitch the Nissan up to. No siree bob, we’re talking a long piece of fabric tied between the two vehicles. Going up the mountain was no sweat, but you could see the tension on Elade’s face when he tried to describe going down the mountain with no control of his vehicle, separated from the car in front of him by only a piece of fabric. But because it’s not our first rodeo, both vehicles made it safe and sound! We couldn’t fix the car in town and the verdict was that we’d all be riding in the Toyota on the 5 hour drive to PAP in the morning. Elade not-so-secretly rejoiced in the fact that we’re finally “riding around like Haitians”. We started doping on ibuprofen and did laugh about the fact that it was the stuck-in-the-river Toyota that came through for us in the end. So, on this trip we’ve managed to kill two cars and an airplane. As Elade points out though, there’s really been no drama. God’s given us a lot of patience and we’ve all had good spirits. Elade keeps saying: “And Kristen is STILL smiling!”. God bless those newbies and their cheerful spirit 🙂
And that’s the thing- even with all the craziness and hard moments, we’ve loved being here. We have a great team (and we somehow still like each other) and we’ve seen a lot, laughed a lot, experienced a lot of take-your-breath-away moments and learned a lot. One lesson has been that we have no right to complain. The crazy moments are small, and funny really, in light of the challenges Haitians face everyday. We hope we can approach these small challenges with the same joy that they have for the big ones. And if we can continue to do anything to help equip them to change their nation, we’ll keep coming back. We’ll stand up for and with them- every time.
Last night, Elade drove a few of us to a piece of land we recently purchased down the road from our future hospital. This plot is huge and stretches all the way from the road to the water. This is the place we go and dream. We’re not sure exactly what this place will be used for 10-20 years down the road, but it will be something big- a teaching hospital, an industrial center, a community center, a multiuse complex (Tara and Kristen say a resort). Elade wants to bring a team of architects down, crack open some coconuts and just talk about the possibilities- a coconut summit, if you will. Last night we stood there as the sun set over the Caribbean Sea, our friend Franki (the godfather of Bainet) sliced open some fresh oranges and we had our first unofficial coconut summit, going around the circle and each talking about what we hope to see there. It was awesome to take the time to see the potential- not just to be excited about what was accomplished this week or even our plans for next year, but to dream about the future. After all, “hope” is an important part of our name 🙂
So we say orevwa, or see you later, not adieu (goodbye) to Haiti. Haiti is one of those places you go and then you come back. Whether it was our first or 30th trip, we all fell in love with a part of Haiti and can’t wait to go back (though we’ll all be glad if we ever make it home!)…and we’d love to have you join us some time!
Keep checking the blog! We’re excited to have launched it this week and will regularly update y’all with details about projects from this trip and future projects.
Kristen & Tara