Monday, January 20, 2014

Journey Back to Haiti

Our travels back to Haiti were quite rough. It started with a drive from Oklahoma to Michigan since we were flying out of Detroit. This was two weeks ago now, the same time we had the big snow storm in the Midwest. I ended up driving through the night to make up for how slow we were going. After a night of sleep, we left for the airport and ended up needing a truck to pull out of the snow before we'd even left town! The trip to the airport was slow going and, when we were just miles away, we turned onto an off-ramp that was pure ice. Ahead, two cars had already been stranded. One started backing up into on-coming traffic and when I hit the brakes, even at 6 miles an hour, there was nothing that would stop the van. The back end of our vehicle was heavy with our luggage, so the van turned around and we hit back-end to back-end. By the time the police came and did their report, we had one hour until take-off. The only way we made our flight was because the gentleman at the curb-side check-in took care of our bags and printed our boarding passes with "TSA pre-check" so that we could get right through security and to our gate. We made it with only 5 minutes to spare! Stress levels were high, but we were thankful to make the flight. We spent the night in Miami and flew out again the following day to arrive in Haiti. After arrival, we got in yet another car accident on the way home from the airport. Nothing serious, but it added to our stress. We arrived on campus to two teams already here, so we hit the ground running.
Tap-tap on right
The day after arriving in Haiti, I went to the airport to pick up yet another team. It was a larger team, requiring the use of our tap-tap, a big box truck turned into a people mover. We have some pretty experienced drivers and the one I had that day is one that I trust absolutely. On the way back from the airport, we hit traffic. We have a policy that we won’t let vehicles sit with teams in traffic for too long. Following that policy, our driver turned the truck around and took a turn down another road. We followed the bumpy road before trying to take a turn to get back on the main street again. However, 3 dump trucks were backing out of this alley, so our driver kept on going. Pretty soon, we were in an area that I’d never been before. The road was narrow due to property walls—to the point that no other vehicle could have passed going the other way. The narrow road finally gave way to a downward slope with piles and piles of trash on either side. Eventually, we were driving through the trash. Now, if we’d stayed on the main road, we would have driven over a bridge. But on this bumpy dirt back road, there is no bridge. This was the trash piling up on the side of the river… and we were headed for it down the river bank. We’re in the dry season right now, so the river is at about knee-depth. The driver gunned the engine to get across the river—only he wa not trying to get across the river. He was driving along on the river bed to get further down. So, yes, we got stuck. The wheels turned but the vehicle wasn’t getting good traction on the river bottom. At one point, the team that was riding in the vehicle all moved to the very back in order to put some weight over the back tires. Finally, the tap-tap got the traction it needed to move and get up the other side of the river bank. Several turns later, I recognized where we were and soon after, we arrived on campus.
Any one of these events is just a bad day... but the string of circumstances keep piling. I could keep going on events that have happened since we arrived - literally every day - that threatens to discourage us and beat us down. It should be no surprise... we're in enemy territory and he doesn't like it. Please keep us in your prayers that we would stay encouraged and full of the peace that only God can bring.

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