It was a normal day of travel....and then...
Anyone who has experienced airline or overseas travel more than once may feel that the steps leading to arrival at your final destination somewhat blur together when the majority of the experience is uneventful or there are no major issues. Besides a bumpy flight to Atlanta and a bumpy flight to Port-au-Prince; that is what the day felt like. The team was certainly all excited for the trip but it was more about the destination and not the getting from MSP to Haiti that we were looking forward to.
And then.....we land in Haiti. Some of the members of the team have been to Haiti on several occasions and were kind enough to give me some insight as to what happens when we arrive and what to expect. "The worst traffic you have ever seen", and "garbage literally everywhere", were the common theme. Although the traffic according to our driver Frank was "light" as it is a Saturday; it still ranks with the worst I have ever seen. White knuckling it doesn't come close to describing what Americans would say is a close call; but Haitians treat it as matter of fact as picking a parking space at the grocery store!
Rivers of garbage flowing down the hillside, charcoal being made (burned) on sidewalks, people bathing in the same river where the garbage is flowing. And people EVERYWHERE. There are 2 million people in Port-au-Prince and I feel like we drove past a good majority of them.
It was poverty that I have never witnessed before in my life. But what I noticed the more people we past was that even though it was extreme poverty; I wouldn't at all call it destitute. The people were happy, going places, talking amongst friends, making things, selling things, buying things, and generally going about their daily lives.
Finally we arrive at the guesthouse where we will be calling home for the next week. Each of us with varying reasons for making the trip but as we went through our devotions this evening I was surprised to see how similar a lot of these reasons were. We all want to make a difference. I would guess everyone who commits to a mission trip ultimately wants to. But we also all want to re-center our lives and open our hearts to our Lord in new ways. As much as we want to change something in a positive way here in Haiti; we are also looking to make a positive impact in our hearts and minds.
One of the last things Jesus said to his disciples was "Go into the world and preach the gospel". Well, we have gone and we are here. Looking forward to how He will use us for good in Haiti and in our hearts.
P.S. a picture of our first friend we encountered in the garden.