Arrival – Day 1
To all those back home waiting for news from us…WE MADE IT HERE SAFE AND SOUND! All of us made it here and are doing well. Thanks for the prayers! Keep reading all about our first day here.
Today was travel day. Our day started as early as 1:45 am as we had to travel to Atlanta to catch our early morning flight. We connected through Miami on our way to Port-au-Prince and we managed to get everyone onto both flights without any hiccups.
We arrived in Port-au-Prince around 11:00 am local time. We then left the safety of the plane and stepped into Haiti. Many of us had no idea what to expect once we left the plane. We were directed down a long hallway before being boarded onto buses that would take us to the immigration area.
The immigration area was a large metal building at the edge of the airport. It was very hot inside to say the least. Think of a large chicken coop in the heat of South Georgia. It was chaos inside. You stepped off the buses and into the immigration line which immediately dumped you into the baggage claim area. Baggage claim was hectic so we formed a system where we had several baggage pickers on the conveyors and then several travelers in between the conveyors and the temporary storage location. Everyone not picking or moving bags was set up as a guard for the bags until all bags were located. All of this was done amidst several hundred other people. Absolute chaos in incredible heat. Most of us were drenched with sweat by the team we finally had all the bags and made it through customs.
We then left the airport and found our transportation from El Shaddai Ministries. We were all thankful for the guilty pleasure of air conditioning when we entered the buses. I think this was a welcome surprise for many of us. We then began our bus trip to our final destination near Les Cayes.
Just as we thought we were through with the adventures for the day, we realized that a bus ride in Haiti is nothing like a bus trip in the States. Cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, & pedestrians all share the same space on the road and without any real definition of lanes, speed limits, or right of way. As I sat in the front seat of the bus snapping photos of the wreckage I caught myself bracing for an impact for most of the ride. We barely missed too many different obstacles to list.
The city of Port-au-Prince was still absolute devastation. The evidence of the earthquakes was everywhere. After we continued to see mile after mile of destruction, you began to become desensitized to what you were actually seeing. I thought we would see an end to it before we arrived in Les Cayes but the earthquakes caused turmoil and carnage across the entire country.
We traveled out of Port-au-Prince on National Highway 2 and headed towards Les Cayes. Highways in Haiti are again, much different than highways in the states. For most of the route, it was much like a paved farm road that then degraded into gravel forest road and then into off road territory. I believe we ended up fording several different rivers on the way.
But after 4-5 hours of driving through disaster and beautiful tropical countryside, we made it to our final destination of Les Cayes. We are actually staying about 10 minutes outside Les Cayes in the small community of Cambry.
We are staying at a facility that is designated for groups just like us. It is connected to an orphanage where we will be working with many of the kids there. We got the opportunity to interact with the kids a bit after we arrived.
The women on the trip got a bit of a surprise as well when they found a large tarantula in one of their windows. We all managed to find comfortable beds and went to sleep early tonight.
Info on Day 2 coming soon.
See the photos of the first day below.