Home > February 2010 Haiti Trip > Haiti Day 1: Leaving the Comfortable, Predictable & Tame Behind for the Unexpected

Haiti Day 1: Leaving the Comfortable, Predictable & Tame Behind for the Unexpected

February 21, 2010

The pilot’s voice came through loud and clear. “We’re now beginning our final descent into Port-au-Prince.”

Landing in Haiti was melodramatic in so many ways. The beauty of the mountain peaks outside the plane window, cast in stark contrast to the military tent cities surrounding the runways.

The Port-au-Prince airport terminal mostly dark and shuttered due to earthquake damage. Yet the sight and sound of a Haitian band festively playing at the foot of an escalator that descended arriving passengers into a tiny landing area. A restricted access doorway back onto the tarmac was the only exit. No way to move, and no room for any more people until the next shuttle bus. Yet an endless steam of passengers filed onto the down escalator, and the band played on.

Immigration and baggage claim has been set up in a just-upgraded warehouse style building. And 20 steps from its exit, a mob scene crammed the gate where arriving passengers met face to face with the very people we came to assist.

We would wait at least 15 minutes before actually stepping through the exit gate and onto the street. Following the lead of our in-country mission leader (who had carefully calculated our exit strategy), we maneuvered 22 large cardboard boxes weighing more than 1,100 pounds through the crowded street scene to two waiting trucks. From there our adventure in Haiti took a slow, smooth progression forward. Steady, and slow, we made our way to the countryside.

This mission trip focuses on creating a ripple effect. We will spend the coming days helping a school mission headquarters’ relief efforts, providing organization, technical knowledge, and hard work. The small team that operates a large school here is already realizing our impact. So far, we’re on plan. But we all want to do more.

Tonight we were ensured that the impact of our contribution would be realized long after we’re gone. Let the ripple effect begin.

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