Day One – Travel and Settling in Day!
With a 3:30am airport arrival, getting organized with donation suitcases and team t-shirts, one 2-hour layover in Miami and 16 eager and tired people ready to serve, we have made it to Haiti!
Stepping off the airplane in Haiti, there were dozens of Haitian men offering to assist us with getting our luggage out to the Tap Tap (Haitian taxi, our transportation). We loaded the vehicle with our luggage, piled in and drove off on the rocky road to the Guest House. After dropping off our bags, we went across the street and found some neighborhood boys to show us around town.
Dickenson, who is an 18 year old in the community, gathered our team and some other local boys to walk us through the neighborhood. During this walk, we had the opportunity to talk with him and the other boys and learn about their lives. Dickenson has worked extremely hard to put himself through school and learn English. When a few of the team members encouraged him in his amazing English skills, he said “Really?! Now you are making me timid!” J He has been working so hard that he now has his own Etsy business! Some of the other boys are in school learning English, French and Spanish, all while living away from their families. In their spare time, they play soccer in the field next to our guest house. We all look forward to playing with them one of these days this week!
Also while on our walk, a little black goat decided to join our pack, walking with us the whole time! Along the streets, we saw a lot of men, women and children selling multiple goods. Each of the children were more than excited to grab one of our hands and walk along with us! The adults stood with somber faces but as soon as one of us would say “bonswa” or “bonjou”, their face would light up with the biggest smile and they would reply with an equal greeting.
After our walk, the team came back to the guest house and were greeted by Elisa, one of the directors, who went over the in’s and out’s of the property and the week. We then all came inside and had an amazing family style Haitian Spaghetti meal!
At the end of the night, we were able to sit as a team and describe the day in just one word. Here are the words each member used: grateful, shocking, emotional, peace, joyful, connection, filled, calming, pumped, excited, reunion, humbling, comfortable, and contrast. When we went around and said this word, we described our reasons for choosing those specific words for today. This experience was very enlightening because it gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better and to see where each person’s heart is at through this journey together.
Rachael and Taylor