Sunday, August 1, 2010

HAITI: Beauty and Destruction

Haiti MT: Day 1

     The long awaited mission trip for which we have all been preparing for months is finally a reality - and I can honestly say I was not prepared at all.  Approaching the earthquake-ravaged island from the air-conditioned plane, Haiti could be mistaken for a beautiful destination first glimpse from the air, that is.

Tents are set up everywhere to provide shelter for Haitians.
  Before we even began our descent, masses of white and blue objects were visible, soon to take the form of ragged tents and crude shelters now called home for many of the Haitians.  This is what we had seen on TV, what we had been assigned to help construct - what we had never truly understood the conditions of.
     Let me begin at the beginning.  Ashleigh came to the house a little after 8:00 last night, and we were ordered to bed; of course, we couldn't really fall asleep until hours later.  After what seemed only 5 minutes of sleep, we were loading up the car and headed to meet the group at 3:30 am (and like all teenagers, we are bouncy morning people, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed in a heartbeat), ready for our early flight out of ATL.  We received our Haiti Team shirts to wear, and in our layover in Miami we were able to meet other teams and speak to the members, all of whom were involved in great projects.  The beach was lovely, and it seemed a vacation.  Until we saw Haiti.
Tents are squeezed in any available space
     THE FIRST THING TO CATCH OUR ATTENTION was the tents.  No homes were to be seen - only shattered walls lying in ruin on crumbling foundations.  Instead, torn tarps and crude shelters made of sticks, newspapers, and old wood or tin  lined the streets and filled every inch of space a person could find amongst the ruin.  Children played in the streets and cars bounced across the pitted road made worse by a recent rainstorm.  No amount of words could ever describe the scene we saw with the poverty these people live in.  (A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case even a picture does no justice).

Garbage lines the roads
     WHAT TRULY BROKE MY HEART was the children.  A young boy, only six or seven, came up fearlessly to our moving van and stuck his hand through the window, emboldened by his thirst and starvation, begging us for no more than a sip of our "aqua".  We had to shut the windows, a difficult action for all of us, so that he would go get water from the well rather than try to get what little clean water we had.  They can drink the well water - we would only get sick.  However, this reasoning didn't soften the hurt for us.  Being  pampered daily has made life much easier for us, and too often we take that for granted!

    HOWEVER, we have met some wonderful people and seen beautiful scenery - the beaches and the mountains make the landscape ever changing and keep things interesting.  There are many different animals that are similar to our cattle and goats, but with a unique twist; I'm just hoping to catch one on camera!  Meanwhile, we are going to push some pills, so I will leave it at that!  Feel free to ask any questions. :)

Love from Haiti,



cbeck said...

Thanks for sharing with those of us who can't be there. May God continue to bless your mission and remind us all of our own mission fields. Looking forward to hearing more from you!

Sarah Stegner said...

cant wait to read day 2.. kepp us posted.. and keep pushing pills :), love from back home... ROnnie says hi :)

-Sarah S

Teresa White said...

I can't wait to get more updates. I wish I was there to share the experience with you. God bless you Sweetpea and may he work through you to help those in need. Love you, Aunt Teresa.