Saturday, June 29, 2013

My journal entries from my last trip to Haiti

June 18, 2003 – Tuesday Back to Haiti I’m about to go to Haiti for the third time. I’m sitting in the Country Inn and Suites in Nashville. It’s 9:30 p.m. and I’m about to go to bed. We have to get up at 4 a.m. Our flight is at 6 a.m., so we have to get to the airport at 5 a.m. We are scheduled to arrive in Haiti at noon on Wednesday. Ben Johnston and Billy Stair, with the Haiti Outreach Program, are going too. The main reason for this trip is to dedicated the new high school. They broke ground for it in 2011 (during my last trip). It should be a great trip. I will write more tomorrow. June 19, 2013 – Wednesday I’m in Haiti for the third time. We left at 4:40 a.m. this norming from our Nashville hotel to get to the airport. The trip to Haiti was quick. We only had 30 minutes in between our flight to Miami to get on the plane to Port-au-Prince. When we arrived in Port-au-Prince it was amazing to see the improvements to the airport. The walk ways were air conditioned . . . escalators, new stores. A nice baggage claim. It was completely different than back in 2010. After Johnny (our translator) and Father DuPortal (the priest from Boucan Carre) picked us up from the airport we went and ate lunch at Hotel Visa. We were met there by Sophia Mire. She is from Knoxville. She is doing an internship at a law office in Port-au-Prince. I interviewed her and will do a piece on her. After that we made a couple of stops in Port-au-Prince. We then arrived in Boucan Carre. The ladies at the rectory had cooked us dinner. It looks like goat all week. It rained, so it’s cooled off a lot. It should be a nice night to sleep. Tomorrow we are dedicating the new high school. June 20, 2013 – Thursday I slept so good last night. A thunderstorm rolled through, so it cooled thing off. Billy Stair and I were going to go to mass, but we were too tired and slept in until seven. At 8:30 a.m. we dedicated the new high school (college). All the students were there in their uniforms. Father DuPortal spoke and so did Ben. Ben unveiled the plaque they will put on the school with all the names of people who donated money to build it. After that the Father put holy water all around the school. I interviewed several of the students and got a tour of the new school. It has a computer lab and solar panels for electricity. I forget to mention about the food . . . goat every day. The only change was this morning when we had eggs and noodles. We also stopped by the hospital today. I interviewed the man who was giving out water. The members of Church Street United Methodist Church in Knoxville have donated four water filtration systems here. I also interviewed a psychologist and doctor at the hospital. They are building a permanent wing on the hospital just for the patients with cholera. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. tonight and then bed. Tomorrow we are meeting with the nuns. June 21, 2013 – Friday I just got back from the market. I took a photo with a woman cutting up a cow. This morning we had eggs, French fries, bread, and goat liver for breakfast. It is getting hard to eat the food. I just think about what the people don’t have, so I eat it anyway. There was a big roach in the shower this morning. I thought about killing it, but it ran and hid. I just prayed that it wouldn’t come out again, and it didn’t. We are about to meet with the nuns. We have to leave early tomorrow to get to the airport. Our flight is at 8:55 a.m. Before we met with the nuns we went back to the college to put up the plaque. We were not successful. The glue or paste we used dried too quickly. They will have to go back another day to install it. I got Johnny (our translator) to go to the bank with me, so I could exchange $20. I got a tone of Haitian money. We were at the nuns for a while. I kept falling asleep while they were talking about the budget for the primary school. We came back to the rectory for lunch and had goat, rice, and beans. They also fixed a surprise veggie that Ben and Billy had never seen before. A couple of the nuns joined us for lunch. After lunch, Billy wanted to try to find some furniture for the clinic in Buly (a very rural community 12 miles from Boucan Carre – he has helped build a medical clinic there) at the market. It was crazy! There were so many people there. I got some great photos. I finally found Collin again. He is the boy I had promised to bring English books to. He seemed sad. I gave him To Kill A Mockingbird. We are going to the nuns for diner. It should be some good food. We just got back from the sisters. They cooked so much food. We started with soup, then had goat, corn, and carrots. They then brought out lasagna, yum! We then had fried okra. We finished with green tea. Mine had a bug in it. Digicel, the company that provides cell phones, is having a party downtown. They are speaking on a loud stereo system. It’s so loud. We have to leave at 6 a.m., so I’m not going to stay up late. I will write more on the airplane. June 22, 2013 – Saturday Last day in Haiti We woke up at 5 a.m. to get ready to go to the airport. One last cold shower (desperately trying not to get water in my mouth). We asked the priest not to cook breakfast, but he did. The ladies at the rectory cooked eggs with Spam curls. They also put out pineapple. It was so sweet. We left right on time, 6 a.m. for Port-au-Prince. The ride down was nice, cool air, not too many people on the roads since it was early. We got to the airport quickly (it took about an hour and a half). The roads have improved a lot over the years. There was a lot of young people from the United States at the airport finishing their mission trips. We had a few minutes to spare after checking in, so I went upstairs and got my favorite Haitian soda. The flight to Miami wasn’t bad. We got a corn muffin to eat. I had OJ instead of Ginger Ale (Its tradition for me to get Ginger Ale on flights). Oh yea, Billy Stair had to take another flight because ours was full. He has to go to Ft. Lauderdale, then to Dallas, and then Nashville. Currently Ben and I are on the flight from Miami to Nashville. We should be landing soon. My stomach hasn’t been feeling well. I’m just ready to get home. I started reading a book about Paul Farmer, who started Partners in Health in Haiti. It’s called Mountains Beyond Mountains. It really visually captures Haiti to a T. I don’t think I’ll write anymore. It was a great trip. Going to Haiti really makes you appreciate the things we have here in the United States.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Back to Haiti

I just returned from my third trip to Boucan Carre, Haiti. It was a great trip, and went by way too fast. Since 2010 (right after the earthquake), I have been doing a series of reports with members of the Haiti Outreach Program. In 2010, the trip was to make sure everyone was OK from the earthquake, and to look at damage to the primary school (which they helped build). The second trip in 2011, was to break ground for a new secondary school, and then this trip was to dedicate the new secondary school which had been complete. The people there are super nice, and treat us like royalty whenever we come. It is very hot in Haiti, but every night there was a thunderstorm which cooled things off. My new reports from this trip will start to air next Monday.