Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hello from Haiti

Hi, everyone! We arrived to Port au Prince yesterday afternoon after two easy flights from Nashville. Our only issue was with immigration after our arrival. We had no clue where were staying - at least not the street address - and that blank space on our immigration form earned us a trip to the boss's office. When the door to his small office opened, about eight people spilled out. It didn't take long to figure out why. The blast of cool air and the TV tuned in to the World Cup garnered quite a crowd! We tried to explain that although we know where we are going, we don't know exactly where. When the official finally asked, "Missionary?", we smiled and said yes. Close enough! And that became our address: missionary. 

We are staying at a home that is used to house the medical teams that serve one of the clinics here. It is the same house where Pete stayed in February.  Our meals are cooked for us and we have plenty of clean water, working bathrooms, and a comfortable place to sleep. The staff that works in the home (they cook,clean, and provide security) is wonderful. The doors and windows always remain open and we have numerous fans. The bugs aren't too bad and although it is hot, we can tolerate it fine.

This morning we rode through the community that is served by the people with whom we are visiting. This community, Pernier, is part of Port au Prince. The church and clinic operated by our hosts are here. The community, by American standards, is poor. Here, it is considered "middle-class." The roads are narrow, usually not paved, full of potholes, and if you drive, it is every man for himself.  People sit along the roadside on walls. There are street vendors everywhere -- selling sugar cane, food and drinks, mosquito nets, medicines, you name it. Just as many people are wandering the streets. They estimate unemployment to be at least 85%, so that explains the numbers of people milling about and trying to earn a living on the street. There are numerous buildings, many that house shops, but most are closed. Alleyways off the street appear to lead to numerous homes. They are concrete, cinder block, often falling apart, one room, and one after another.

This afternoon we will talk with the pastor of the church that runs the clinic. Later this week we will visit an orphanage, we will travel downtown where the quake damage is, and we will work a day in the clinic. I think Eddie and I have to learn a little nursing! At the clinic, we hope to meet the husband of one of the Haitian women who recently stayed with us. Finally, the church would like to build a Christian school, and we'll look at some potential sites for the school. It should be an amazing week. We miss our kids a TON, but all in all, we just know it is God's will for us to be here. We are very content.

Thank you all for your prayers. An enormous THANK YOU to the family and friends watching over our kids. We could not be here without you.