Saturday, June 30, 2012
I inspected my small suitcase one more time. I had packed the most essential items for this particular trip. Unlike most of my recent vacation trips to the Caribbean, in this case I didn’t need to pack my hairdryer, or jewelry or an evening dress. That was the lightest traveling bag I’ve ever packed, considering I was going overseas. What made this trip so different from my prior ones? It was a mission trip. The Schweitzer United Methodist Church kindly let me join this project. We were a team of ten, our destination: Les Cayes, Haiti.
Photo source: http://haiti.schweitzerumc.org/
We arrived at Port Au Prince on June 29. There was a group of men playing music at the airport entrance, and selling their CDs. I thought they were playing reggae, but I learned later it was actually “Kompa” which it sounds like a mix between reggae and rap. The music made me feel welcomed.
The airport was small, and the humidity and heat were high, but it didn’t bother us. We were simply excited to know we have finally arrived to Haiti. Our energy level was at its peak.
The immigration process was not as difficult as we expected. It helped that our coordinator Lori was quite familiar with the process, as she has completed this trip multiple times. Everything went fast and without a hassle. The immigration officers seem to have some respect for visitors on humanitarian missions. They seem to appreciate all the baggages we carried containing hundreds of clothing and hygiene supplies.
We dodged several “helpers” offering to carry our bags, as we had already made arrangements. A shuttle was waiting for us. It was comforting to feel the air conditioning again. It was much needed, as our real journey was just about to start.
Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti, is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic.