Hello again from Haiti at sunrise. We have returned to Cyvadier, Haiti for another medical mission to the people of this area. We left Peoria, Illinois at midnight on January 19, 2008. The temperature was 1 or 2 degrees below zero and we were dressed for Haiti and not for Illinois. So we were quite cold as we loaded our 40 or so bags and totes into the bus. The ride to Chicago started out with a lot of excited chatter but it was soon quiet as everyone tried to rest. Surprisingly, I managed to sleep for about 1 hour of the 2 ½ hour trip. At 2:30 we arrived at O’Hare airport. We scrounged up 4 large baggage carts and hauled our freight into the lobby by the international ticket counter. We have learned, over the years, that there is one of the digital scales available for us to check the weight of our bags. Many were overweight and some under weight so we were able to redistribute some items to keep under the 50 pound weight limit. At 4:15 AM, the American Airlines people were ready to check us in and we had all done that and passed through security by 5:00 AM. The wait at the security line was a mere 20 minutes, even at that time of the morning and with 3 lanes open. It is always amazing to see how people act when going through the security check point. Some folks just do not have a clue, will not read the posted signs, and will not listen or follow directions.
After a delicious cup of coffee and a bite of breakfast from the airport MacDonald's we boarded the plane at 5:45 AM and had a pleasant flight to Miami. I managed another hour of sleep during the 3 ½ hour flight. It was raining and 66 degrees in Miami. We arrived at terminal E and our connecting flight was in terminal D so we only had a short tram ride in from terminal E and a short 15 minute walk to terminal D. We normally go out of terminal A which would have been a 20 or 30 minute hike. In terminal D, we were pleasantly surprised to find a Monitor bar. After 2 of those in a row, I needed to find some food. The wait for a Uno’s sausage pizza was almost 20 minutes and I am sorry to report that it was not worth the wait. The pizza was undercooked and quite blah! Our flight left Miami on time at 2 PM, at least, on time out of the gate. We taxied for a very long, slow time and were finally airborne. We arrived in Port-Au-Prince at 4:10 PM, passed through immigration and into baggage claim with our usual speed. Our baggage was coming off the conveyor belt as we entered the baggage claim area and Boyer was there to greet us. After all the bags arrived we were short on of Garron Lukas’s bags. The rest of us breezed through custom with out stopping and made it to the front door. We were halted there for several minutes to collect the group for our assault on the crowd at the airport’s exit doors. We were met bay several our Haitian employees who helped us to keep the crowd of Haitians, who were trying to help us in order to make money, away from our bags. There were two buses waiting for us and, after about 5 minutes of Haitian debate we piled all of our bags and carry-on’s into one bus and all of us into the second bus. Then, much to our frustration, we sat for 1 hour waiting for word from Garron about his bag. As dusk approached the mosquitoes invaded the bus and we spent a lot of time swatting at them. Finally, Garron arrived and we were off at twilight through Port-au-Prince at 6PM. Our trip through Port-Au-Prince was the usual stop and go, strange smells, crowds of people on both sides of the road, and wild and crazy drivers of cars, buses, trucks, and hundreds of motorbikes. The trip over the mountains was uneventful. You get used to the smell of hot transmission fluid and the smell of burning brakes. There was a full moon so some of the scenes of the mountains were picturesque. At about 8:40 PM we arrived in Jacmel and ran into Karnival so we had to back up and try another route through the city. Our driver did pretty well until he neared the iron market and we were stopped by a rah-rah band of about 300 fans. After a short wait, we arrived at the clinic a little after 9 and the bags were right behind us. Supper was at 10 and some relaxing until close to midnight, then it was off to bed for this guy. I awoke at my usual 5:00 AM and that catches you up to this moment.
Today, we will unpack our bags, the many cases of supplies and medications that have arrived, and set up the clinic for our patients. There are about 100 outside at the present and I am sure there will be many more by Tuesday when we will open. This is a very experienced team so we should have a good clinic in terms of serving the Haitian people. Our clinic is fully operational at the present. There are no known water of generator problems. The weather forecast is for humid days with highs of 85 and lows of 73 degrees. That will be a blessing. I am enjoying a beautiful sunrise as I write this on the third floor balcony, in a rocking chair. The goats who live in the property east of us are crying. Last night, one of the baby goats sounded so sad as we sat here and listened to its cries.
Thanks for reading this blog. Please keep us in your prayers as we are praying for you at each meal and through out the days. As always, your comments are welcome. Bonde bene ou!