West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Arrival in Haiti (Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013)

Travel day was the easiest ever!  Delta Airlines now flies from Atlanta to Port au Prince, which eliminates the craziness of flying to Chicago or St Paul in order to fly to Miami to catch the plane to Port au Prince.

Our team is 14 members; 4 are “old timers” and the rest are first time visitors to this experience.  I am sure they tired of the “old folks” who kept saying, “This is great, you don’t know how easy this is.”  Going through security only once in Memphis; going through customs in Haiti was a breeze.  The Haitian customs agent asked us if we were carrying vitamins, and wanted to check the expiration dates on the bottles.  We were happy to comply.

We are bringing a computer to Dr Beauvoir, the pediatric orthopedist who works at St VIncent’s weekly and who operated with Dr Khumalo in late August on several St Vincent’s children. Apparently Dr Khumalo observed that Dr Beauvoir’s computer was , shall we say, faulty?  So he sent another one down.  We had the most trouble with that computer, since the TSA officials had to tear open the package (which had been carefully packed to protect the fragile computer) and the Haitian customs agent had to tear the package open AGAIN to make sure it was exactly what I told him it was.   

I told the team that I am happy to see the Haitian customs agents actually checking our bags.  They never did this before 2013, so I see this as a sign of progress.

Our new guest house is only a 15 minute ride from the airport and 15 minutes from the school, I am told.  What a relief.  Again, the old timers keep telling war stories about riding for an hour and a half in the back of a pick up truck on top of all the suitcases. 

We checked in to our rooms, which are tiny BUT THEY ALL HAVE AN AC UNIT!
Not sweating while we sleep will be a gift from heaven. 

Prestige beers by the pool then spaghetti dinner, and all are tired and content. 

Edie plans to lead Compline service at 8 PM (if she can stay awake that long) and then off to bed.  Dark comes at 6:30 and there are no street lights, so the city shuts down early. Except for the roosters and the dogs, of course.  I heard my first rooster crow about an hour ago so then I KNEW I was in Port au Prince, in the middle of a city with a million people and hearing the rooster.

Tomorrow we will go to services at Holy Trinity Cathedral.  I warned everyone that the service is at least 2 hours long and all in French!  But worshiping with the Haitians in their open air pavilion next to their destroyed cathedral, is always a moving experience for me. 

We hope to walk over to St Vincent’s after church and see the kids.  I cant wait to see their smiling faces when we walk through the gate. 

Now if I can just sort out what is in all those bags of medical supplies piled outside my bedroom door??
Susan Nelson
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