Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Haiti Mission Trip Recap - The Last Day

Finally finishing up my way-too-lengthy recap of my mission trip experience in Haiti in July 2010.

Sunday, July 18, 2010
Miami International Airport
6:20am Eastern

I'm going home today! Excited, but exhausted.

I slept hard on the Ambien from 8pm-5am (eastern).  Woke up with soft, clean skin! Clean hair! A real toilet! My intestines are pretty rumbly but so far... nothing.  I am persistently thirsty.  I had about a 5 minute wait for the shuttle to the airport and realized, "Hey! I can drink out of that water fountain!"

It's pretty early here and people seem really crabby.  I am not crabby, just intestinally compromised apparently.

Off to Charlotte. I didn't have to check my bag and they also let me carry on my art canvas.  I stopped and bought a Gatorade and a Dave Eggers book (Zeitoun) before I boarded. Can't eat.

Empty middle seat! =)

Charlotte Airport

Easy flight. We got in 20 minutes early.  [Content edited for intestinally related TMI] after I ate a muffin as we landed. But I feel ok. I am REALLY tired.

We were warned about feeling displaced upon re-entry (from Haitian to US culture).  I am noticing it in small things.  How impatient people were about waiting to get off the plane, how everyone seems to be in a rush, impersonalness/not making eye contact with people.

It is still "early" here, so it seems every third person or so walking by is carrying a Starbucks coffee. My initial reaction: COFFEE!

But almost as immediately that was followed by nauseated disinterest.  I was going to text Eric to let him know I got here, but then realized it is only 5:30am at home.

10:30am Eastern
On flight from Charlotte to Denver

I just realized that I don't recall ever seeing a woman driving a car or moto the netire time we were in Haiti. I wonder if it is illegal or if driving is viewed as an aggressive thing there and so inappropriate for women. I will have to ask someone. (I did ask one of my Haitian friends in an email when I got back and found out that women are allowed to drive in Haiti but usually drive vehicles.)

I also realized I never described Haitian funerals.  We saw 2 during our time in Jacmel, one in passing on the road back to PaP that looked like it was just starting. But the first, much bigger, one was around 8am on Monday or Tuesday.  We were on the roof deck eating breakfast and heard the sounds of an approaching brass band.  Funerals in Haiti are a time for sadness but also celebration.  We think it was a funeral for a teacher or possibly a student because the processional through the streets was led by children and teachers from a local school.  Behind them was a 5 piece brass band playing an upbeat marching song.  Behind that, a hearse covered with flower wreaths.  That really surprised me because there aren't many cars at all in Haiti.  I would have guessed they'd carry the casket.  Immediately behind the hearse walked the family of the dead.  Traditionally they all wear white.  Then, behind the family were other mourners.  In this case, they came up the street where we were staying (a main road through Jacmel) and filled up the street.  Counting the school kids there were probably 300 people involved.  Everyone at breakfast, including the Haitians, went to the balcony to watch.  I didn't take a picture because I didn't want to seem disrespectful, but I wanted to. (One of the other members of my team did take a picture and posted it on Facebook. So I have stolen it to put it... here:)

11:30am Eastern
Denver International Airport

I have about an hour before my last flight.  Called my dad and texted Eric.  Made a bathroom trip.  I could probably spend all day in the bathroom, but thankfully I still have the ability to "hold it".  I ended up having to walk the entire B terminal to go from one gate to the next.  I just bought an enormous BLT from the deli. I am attempting to finish half of it. All I can say is...


TEEM! - I already mentioned in a previous post that Coke was everywhere in Haiti and on that one blessed day I was able to find a Pepsi. There was not Sprite, 7-Up or Sierra Mist that I saw in Haiti. Instead, there were gigantic glass bottles of a knock off called Teem.  It became a group rallying cry.

Last flight!

On my way home! We've got just under 2 hours to go.  It can't go fast enough! I hope Eric doesn't think I look tired and sick and that I have enough energy for my homecoming with him, his mom and the kids!


Still on the plane

I thought I'd make a list of the books I read while on this trip:
"Mrs Kimble" by Jennifer Haigh
"Baker Towers" by Jennifer Haigh
"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
Now I'm reading "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers

I bought it at MIA this morning and am a little more than half finished with it.  It is really good so far. Good reading this week!

30 minutes to go!

2:30pm Pacific Time

We landed! I am home!

Monday, July 19, 2010

It was weird to be home yesterday and this morning.  I smell our house's smell, which is weird.  My body is very tired and my mind is trying to process things so I feel very distracted or confused or something.  Getting back into my normal routine seems really overwhelming right now.  All I want to do is take everyone outside for walks.