It has been a whirlwind trip. As you know, I landed in the Dominican Republic Friday, January 29. I spend the night in Santo Domingo. I woke up at 6:00 am to a phone call asking me to be ready to leave at 8:00 am. Wondering to myself — does he mean 8:00 am — or somewhere AROUND 8:00 am.
I decided to get up and get a meal at the hotel restaurant — last meal before heading to the unknown.
I took a shower, packed up and head to breakfast. It was great — a buffet. I LOVE breakfast, especial in buffet style. I have eggs, potatoes, a wonderful banana, bacon, and fresh orange juice. It was great. However, I was think to myself, “Self, you have an 8 hour bus ride to Haiti. What goes in must come out.” I’ll spare you the details. But, it was a concern.
I went back to my room picked up my luggage and heading to the lobby. I checked out at 7:55 am and prepared for the hour long wait. However, to my surprise Ivan was waiting for me outside. It was great. He told me that I would be riding alone to Haiti. “Do you speak Spanish?” he asked. I said, “Nope — not a lick.” He said, “I should be a great trip to catch up with your reading because you’re not going to talk to anyone.” LOL
He was right. I sat near the front in assigned seat 12, next to a girl who told me right away, “No, English — none — no English. No talk.” That sounded like English to me. She was young, about 20 something. She was traveling to Haiti with several others — not sure if they were family or not. She did not enjoy sitting by me. Not sure why. She did have this thing for bees. She had a bee that kept crawling toward her on the window. She’s was afraid of it. But, she wouldn’t kill it. I tried to help her, but she wouldn’t let me. A tree hugger in Dominican Republic.
The bus was nice. Air conditioning, quiet, good springs. It was comfortable.
It took about 4 hours to get to the Haitian border. Woe, what a stark difference between the DR and Haiti. It’s like night and day. On the DR side, trees, grass, water, pretty flowers and everything you would expect in a tropical island nation. However, when we got to the border it was just the opposite. Like a wasteland. No trees. The lake was full of silt. Pollution everywhere. It was just awful.
We made it to customs and it was chaos, at best. We were there two hours. Since I don’t speak the language, it was anybody’s guess what was going on.
We finally made it in to Haiti. The roads — bad. As we got closer and closer to Port au Prince we started seeing damage to buildings. As we finally made it to the bus terminal, I thought I had seen it all. But, I hadn’t been down town yet. That’s when my eyes were open to the incredible amount of devastation.
The pictures speak for themselves.
What’s great is Compassion International is there to help. No, they’re not doing it alone. They come along side the local church to empower THEM to do. Since they understand the community needs better than anyone, they uniquely qualified to identify the most needy. They’re the ones who become the heroes in the community, which gives them a platform to share their faith.
Compassion International had 74 staff. Now they have 73. Of the 73 staff members, 15 of their family members lost their lives. 16 program staff (church members) lost their lives. 61 sponsored children and young adults lost their lives. 233 were injured.
One staff member Eusua and his wife, lost his daughter. He told me, “I wasn’t even there. I was here working at Compassion when the earthquake hit.” His eye welling up with tears. He told me his wife was caring for his son and daughter when the quake hit. They survived the quake, “But when they ran away my daughter got away from my wife and a wall fell on her.” He asked me to pray for his wife who is taking it hard.
Can you imagine having your son in your arms, you other child running for her life, only to be killed by a falling wall.
Today, was Help Haiti with Compassion. I talked with several radio stations around the country — from New York to Chicago to California. All with one purpose, raising money to help Compassion International’s work in Haiti. The goal was to raise $1-million. At the time of this blog post, we were really close.
Well, it’s been an incredible couple of days. Keep praying for the people of Haiti. Equally as important — GIVE. http://www.HelpHaitiWithCompassion.org.
Or, if you’d like to see the video about my trip on YouTube.com, click below.