Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fear not, we have returned safely...

(this is a duplicate of the post I put on the Haiti blog, FYI)





...But not until we had:

Rode in the back of 2 trucks 4 hours up-country on a rocky dirt road, which they call Hwy 3.
Never before have I seen a highway that runs through two rivers and everyone's okay with that.
This is not to say it was incredibly fun and a gorgeous drive.
It totally was.
My backside was worse for it. Especially considering that when we arrived at the Citadelle, we all rode horses up the mountain to see it.

I won't say much about the much there is to say about the horse/horseman conundrum we all experienced. Only that for a country that struggles to bring in tourists, those guys...not helping. Somebody call PETA.

If you're like me, and you've never pondered the greatest fortification in all of Hispanola, I'll give you the skinny on it. (If you're a history lover like me, you can just click here)
It was built by a crazy general of the Haitian army who was convinced that the French would attack him and he would need protection.
Alot of protection.
So he enslaved many many people to build this huge castle-like structure only to never be attacked and later killing himself.

The best part of the tour was the lack of safety.
In the US or even in Europe, if you visit a major site like this, they'll say you can't go here and you can't touch that, and they'll have all kinds of ropes and guardrails to keep visitors in line.
Not so at the Citadelle!!
All of us could have fallen to our doom several times-- and it was great.

After our full color history lesson, we got back in the truck beds and checked into our hotel in Cape Haitian.


This is what the city really looked like as we drove through town.


And then from out of nowhere, our hotel popped up, that looked like this.

Which to me, was BIZARRE.
And made me feel squidgey.

But I was tired and incredibly dirty, so I just rolled with it. I felt cowboy solidarity that day because I, and everyone else, had never had so much road dirt caked on my face and hair, and eyelashes and braces ever before in my life.

Even though, our shower didn't work and our toilet didn't flush.
No complaints.
I was happy because there was a pool.

Even though, the food took two hours to come out of the kitchen,
No complaints.
I was happy because there was food (in a country which has serious food shortages).

Even though, right after we went to bed, the power went out and the A/C turned off.
No complaints.
Kevin and I had our own room, our own separate beds (50's style!) and there was so much to be thankful for otherwise.

We all swam in the pool, hung out with Kristie and JeanJean and their kids once more and then loaded up to go home the next morning.

Funny tidbit: The airline that we had scheduled our flight with went out of business between the time we booked our tickets and the time of departure.
So! JeanJean in his infinite and amazing resourcefulness transferred our tickets to TortugAir .

(Turtle airlines, they're slow, but they'll get you there!)

We flew on the big turtle plane (19 of us, Joel went ahead on another flight, poor guy) to Port Au Prince, then bussed over to the other airport to fly the friendly skies back to Miami and then finally to SFO at around 10:45 last night.

Most of us were running low on health-angels on the final flight home. Poor Stacy got the brunt of it, but Tom and Kevin and Kacie and probably several others that I didn't talk to were feeling ill.
I was only sickened by the completely terrible and horrible movie that I couldn't stop watching.




I wish I could express to you all the internal spiritual stuff that bumped around inside of us during the week and the culmination of it all.
I can't speak for anyone else, because we all respond in different ways.
I know that I have to go out again, whether in Haiti-- or in Sri Lanka, or Pakistan, or Mongolia or Jakarta.
I know that we lived in REALITY for those 10 days. Our american lives here are a facade or illusion or scrim that keeps me out of the loop.
I wish I could say definitely that I know I'm supposed to pick up our family and be an overseas missionary
or
that I'm positive my calling is here serving who I serve now, doing what I do.

I really don't know. I'm waiting on God to give me a big sign, I guess.
Kacie said she thinks God takes volunteers in addition to those he gives big signs. And I think she's right, and I don't know what to think about that now.

But I know that it felt really right to be in Bohoc, feeding the hungry kids rice, giving them clothes, and showing them that I love them the best I can (which comes out awkwardly I'm sure).

I'll try to keep my ears and mind open, and I'll let you know...

7 comments:

ro said...

wow, thanks for recounting your adventure. I feel like I got a sense of what you've been through for the last 10 days. I don't know why I can't get my act together to do mission work like you've done, but keep it up because the world needs Christians to love it. It is pretty sick the way Americans are able to live when compared to others around the world.

Mama Bree said...

welcome back!! what a fabulous trip - great pics too. thanks for sharing!!

sister celtic said...

Praise God your home... I know God will show you where and when and what. Great post and i have a question did you take that pic of the fortress?????? If that is your photo can I snitch it to crop it and do my thing to it? Please let me know thanks Charlie..

Charlie said...

Nope, I didn't take that one. My camera was in a coma until we got home. But my friend Heidy took some pretty good photos. Here are her pics: http://picasaweb.google.com/westgatetohaiti/HeidySPics

pkillur said...

You guys are awesome in the hard core kind of way. You and Kevin are an inspiration to my wife and I - and you guys going when you had little kids kinda gave Em and I more faith to go on a trip our new church is trying to organize.

Charlie said...

Thanks PK. It was really terrifying to leave the kids. But it all worked out. :)

Mom said...

Thanks for letting me be a very small link in the chain. I too was always wanting God to "show" me what to do,but I just had to keep going forward and my path has kept unfolding. Beautiful mural and lovely pics and descriptions. I'm so proud to be your mommy!! Thanks Charlie and Kevin for being such loving givers in all things.