Today I traveled to Haiti. Yes, I most certainly did.
The day began fairly early at the La Quinta North in Miami and then I went to the airport. There were many people waiting in line to check in (including at least two mission teams) so I just had to patiently wait. I finally checked in, though, with just enough time to get to my flight. I called my mom real quick, texted a few farewell's and then it was time to board the plane.
Because I had such amazing folks donate their frequent flier miles for me to get to Haiti I got to sit first class. As I was handing my ticket to the woman before boarding the plane I hear an airline official behind me say "Oh Sean! Good to see you! I so appreciate the work you're doing in Haiti." Then I hear someone else say, "Do you have a ticket" and the original woman respond with "Oh no, no, the ticket is on me, please... go on through." At this point I am VERY confused. Was there someone standing behind me who traveled to Haiti so frequently he was friends with all the airline officials? So much so that he was basically above the... and then it dawned on me: Sean Penn. I knew that Sean Penn had been doing a lot of work in Haiti and was pretty much living in Haiti full time so I glanced behind me and there he was... just inches away. He was VERY stand off-ish, though, so I didn't bother him. Most of the folks riding the plane didn't bother him either, only a few said hello and said they appreciated his work in Haiti.
The flight itself was heavenly. I got breakfast, a comfy seat, and a warm blanket (because the air conditioning made the plane FREEZING cold.) Arriving, however, was a unique experience. Once getting off the plane, we got into a small bus to go to immigration, baggage claim, and customs. Immigration and customs were REALLY easy and it wasn't too bad getting my luggage either... it was just fairly crowded and difficult to navigate. When I got out of the airport, though, it was CHAOS. Luckily, a friend of the driver from the Methodist Guest House (the drivers name is O.J. the friend was named Jackson) met me before anyone else could reach me and he guided me through the streets to the Methodist van. Once safely on the van, though, it ended up being a fairly long drive back to the Guest House because the traffic was so bad.
When I arrived it Haiti it was raining. It is still raining. Therefore, traffic was especially bad because many people did not want to walk. I eventually reached the Guest House, though, and I was quickly shown to my room. After dropping off everything I was off to lunch with Mike and Doug (the two UMVIM folks working in the Guest House.) We went to a fairly American style restaurant and met up with a group that is staying at the Guest House tonight.
Knowing that I wasn't terribly hungry, but hungry enough, I saw that this place had hot dogs... so I ordered two of them. What I didn't realize is that the hot dogs are actually foot long sandwiches. They slice the hot dogs in half and lay them out on this baguette. Then, they pile on onions, tomatoes, ketchup, and some other red sauce. It was totally weird. I took off the onions and the tomatoes and it ended up being pretty good.. but I definitely only needed one. I'll eat the other one for lunch tomorrow. :)
Now, I'm just sitting and relaxing in my room. A rooster keeps on crowing outside my window and I hear groups of children laughing and playing nearby. I'm actually not sweating too much, either! Since it rained today it's actually a fairly cool day in Haiti. Also, there's a large screen window that's opened, a screened door that I have propped open and I have the overhead fan going so air circulation is good in my room.
So yeah! That's about all there is to report today. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to report tomorrow as hopefully I'll get the full campus tour. Also, I hear we'll be going to the beach on Sunday so I'm sure I'll have a lot to report then as well. :)
I hope you all are doing well and I'm sure I'll be talking to some of you soon! Have a wonderful day!