Haiti Rewind: Day One

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day one of our Haiti trip started off pretty rough. The night before we were to head to the airport, I started feeling really bad and realized I had gotten a sinus infection. I asked dad to take me to urgent care (which he was not at all happy about), but luckily he had an extra z-pack I was able to take. So the next morning we packed the car and headed off to the airport. Our first flight, from Raleigh to Miami went very smooth. I was worried that the pressure in the cabin would make me miserable because I was so stuffed up, but it wasn't a problem at all on our first flight. The flight from Miami to Haiti however, was a completely different story. Once we reached altitude I had the most excruciating pain in my ears from the pressure. It was so bad that I started feeling sick from the pain. By the time we landed I was about ready to rip my ears off. The worst part was that I couldn't get my ears to unclog, so for the first few days in Haiti, it felt and sounded like I was under water -- MISERABLE! I decided right then, I will never get on a plane sick again.

The flight from Miami to Haiti also had some other troubles. Before we loaded, they switched us between 3 different gates and we weren't able to load until 3pm. Once everyone had boarded the plane we thought we we're good to go. Wrong- they made us all get off the plane because a lady with 5 kids, lost one of her child's passports. We ended up sitting in the airport for another 3 hours. Jim, Jeremiah's dad, thought they would cancel the flight because air crews don't like being in Port Au Prince that late at night. Luckily we re-boarded the plane around 6 and were finally on our way to Haiti. I remember looking around at all the Haitians on the plane, and it really began to set in where we were going, and who we would be helping. When we got to Haiti, we made it through customs pretty easy, and all but one of our bags made it. (We think we forgot to check that bag when we were in Raleigh)

Our next hurdle was to make it out of the airport. Jim had told us that when we left the airport in Haiti, to expect a ton of men wanting to push our carts for us. He told us to tell them no, because to them if they just lay a hand on your stuff then you owe them money for "helping," and boy was he right. There were tons of people wanting to help, and no matter how many times we said no, they wouldn't give up. We eventually just let them so we could get to our tap-tap (Haitian transportation) quicker.

Our ride to the guesthouse was pretty quiet from what I remember, but that could be because I couldn't hear much anyways. I just took everything in and began praying for our week and all the people we would be reaching. The guest house was SO much nicer than I had expected, and to my surprise I felt completely safe. They served us beef stew for dinner, we all showered, and headed to bed with ear plugs in hand ready to take on the next day.

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