Haiti. The final chapter.

Posted: August 27, 2010 in Haiti Mission Trip

Inevitably, the Sunday sun rose in the east at a unforgivable early hour. The rooster on cue crowed with all the gusto it could manage, waking us up from our rest and notifying us of the grim news. It was our last day in Haiti. For me it was bittersweet. I loved that place, my friends, the people, and the excitement of the days going by. But at the same time, I was ready to go home too. It was my mindset that made me want to go home so badly. I was prepared to go on a mission trip for nine days. So I was mentally prepared for nine days, not ten, not eight. Nine. I was ready to go home. Now, if we had planned a mission trip that lasted a month. I would be fine with that, because we planned for a month so I would have been ready for a month. But at the end of this trip, I was looking forward to getting back on that plane and heading home.

Not before church though. We all once again dressed in our Sunday clothes which were nothing to their suits and ties and headed over to Pastor Lemoine’s church to say our farewells and give our testimonies for the last time. We all piled into the crowded bus and drove down those dusty, exhaust-filled streets to church. When we got there, it was packed, just like last Sunday. People in Haiti have next to nothing in actual possessions, so God is their everything and they worship Him as that. Here in America we are distracted by so many things that we have that God sometimes is put further down our priority list. In Haiti, when one is saved, God is first, all the time. Because He is the most valuable thing they possess. This spoke to my heart and showed how shallow I can be at times.

The service was great. The people who were picked by Pastor Tom to give their testimonies did an awesome job. If I remember correctly our group got up and sang a song for them. Then the Pastor from the orphanage we were staying at performed a song that had been stuck in our heads for the past week. He got up and started dancing and changing the lyrics that we sang over and over again. I couldn’t help but laugh and smile as the people of the congregation sang the joyful chorus because they were so into it that it was hard not to at least try to sing the words. Pastor Tom and Bruce thanked the people once again for welcoming us and allowing us to be a part of their culture to minister to the people of Haiti. It was an emotional experience as the leaders of each church said their goodbyes and embraced each other. Tears welled in people’s eyes as we knew this might be the last time we would ever see any of these people who had blessed us so much.

When all was said and done we exited the church building. As we did the Haitian congregation sang a song. It sounded like something one would sing at a parting. And as we walked the dirt road to the bus that led out of the church, the mournful tune rang in our ears and hearts. This really was goodbye.

Tears were wiped on dusty sleeves as we drove to the airport with all the luggage we had stored in the back of the bus before leaving the orphanage. We got there sooner that we thought, probably because we didn’t want to leave. The airport was a bit of a fiasco. The long line of our team stretched from the door of the airport all the way down the sidewalk as the security guards patted us down. I had a bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket that I forgot about. When asked to take it out, the security lady promptly used some and then gave it back to me. I found this amusing. The line inside the airport was immense and I was wondering if we would ever get through. Finally we all made it through security, customs, and whatever else is needed at an airport and took a seat inside the terminal. Our plane was delayed about twenty to thirty minutes. But that gave us all enough time to get a bite to eat inside one of the airport restaurants. The sandwiches were good and satisfying. I also bought some Haitian coffee that was native to Haiti. It would be the only thing I bought on the trip.

After counting off and making sure everyone was there, which was still as frustrating as the first time we did it, we boarded the plane to our homeland. Sitting down and finishing the rest of my sub, I looked at the airport runway, it seemed like I was just here and all of the past week and a half was a dream. The plane took off and before we knew it, we were on our way back from one of the best times of our lives.

The plane ride was longer than expected; there was traffic on the runway in Fort Lauderdale so we made a couple of loops before landing. The person beside me kept hogging my armrest, I found this slightly annoying. When we landed we taxied all the way to a very vacant part of the terminal. We got out of the plane and cheered as we stepped foot on American soil. The air inside the airport was a wonderful seventy-three degrees. It felt amazing. The vacancy of the terminal we docked at allowed us to fully take advantage of the moving walkways. With bags on our backs we sprinted down the terminal isle like the million dollar man. It was a laughable experience.

Going through customs was simple enough. We passed without any major issues and got our bags checked out in the baggage department. And then we walked outside into the muggy but slightly cooler Miami air. Our tour bus was awaiting our arrival and we piled in after all the suitcases were loaded up. We thanked God for a wonderful trip and talked about it amongst each other. Now that we were back in America it all felt so surreal. How could the world be so different just a few hundred miles away?

The bus ride back wasn’t completely uneventful. There was some mildly humorous drama that went on but was not funny at the time, at least, not to everybody. It did however, keep the bus ride interesting. At least to McDonald’s where we all indulged in our coveted American fat- I mean… fast food. After we ate, the bus got much quieter as we all slowly slipped into oblivion. Let me tell you though that my sleep was not nearly as restful. I was on an aisle seat and my head was always slipping off my arm, or the headrest or armrest and I would wake with a start. I repeated this until we rolled into the church ground where our loved ones were awaiting our arrival.

This is where my story ends, as did the trip. We all embraced our family and friends, both the ones that we hadn’t seen in a while and the ones we would be departing. Back to normal life was the feeling I couldn’t help shaking off as we drove past familiar landmarks on the way home. It was only nine days, but everything seemed so alien, like somehow we were visiting America. Our stories were told one by one to our mother who was trying her best to take it all in. At three in the morning we crashed into our beds which were dearly missed. We fell asleep before we hit the pillow.

The next day we woke up, but without the rooster.

 

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  1. […] Haiti. The final chapter. […]

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