An opportunity to meet Saintamene, be part of a work team and experience firsthand the situation in Haiti presented itself in February 2015. It’s really difficult to believe it’s been a year. My work schedule in the office at Brand It Marketing was absolutely crazy, but when isn’t it? A new grandbaby and my youngest son’s wedding were quickly approaching. I signed up anyway…I guess I needed one more thing to think about.I was first introduced to Saintamene when a few of my friends returned from a Haiti work trip. They shared pictures of smiling, clean, dark skinned children who needed to be sponsored to continue living at the newly formed House of Abraham. I chose Saintemene only because her birthday was closest to my grandmother’s birthday and hopefully that would help me remember her special day.
My grandpa, uncle and oldest son have all given their time to work on hospital and church construction projects in Haiti. I could do this too, those kids look so darn cute!
I had no idea what I really was going to experience.
A 4 A.M. shuttle to the airport in -14° temperatures was a cruel way to start our travels. We were all bundled up in our warmest light weight clothes as we left a frozen, snow covered Ohio, and headed to the 90° plus humid temperatures of Haiti. For me this was a time of excitement as I anticipated the unknown of the week ahead and a time of getting better acquainted with my ten other teammates. The latter turned out to be a real joy…most of the time 🙂
Tired, hungry and hot, are words that aren’t strong enough to describe our team as we stood in the airport in Haiti. We had already been traveling since 4 A.M. We saw other work teams as we waited in long lines while we anticipated our trek across this unknown country to our destination of Jacmel. The airport was surprisingly much nicer than the pictures and firsthand accounts I’d heard about. I’m sure the January 12th, 2010 earthquake had a lot to do with the improvements as there was a need for aid to be flown in.
Outside the airport bright blue skies were a stark contrast to the dark, hopeless expressions on the Haitian faces that greeted us. Men, lots of men, stood hanging over and around the chain link fence watching as our team made a single file parade line as we pulled our luggage down the broken, uneven sidewalk to the waiting truck and van. Each of us had two large suitcases. One for our needs and the extra luggage filled with clothes, balls, candy and toys for the House of Abraham children. It was February 14, 2015, we were going to have a Valentine party with the children, but we also packed extra needed items – soaps, toothpaste and underwear.