Written by Kristyn Emmer
We made it! After 17 hours of travel and nearly no hiccups, we arrived safely in Pignon. Our adventures started in Colorado, where most of our team caravanned from Fort Collins to the airport. Stops in Miami and Port-au-Prince were made before taking a small MAF flight to Pignon. Just to give you a little reference and a picture of who’s on our team, there’s Denny (the highly experienced Haiti traveler), Grant (our handyman), Saundie, Chelsie, Amber, McKenzie, and me (Kristyn), all of whom have never been to Haiti. New team, new energy!
Personally, flying into and around Haiti was the best part of the day. I’m not sure what I was really expecting, but the view we got as we were landing was a view of beautiful, blue water and a breathtaking mountain range. The closer we got to the ground, though, the more the poverty and chaos became obvious. Once we landed, it was off the plane and a quick skirt through customs, and we were on our way to find our bags and get to our ride to take us to our next and final airport in Port-au-Prince. As I expected, walking out of the airport was a blast of hot, humid air – quite a contrast from the cool, dry weather we had in Colorado the day prior. And people were quite on their game as we were swarmed with attempts to help us carry or transport our bags to our final location. This last leg of the trip was the most memorable. Think about 7 people hopping into a 10-seater plane with two other pilots. No one can stand up and my legs barely fit in between the seat in front of me. Nonetheless, I was so excited to get off the ground to see Haiti between Port-au-Prince and Pignon. And boy, were those views priceless. Green mountains, villages all over, and winding rivers cover the land here. And when our 20 minute commute came to an end, Pastor François was waiting on the side of the grassy runway to take us to our home for the next two weeks.
It was a quick and eye opening drive through the streets of Pignon. Some streets are paved and others are not. People on motorbikes are speeding around everywhere. And there is a bit of a distinct smell in some places. Yet when you take the time to look up from the road, it’s beautifully surrounded by mountains and wildflowers. Not much longer after, we pulled into the compound and were given the brief tour before lunch. And after lunch it was up the short road to go meet all the children here. Over the brick wall, all I could see were anxious eyes and a few smiling faces. It took a little broken Haitian Creole to get all of our names out, but we made it…and from there, new bonds were formed, laughs were shared, and language barriers were crossed with only a couple rounds of cards, a few games of jumprope, and of course, selfies.
The rest of our day consisted of a short walking tour around Pignon, some unpacking of our personal stuff and of the items we brought for our trip, and some rest after a long day of travel. It’s wild what happens when you take busy, fast-paced Americans and place them in an environment that is so opposite. I know it’s taking me some getting used to, but either way, some great things are going to happen in the next couple weeks.
We are all sending a shout out to our family and friends who are reading this back home! We’ll definitely try to have one of us write daily so you know what we’re up to…Off to the next adventure!
*** Unfortunately none of the pictures from today are uploading. Will try to upload again later!