We have arrived back home safely. We ended up leaving Cayes on Thursday afternoon, the last flight that Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) felt they could do due to the violence predicted for the next couple days. Communication in Haiti is difficult at best, on Wednesday evening, Dan Boerman spent 90 minutes on the phone with Leo at Delta Reservations to get us tickets on the Air France (part of the Delta network) headed for Miami at 7:20 Thursday evening (they do flights in the dark, US airlines seem reluctant to do so). Leo was quite likely from India by his thick accent, though stated he was based in Los Angeles, so the verbal exchange was a struggle. He did find us tickets, required me to email him a picture of my driver’s license and Delta credit card (something I could never do, but Mark is the youngest of us and that was easy for him), sent us confirmations to sign and we figured we were all set. Dr. William had gone on Wednesday morning in the wee hours in his car and had taken the suitcases of stuff I normally carry home for other ministries at the missionary compound, as we weighed as 4 guys a total of 875 pounds of the 925 available on the little MAF plane that took us back to Port on Thursday. That didn’t leave much weight for baggage, so him taking the suitcases early in his car was a great help and he brought them to the airport and met us.
I didn’t look out the window much an the MAF flight to Port, as my nausea has always been there since chemotherapy, but watching things wiggle out of the little plane window doesn’t help that situation at all. However, we did see that black smoke billow from the protestors burning tires in the road next to the huge fuel tanks that the ships fill off the coast and that runs all of Haiti’s fuel needs. This was already on Thursday, before the serious riots were to start. We landed in Port in the MAF plane, got into line for the Air France flight, all in vain. It appeared that Leo never filed the request through with Delta and there were no seats available. Since most flights were cancelled due to the fires in the airport on Tuesday and Wednesday, there were plenty of customers and we could not manage to get ourselves on the flight. I spent a while with an agent upstairs in the business office and was able to obtain tickets for the next day, Friday, for a price, of course. Fortunately, I have a taxi driver I have used off and on for the last 16 years and he took us to a hotel close to the airport for the night and promised to bring us back the next morning. I eat little when travelling, as somewhere in my medical training I learned that what goes in does come out eventually and the extra holes in the front my belly wall can’t be controlled as well as those the Lord made for us originally. However, the 3 others ordered a safe meal, a cheeseburger with fries. The motel then informed us that they only had enough hamburger for one meal, so it appears everyone is running out of supplies, as the protestors want. From the shooting the senator did earlier this week, it appears there are legislators on each side of the conflict, as some of his colleagues on the side of the opposition were throwing dirt at him before he fired his gun in his defense. With all this disruption of any sort of legal process, it seems unlikely that things will calm down, but with the inflation now up to like 94 goudes to the USD, rioting and destruction of businesses doesn’t seem to be a progressive alternative. As most of the food supply comes from the US and other such countries, the runaway inflation hurts the poor who don’t have enough to feed themselves even more.
We were able to get back to the airport from our hotel without any signs of violence, though we did go to the airport a couple hours earlier than we had planned, and were able to secure our seats and head home on a somewhat bumpy trip. We are thankful, as the news reports today seem to indicate that all flights were cancelled today by American and Jet Blue, Delta only has one and didn’t hear if that went, but that would have been our original flight. We got home in the wee hours, tired but very appreciative of the privilege of being Americans and able to enjoy all the benefits that allows us. Pray for peace to prevail in Haiti, to prevent further loss of life both from the rioters themselves as well as the hungry who will only suffer more and have no ability to fight on against the elements and meet an early death.
We are looking at the next flight, when the Dutch Donkey will join me on the 19th of October for another work trip. Pray for wisdom, direction and ability to have another opportunity to serve our Haitians who need so much help in the physical, medical and spiritual realms.
In His Service,
Dan, Duane, Mark and the Haitian Donkey