Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Planning a Visit to Haiti

I spent a lot of today trying to figure out whether or not it will be possible for us to go to Haiti in October. We were thinking of going from the 13th to the 17th, but I hadn't looked at the flight schedule correctly. There are no flights out to Cap Haitien on Thursdays.

I spoke to Robin on the phone for almost 40 minutes today. I found out that there are some days that would be better for them because they already have to drive to the airport. Apparently, the airport is only 7 miles away from the orphanage, but it takes them 45 minutes to drive there because the terrain is so rough. She said that there are potholes the size of a car. She also said that there are no real roads, no road signs to speak of and no traffic or street lights. Apparently, people basically just use their horns constantly to let others know what they're doing. Robin also said that Cap Haitien is much different from Port au Prince. She said that the violence that the media talks about in Haiti is pretty much just in PaP. She also said that the media really blows things out of proportion and that it is not as violent as they make it sound. So, it's an option to go after the elections if we can't make the week that we want to go in October work out.

Robin told me a lot about the orphanage. Apparently, Robin's mother (and she) started the orphanage 6 years ago. They went out there and basically started taking in babies when all they had was a shack to stay in. They had no electricity and didn't even know where they should go to buy food, etc. They had five babies and it was just Robin and her mother taking care of them. Eventually, they found a building that they were able to rent. Then, they moved out to the country and were able to stay in some buildings that had been used by some missionaries. After a few years, they built their own building and the missionaries moved back into the old buildings. They now have a generator (and therefore electricity). Robin said that many people have commented on the fact thta COTP seems like a much nicer place than other orphanages they have been to in Haiti. She said that they really try to take care of the kids like they are their own. She said that they know each child's cry and whether the cry is a pain cry or a "someone's taken my toy" cry. They really love these kids. I really feel like we are blessed to have Noah living in this orphanage.

Robin also warned me that Cap Haitien is a lot poorer than PaP. She said that people are always shocked when they get there. They are not prepared for the level of poverty and the number of people in the streets, and the amount of garbage in the streets. It's hard to imagine how it will be and how we will feel when we get there.So, I ended up calling Lynx airline to find out what flights they have seats on. It looks like we can fly out on the 9th and come back on the 13th. In some ways, it's not as ideal (Scott will have to take one extra day of work off, we'll have to miss a sign language class), but it will most likely work. We're trying to work out the rest of the details so that we can actually schedule it!

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