Haiti: Day 1

Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 by Michael Elkins in

So I thought I would finally blog about our Haiti trip!  I was not sure how to do it so I thought I would spread it out and blog about individual days, or chunks of days, while we were there.  I guess to start I will give you the background info on the trip.  I started working at Connections back in February and when I first started my friend Ted came to me and said, "We need to go to Haiti!"  I said, "Sounds like a plan!"  So we joined together with Schoolcraft High School's FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and started planning.  In all we had 25 adults and students who embarked on a life
changing journey.  It's amazing the connections you make with people when you are required to sleep in small cement rooms that are heated to over 100 degrees!  It was a unique trip because a lot of people on the team weren't really familiar with the other team mates, but over time we grew a close bond.  We had a couple planning meetings a few months prior to our departure and at one meeting specifically we had a Dr there, that had been to Haiti pre-quake and post-quake, and he scared the mess out of everyone there!  So when we landed in Haiti we were prepared for the worse.  I had visions of fighter pilot type mosquitos gunning for our team right when we exited the plane...turns out, it wasn't as bad as the good Dr. had us to believe.  We all thought for sure we would return with malaria and Elephantitus, which are two very scary things to have by the way!  So we met in the parking lot at 3 am and left for Chicago.  From Chicago we went to Ft. Lauderdale and from there we flew into Port-Au-Prince and landed there around 3pm I believe.

From there we were about 13 miles from our destination, which took about an hour or so to get to.  We also traveled in a bus designed for about 18 people and we crammed 25 in there (with a few guys that are on the larger side), it was fun though.  The sites, sounds, and smells to our destination were a lot to take in.  I think just seeing how hard people were working is what was shocking to me.  One image that stands out in my mind was a dad holding his little girl, who happened to be about the age of my daughter, and trying to sell little bags of water.  Who knows if mom was even around anymore or if she was lost in the earthquake.  It was hard to tell, there were lots of children running around and it was hard to tell where there parents were or if they even had parents.
There were tent cities on every bit of ground, even in the medians between the roads there were roughly thrown together tarps that people were living in.  There were piles of rubble all over the place and people simply trying to walk around it or over it if they had too.  The thing to remember with Haiti is this, there wasn't much to it before the earthquake so they aren't really sure what they are trying to put back together.  They are trying to build Haiti correctly from this point.  The first day was simply traveling and getting our "base" set up. We were originally told we would be sleeping in tents outside, but a couple days before we left they contacted us and told us we would be staying in an orphanage.  Mike Zito, a friend who went with me, and myself brought a tent anyways just in case.  The first night there we actually set it up on the roof
of the place we were staying because it was a lot cooler on the roof than down in the building.  Well it is rainy season in Haiti so about Midnight are tent started filling with water, so we marched downstairs into the oven.  The heat was very overwhelming to say the least.  I had a 25 oz. water bottle I took with me and I drank about 8-10 of these every day.  Every chance I could get I was sucking water down.  There was not a single minute I was there that I wasn't drenched in sweat, as well as every other person on the team.  So you can imagine what are base smelled like.  We had jugs of Culligan drinking water that we used to drink out of and than we hauled water from a well to fill some 55 gallon drums with that we used to flush the toilet and take bucket showers if we wanted to.  I think most people tried to shower everyday but there were a few of us who realized this was useless and we chose to forgo showers all together, we took one midweek and that was it.  As soon as you got out of the shower you were soaking wet.  That first night I maybe got one solid hour of sleep and the rest was spent tossing, turning, sweating, and praying.  I was praying that God would use us how He wanted and that as a team we would come together with the Haitian believers and simply make progress int hat community.  We went with an organization called AIM (Adventures in Missions) and there main goal is to work with the local churches and allow Haitians to build Haiti.  All in all it was a great first day and there were many more to follow, which I will update you on as the days progress.  Thanks for listening!


  1. Mandi says:

    i'm glad you're doing this! thanks.