By: Rev. Martin Hawley
We arrived in Haiti on Tuesday, about 11:30 am. This was one hour late due to American Airlines deciding to replace the scheduled aircraft used on the route from Miami to Port-au-Prince. Jean Paul picked us up at the airport and after checking our bags at the little hotel we use — the Continental — he took us into downtown Port-au-Prince. Seth Wallace (my Mission to the World traveling companion) and I wanted to obtain close-up video and still photos of the devastation and any efforts at rebuilding. Sadly, we saw little in the way of large-scale recovery, although some cleaning-up of debris and wreckage had taken place along the main streets. The main images stuck in my memory are of people buying and selling and casually walking underneath tottering, half collapsed buildings and swaying power line poles. Whenever we stopped the van and walked out onto the streets, people approached us begging for money to buy food or milk for their children. As we stood in front of the ruins of the Presidential Palace, a Haitian man approached us thinking that we were a television news camera crew. He insisted on an on-camera interview with Seth. The poor man had survived the earthquake and his family members in the United States still did not know he was alive. He was hoping they would see the interview in the U.S.
After the Port-au-Prince tour we traveled the bumpy roads to our mission compound in La Plaine. What a wonderful sight it was to see two large shipping containers parked just outside the compound walls. Inside these two steel boxes were all of the farm machinery we need to begin our Harvest of Hope farming project. The tractors had finally reached the end of a six month journey, from Minnesota to La Plaine, Haiti. While at the compound that night, we met the MTW medical team, who had arrived the previous Saturday and who were caring for nearly 200 patients per day, using our new church building at the compound.
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