On My Way
Santo Domingo Travel Blog› entry 2 of 8 › view all entries
Well so far so good, but I tell you, today was one of the longest, never-ending days I've had in awhile. I think its Tuesday, but I could be misinformed. I left Denver after some delay due to the snow that was falling and needing to be de-iced, but got to Miami without too much hassle. Miami decided not to broadcast that they had a flight leaving for San Juan, Puerto Rico and so we had to figure out where our flight was, but we made it on time. Met the majority of our group in San Juan where we boarded a small bi-prop plane to take us from one island to the next.
Arrived in Santo Domingo around 11pm local time (3 hours ahead of Denver) and made it through customs.
There's about 20 of us, from all over the US and even some from other parts of the world (Canada and the UK) We seemed to hit it off immediately, being a very diverse group of people with different experiences and skill sets. Not all of us are medical, there are quite a few nurses and doctors, but there are also maintence and support type people as well. For some this was their first time out of the country, others had lived most of their life abroad.
The Santo Domingo YWAM (Youth With A Mission) picked us up from the airport and took us to their base, where we could unwind for a couple hours. It was very busy with different groups coming and going at all times. YWAM is a very large organization, with bases all over the world. They are further broken down into specific needs groups, such as Mercy Works. As it was explained to me, YWAM is like your last name in a big family- Mercy Works is like your first name. We didn't spend a lot of time at the base in Santo Domingo- just long enough to charge our ipods, brush our teeth and make sandwiches for lunch on the bus. We were told it could be a 16 hour drive to Port-au-Prince, depending on the traffic.
We were on the road by 4am and had enough room on the bus to stretch out to sleep, though I slept by the luggage and often woke up with some heavy suitcase hanging close to my face! We made good time, arriving at the Dominican/Haitian border sometime around 1030.
We switched buses- ours was taking the group before us back to the DR and we had a couple minutes to talk to them about what to expect. They seemed tired and very dirty. We were about 2 hours away at this point and the scenery started changing. Not so much the landscape- its still very tropical and pretty- but the farther in we go the more evidence we see of the earthquake.
Haiti was never a rich country, even before the earthquake and like most third world countries, the people lived the best they could with what they had.
YWAM in Haiti has set up a temporary base at a local orphanage in Port-au-Prince, called New Life Children's Home, right next to the airport- or more precise- the runway.
Arrived at base around lunch time and spent the majority of the afternoon lounging in camp chairs under a large tree in the yard. As much as I wanted to lay down in my tent, the Haitian sun would have cooked me alive in minutes.
More to come later