Made It

Posted Sep 02, 2010 by 1 Comments

Ok then.  Here I am.  In Haiti.

On Monday afternoon, after three rather uneventful flights, I walked off the plane and into a wall of heat.  I stood in line with a bunch of other sweaty travelers as we attempted to get through immigration quickly.  After traveling quite a bit, I’ve discovered that the key here is to pick the right line (for example, it’s good to avoid standing behind moms with fifteen screaming children and stacks of passports that take two hands to carry).

After immigration, it was on to the always chaotic baggage claim.  Imagine… stacks of luggage, an overflowing belt, and two flights full of passengers crammed into a steamy 50’ x 50’ room…  Looking around as the belts turned, it was easy to see what was going through many travelers’ minds: “Gee.  I wish I hadn’t gone with that nondescript black suitcase after all…”

One of the many new structures being constructed by NVM here in Chambrun.

Thankfully, my (unique-looking) grey bag eventually arrived and I was soon out of the airport.  All I had to do then was walk down a long, fenced-in sidewalk, look for my ride, and avoid the many porters in matching plaid shirts who wanted desperately to help me carry my bags out of the goodness of their hearts (and the cold hard cash they expected from me for their “help!”).

Finally, after a lot of confusion (“Are you Richard? From IPH?” one man asked me.  “Nope, sorry.”  “Your name is not Richard?  From IPH?”  “Um… no?”), I found my ride.  Within minutes, we were on our way to Chambrun.

Unbelievable Growth

When we arrived, my jaw was on the ground.

Once an old classroom, this room is now part of a volunteer dorm.

The grounds of Nehemiah Vision Ministries in Chambrun are unbelievably different than they were when I visited back in January.  There are big tents all over the place, brand new buildings set up, and concrete slabs laid for a bunch of new structures. 

Instead of a tiny church/school and a small clinic, NVM is now home to a dining hall, volunteer dorms, showers, offices, 24/7 electricity and wi-fi (!).  A full-on hospital and large buildings for long-term workers are on the way.

Nehemiah Vision Ministries is quickly becoming a hub for relief efforts in this region.  Because of the commitment of several new American churches and organizations, Pastor Pierre’s vision of bringing hope and change to the village of Chambrun just shot ahead by about five years.  Wow!

The Point

But the point of this trip is not for me to stay here in the village.  I have a deeper purpose for coming once again to Haiti.

You see, as exciting as the work of NVM is in this region, there are still tens of thousands of people living in tent villages both inside and outside of Port-au-Prince, the majority of which do not have access to the resources of a ministry like this.

A tent village two weeks after the earthquake. Now this one is gigantic, going as far as the eye can see in every direction. Don’t worry. Newer pictures are coming soon!

My mission is to see what life is like inside these tent communities.  To capture for you the realities, the injustices and the hope that exist in the everyday lives of Haitian earthquake refugees.

That’s why, by the time you read this article, I will have already left Chambrun with my translator, Denis. We will be staying with friends he knows in several different camps.  Two nights here, one night there… All told, we will be traveling for about two weeks.

I don’t know when my next article will go live, but don’t worry… I will be making occasional stops back in Chambrun to write about my experiences.

Until that time, stay tuned… You don’t want to miss what’s coming on World Next Door!

Tomorrow

As I lay in bed the night I arrived, I looked around at my mosquito net and the fans trying in vain to keep the room cool.  I thought about the many unknowns ahead of me and wondered just what I would see and experience here in Haiti.

But as I drifted off to sleep, only one thought kept running through my head…

“I made it.”

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About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

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Comments

  1. Jo Nading said... 

    Reply

    September 2nd, 2010 at 11:30 am  

    Incredible. So good to see how quickly NVM has taken action. You are incredible Barry. I will keep you on my mind and in my heart and prayers. If anyone can submerge into the tent communities and emerge with messages of HOPE, it’s you. Praying for angels of protection and love to surround you and Denis on all sides. Am sure the enemy would love to have a hayday with your brain – so let’s just keep him at bay…OUTSIDE your mosquito net.

    blessings to you and those whom you will meet. Thanks so much for all you do.

    Jo

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