Total Miles: 1410 miles (on the road in USA...not including air miles)
Total Cost: Under $600
The ending of trips and the coming home always stirs in me mixed emotions.
I am almost always sad to be leaving wherever I am, but I am also happy to return home and excited to start planning another trip.
Except this time...the new trip I am planning is going to be a 2 year long journey through graduate school that is going to test me in ways I had no wish to be tested in again.
"Ou sonje Kreyol anpil sa ou panse." (translated: you remember more than you think.)
Only going to Haiti for a week was challenging for me in many ways. This was my fifth time visiting Haiti, and to date, my shortest visit. On 2 prior trips, I have had the opportunity to take Kreyol lessons from a Haitian pastor, Pastor Chavannes. And, while I feel that much of my grasp of the language is lost each couple years that I am gone, he (and other my Haitian friends) think that I really do remember more than I think I remember. Which is extremely beneficial!
The last half of my week in Haiti was filled with loads of activities.
Friday, we had clinic in the morning and language lessons in the afternoon. Then some more clinic. Oh, and playing futbol (soccer) with a couple of our Haitian friends, Johnny and Jerry. In the evening, we spent time sitting around outside talking and discussing while eating mangos (Carrie and I enjoyed them the Haitian way...peeling the skins off with our teeth).
Sunday was, of course, church. I love music. And I especially love listening and watching people sing who have the joy of the Lord on their face and are singing at the top of their lungs. And Haitian church always has lots of singing! After church, one of the ladies volunteered to braid Carrie and my hair Haitian style.
Monday went by way too fast! Clinic last all day, with a break halfway through for a Haitian meal of beans and rice, banan peze (one of my favorites!), and grenadine juice. I am not sure how many patients we ended up seeing in the clinic, but it was a full day! We saw multiple babies, lots of patients with amoeba, and some unique assessment-type stuff (including a lady with gross hepato-splenomegaly).
Tuesday was upon me before I could say "Bonjou!" Isaac came and picked me up around 7 am. The storm on Sunday had knocked out our internet connection which made it impossible to know what time I had to be at the airport to catch my plane. We decided to wing it. I enjoyed my last views of Haitian scenery, and once we had reached Cap Haitien, I convinced Isaac to stop for lunch (at 10:15 am).
Good thing I did, too. He and his brother, Prospere, dropped me off at the airport (where I met up with the group I had flown in with...they had only stayed a week too) at 1045. The one day my plane was late in coming to pick us up...we did not board until 2:45pm...and once you're in the airport waiting room, you're not supposed to leave. During my wait, I met several other groups that had been traveling, and I enjoyed hearing about the different missions trips others had gone on (some even shared a handful of chex mix with me to supplement my twizzlers).
The plane ride back was uneventful. I sat next to a family practice doctor who goes to Haiti several times a year in order to give seminars. He and his family live in North Carolina, near Asheville.
Customs took awhile (as usual), but I was so happy to see my friend, Joel, waiting on the other side with Mr. Darcy, I almost cried. It was raining, but Joel drove...and we went to Chipotle for supper.
I drove back Wednesday (an exciting 10 1/2 hour drive that included a stop at a very redneck-looking gift shop (the places I go just to get a bumper sticker). All in all, a great trip, and one that has me prepped to work with the broader range of patients that I will be seeing in Nurse Practitioner School.
I don't know when I will be traveling again, but I will keep you posted on both school and any mini-trips I take!