And now we come to Friday, the day I met my Hait team. The bummer about knowing my mission team is going to be checking out my web site is that now I can't write about them :-). We were an eclectic group, but we all served a unique purpose in our own way. Take me for instance. I was the one who braved this photo session with "Hairy," just so you could get a closer look. Had I been thinking straight, this would have been the time to use my pepper spray. We were even outside.
Our team met up at 2:30 on Friday and, after eating dinner, started our two day voyage to Haiti (normally about a six hour trip by bus). We had to put 8 people in six seats of the van because we had so many suitcases full of medical supplies, toys, and clothes for the orphans (good I had practice in the DR conchos!). This really helped the "bonding" process as we all got closely acquainted. The first night we drove several hours to the inland DR city of Santiago, where we stayed at a mission for people in ministry. That is where we met up with "Mr. Furry 8 Legs" on the way to our rooms. For some reason, none of us slept well that night…
My roommate for the week was a woman from Columbus, Georgia, Bobbye. She was a very sweet woman and the thing that was really amazing is that Bobbye has been to India 8 times (8 is the lucky number of the day)! As soon as she told me that, I knew that God had arranged this divine app0intment to prepare me for an upcoming trip I'll be making to India in February. I felt so clueless about how to prepare for India, but that was about to change.
At 4:00 a.m., I awoke to see a huge cockroach climbing up Bobbye's covers toward her face. Donning my purpose of the moment, I donned my imaginary superman cape and lunged for her bed with my shoe, taking care of the problem. We weren't sleeping well anyhow, so we got up, turned on the light, and she gave me two pages of notes about India—what to bring, how to conduct myself, what to wear, etc… It was so cool that God cared about my upcoming trip that much to bring her to me. She also assured me several times through the week that Haiti was a good preparation for India in general. Bobbye is a very sweet and generous woman. She even shared her peanut butter with me every night. It was our dessert after a steady diet of beans and rice.
The next day, we left Santiago at 9:00 a.m. and headed to the very northwestern Atlantic coastal town of DR called Monte Cristi. Please, no more "Count" jokes. That was Monte CRISTO! It was a beautiful drive full of mountains, lush tropical landscape, and farms. Then we headed south about 30 miles to a town called Dajabon (pronounced Dahabone). This town sits on the DR side of the border. After leaving Santiago, the closer you got to the Haitian border, the more impoverished the landscape became.
The thing you notice even more in Dajabon than in other DR towns is the trash. At this point, there is apparently no more trash services, you just throw it all in the street where it appears to sit forever.
And at last, we arrived at the border, which is separated by a bridge over the "Rio Massacre." Stay tuned tomorrow to find out why this river is named as such…