Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Our Trip to Port au Prince" by Esther Krul

Hi everyone! We are happy to announce that Jason's parents and sister, Esther, arrived in Port au Prince safely. Since they had quite an experience getting here, I convinced Esther to write a blog and share it with you. Here is her story. She hopes to write more blog posts in the future about her experiences here in Haiti as well.

We left Chilliwack on Monday, July 20 at 4:00 in the afternoon. We crossed the US border with no trouble and from there drove down to the Sea Tac, International Airport. The flight from Seattle to Dallas was a little nerve-wracking since we flew through a thunder storm and experienced strong turbulence, one passenger sitting close to us began to throw up, which made me want to gag too. Needless to say we were happy to finally land at the Dallas International Airport. From Dallas, Texas we flew to Miami and thankfully this flight was nice and smooth. After a relaxing two hour flight and a smooth landing I caught my first glimpse of Miami, Florida.

Wow the endless white sandy beaches, and the turquoise ocean was very beautiful. It didn't take me long to snap back to reality. Our next step was to find our boarding Gate for Port au Prince, Haiti.

When we arrived and sat down we began to feel quite out of place. First of all we were one of the few white people there, and secondly we didn't understand almost anything anyone was saying. As we sat I took some time to discretely study the people around us. The Haitian people smiled, greeted each other and seemed all around quite friendly. One thing I noticed was that if one of them caught you staring they would just stare right back, which got kind of awkward. Another thing we found out was that they had so sense of what it meant to line up! When the attendant called to the first class passengers that they could board everyone stood up at once and rushed and pushed to board the airplane first. Although the attendant repeatedly announced that it was first class boarding only, nobody paid him any mind. Also, instead of forming a line they formed more like a bubble and who ever pushed harder, boarded faster. This seemed very strange to us. Eventually we were able to board as well. As we took off, I couldn't help but get excited. We were almost there, just another hour and half, or so I thought! As we neared Port-a-Prince I peered out the window and noticed dark thunderclouds. This frightened me since we already had experienced what it was like flying through a thunder storm and I didn't want to experience that again! My stomach started to twist up in knots and I started to feel sick. Suddenly I heard a loud bang and out of the corner of my eye I saw lightning flash outside my window narrowly missing the airplane wing. People screamed and that's when I got really scared. All the airplane crash stories flooded through my mind as the airplane began to shake violently. I held on to the seat as tightly as I could. I could hear passengers crying and other begin to vomit. It was horrible. I've never been that frightened in my life. Then through the mayhem, I could hear someone with a clear voice reading the bible. I looked up to see a middle aged, Haitian lady, calmly reading her bible out loud. I felt ashamed, here I was terrified, and that lady, was as calm and peaceful as could be trusting God for her future, being a shining light to the people around her. This brought me a measure of peace inside. God was in control.

Now the airport was in view, or partially so.

Black, threatening clouds hung over the runway, twisting and twirling from the gale force winds. I closed my eyes, then opened them again as our plane circled and tried to land. When we were almost down a strong gust of wind came and pushed us back up, so the pilot had to overshoot. Suddenly all around me Haitian people burst into song. The hymn they began to sing was "Standing on the Promises of God,". Since we knew this song as well we joined them as well. Our airplane had meanwhile pulled back up and was circling the airport for the second time. On the second try they were unable to land our aircraft either. Since the pilots were unsure how long they would have to continue to circle and they only had a limited amount of fuel left, they decided to head over to Santa Domingo, in the Dominican Republic instead. This also was a turbulent flight and I seriously felt like I had to throw up now. I put my head down and this helped some. When the airplane wheels finally touched the ground in Santa Domingo all the passengers sang, waved their hands in the air and said "Praise God" and then burst into applause.

This continued all the way until we taxied into the terminal. However, because we were in a different country we weren't allowed to leave the aircraft. So now we had to sit and wait for an hour and a half. While we waited, I couldn't help but wish that I could speak Creole too. I would have so loved to talk to the people around me and find out more about them. But all I could do was just be friendly and smile and say the few words I knew: Bonjou, (Hello) and Mesi (thank you), while the ground crew inspected the plane following the lightning strike.

After what seemed like hours, we finally take off once again to go to our last and final destination, Port au Prince. This time the flight was a whole lot better. It was still a little bumpy, but nothing like it was before. As you can probably imagine we were very delighted when the plane touched the ground. I thought to myself " ahhh at last we are here!" Thankfully Jason managed to get past security with his pilot badge and was able to help us go through, so called "customs" and whatever else we had to do. As we stepped out of the airport terminal I couldn't help but smile! We were finally here!


  1. Wow, what a trip. Praise God they made it safely. I hate flying and would have been pretty scared, too.

    Amazing how the woman started reading the Bible and everyone started singing and praising God. I love that.

    Have a wonderful time with your family, Will. Esther and family, I hope you will love Haiti.

    (And the famous "lines"...very Haitian. Entering the boarding area of Miami airport is like entering Haiti.)

  2. Not such a fun trip...but what a witness those people were. Can you imagine a bunch of us Canadians reacting with "Praise God"? And starting to sing a hymn in an airplane - out loud!? Kind of makes me ashamed of myself too.

    May you all be blessed and a blessing to others!

  3. Aaaahhhh..... a word from Esther.... we've been wondering how you guys are doing! Glad to hear you are safe and well... what an ordeal getting there! Now you know what those storms are like when we tell you! I can only imagine what it's like being up there with it!!!

    Say hi to Mom and Dad!

    Gemma is wondering how Grandpa is doing on 'her list'!!!

    Love you guys!

    Ron, Anita, Gemma, Carlye

  4. Wow, that was quite the experience for you all! How wonderful that you were among believers, and could all pray God to protect you when you so needed it. Hope you have a good time, and a safe return trip. God bless you all, love Henry and Jenny.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story on the blog, Esther, it was so good to read how the trip ended, seeing I had a text message from Jay while he was waiting for you when your plane had to fly over p.a.p. and he didn't know how long he'd being waiting for you. What an amazing first hand experience of God's amazing care for all of you, I'm so glad you could witness the faith of the Hatian people when you were afraid of being in critical danger. WoW! Praise God,
    love, Aunt Judy