Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trip to Les Cayes!

I strap on my back pack as I give our home a final once over. Doors are locked, windows closed, fans off, computer off, hot water off, check, check, check. Looks like everything is in order. I help Jayden with his shoes, as Jason, all dressed up in his pilot uniform, grabs the pack and play.

Minutes later we are bumping across the dusty roads on our way to the Port au Prince airport. The roads are busy as usual and traffic is slow. Street children run up to wipe our vehicle with dirty rags and then beg for change. I check my purse, but can't find any money so I shake my head. Normally we keep coins in the car to give out, but today the console between our seats is empty as well. I make a mental note to remember to refill it when we get back. It is very sad to see these children running all over the busy street, begging, and no matter how long I'm here it still always breaks my heart.

45 minutes later we finally arrive at the terminal. I shoulder the back pack again and then with my right hand grab Jayden's little left one. The gravel parking lot is full of holes and big muddy puddles, so we carefully maneuver our way over them until we reach the pavement. Jayden is clutching his little monkey with one hand, and as we put our belongings through the airport scanner he refuses to give it up. The man behind the scanner insists, so I place the monkey in a plastic bucket where it then proceeds to disappear through the flaps. Jayden is quite upset but is easily consoled when the monkey comes through the other side. He quickly grabs it from me and hugs it close. Life at two can be confusing!

As we walk across the hot tarmac, I can feel myself start to sweat.

I stop for a moment and grab Jayden's sunglasses out of my bag to protect his eyes from the bright glare. Since we are only taking a few things with us it doesn't take long to strap our belongings down.

Minutes later, after completing the check lists, Jason starts the engine and we taxi to the runway. As the small aircraft gracefully takes off into the brilliant blue I can't help but smile! I love to fly!

A half an hour into the flight the weather changes and silky white clouds start to breeze past us.

Jason maneuvers the airplane around them and then changes altitude as they begin to thicken.

It doesn't take long to pass the cloud mass and the sky is clear again. As we approach Les Cayes, I look outside in wonder. Acres of green forests hug the mountains and fertile valleys.

This must be where the small percentage of Haiti's surviving forests are! Looking past the mountains and forests I see the gorgeous coastline. Large masses of coral reefs hug the ocean bottom reflecting their brilliant colours in the turquoise waters.

Haiti's untouched, natural beauty is truly stunning!

Up ahead I now see a narrow landing strip. The runway is actually paved and Jason lands the plane smoothly. We are in Les Cayes!

The airport terminal, all though small, is well maintained and nicely decorated.

It doesn't take long for our ride to come pick us up. The roads are not only paved , but also smooth and for the first time in a long time I actually sit back and relax as we drive!

20 minutes later we arrive at the mission building where we hope to spend the next few days.

MAF serves many different mission organizations all around Haiti, and twice a year we have the opportunity to use an MAF aircraft, free of charge to visit a ministry in a different area of Haiti. MAF especially does this for the pilots wives so they can see what their husbands see every day and meet the people MAF serves. Some friends that stayed with us for a few days and then went to do mission work in Les Cayes, invited us to come down, so we took the opportunity to visit.

Out time in Les Cayes flies by. We learn about the mission organization we are staying at, visit schools and have the opportunity to attend two different church services.

We also walk around the city, spend time with the people there and walk to the beach. Although Haiti's untouched areas are stunning, it's touched areas can look pretty awful!

Here pigs root in the garbage on the ocean's edge. Jayden thinks the pigs are pretty neat and has fun copying their little noises.

Although the ocean is still beautiful, the smoking garbage contaminating the shoreline is disgusting!

The streets are nicer then Port au Prince and we enjoy walking through the city. The roads are wider, security precautions seems to be less of an issue, since we don't see as many gated homes and barred windows, and there is definitely a lot less traffic.

Before we know it, it's time to go home again. Our trip back is quiet and uneventful.

On the way back John Pipkin, our friend who is a MAF pilot volunteer flies the airplane back and Jayden gets to sit up front with Jason in the co-pilot seat for a few minutes.

He does get a little worried when he thinks his Dad isn't paying enough attention!

45 minutes later as we touchdown and land I silently thank God for a safe and enjoyable trip.


  1. Hey Will

    Thanks for keeping us updated. I love your blog and am just amazed at all that you do for everyone else.

  2. Good to see that Jayden is keeping a close eye on that co pilot!