Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Team Journal 2

Saturday, June 29 
Written by Melissa Wisse

After finally catching up on some much needed sleep, we woke up early Saturday morning to head to the domestic airport. 

Today was the day we were going to fly to Pignon, a village in the interior of Haiti, and although we were still pretty sleepy, the prospect of taking a ride on an MAF airplane was exciting!

After quickly loading up our luggage in the vehicle, we headed on our way. Once at the domestic terminal we weighed our luggage and stopped for a quick group shot. 

Then we split into two groups as the airplanes were not big enough to carry all of us. The first group consisted of; Marissa, Zach, Philip, Derek and I. Our group was scheduled to fly out first, but not before we glimpsed our first tarantula. It was rather large so I was more than a little relieved to be on the other side of the glass door!

Soon after taking pictures of the exotic tarantula we headed on to the tarmac to board the plane. It looked smaller than I had imagined. 

Our pilot David told us where to sit according to our weight. We then took off into the great blue sky. Being in a smaller plane is a very unique experience and it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip!

Twenty five minutes later we landed smoothly on a luscious grassy airstrip in the village of Pignon. 

It was vastly different than the city of Port Au Prince. Here butterflies flitted in the grass and crickets sang in the bushes.

As we waited for the rest of our team to arrive we could see curious children peeking between the cactus fences at us. Three children on a skinny mule rode past, giggling and waving. Most people in Haiti seemed very friendly; and the culture itself is also very sociable. 

When the second half of our team arrived,  we headed to the main market in Pignon. It was very overwhelming at first. There was the smell of unwashed bodies pressing close and smoke from the cooking of meat.

We saw freshly slaughtered goats, pigs, and other interesting animals. The language barrier made it difficult to communicate. Money in hand we spread out to buy shoes for kids who needed them.

I was lucky. A young boy, around thirteen years of age, offered to be my translator. Without him I would have been lost. 

With his help I soon began enjoying the market experience.. There were so many children to love! After spending ten dollars by buying five children new shoes and paying my translator for a job well done, it was time to head to the mission. 

Bumping over a dirt road in the back of a pickup we arrived at the mission 20 minutes later.

We quickly deposited our luggage in our rooms,

and then headed to the cafeteria for a tasty meal of goat meat and plantains!

After our trip to the market some of us were a bit wary of eating goat meat, but our appetities soon got the better of us. 

The meal proved to be a different but delicious lunch. With full stomachs we headed to one of the job sites. At the site they were building some houses. 

We had an interesting afternoon there. First Zach decided to climb a palm tree to try knock down some coconuts for us. I can say that he actually made it up to the top, unlike the rest of us that tried, but he just could not manage to get a coconut down. One of the local boys shimmied up the tree and hit two coconuts down for us in no time at all. 

We all had a taste of the coconut water; I thought it was delicious. Then we got to work. We took turns sharing the two shovels and picks that were available and filled trenches. This took us the rest of the afternoon. When we were finished our muscles ached. 

Dinner was next on the schedule. We recharged ourselves on some sort of Haitian, deep-fried pizza pocket. It was very scrumptious. 

Even after only one afternoon in the village we gained a new appreciation for food and especially water! 

After dinner we headed out to the basketball court to make new friends and play a great game. After basketball, we headed to our dorms. There we talked about our highs and lows of the day. Then we played a little truth or dare. Soon we decided to get some sleep. 

By that time I was too tired to think about the spiders on the walls and the cockroaches in our luggage. I was ready for a good night's sleep!

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