Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Arriving in Haiti

January 18

We are in Haiti! But we haven't traveled more than 500 ft. from the plane... The entire day has been filled with change after change, but we just keep going with the flow and whatever is the plan for the next 5 minutes. After changes in planes, changes in airports, and not being sure we would even be allowed into Haiti, it was finally back to the original plan. We flew out around 6:30pm after spending the entire day in a big airport hanger at the Opa Loca airport. A cool Jewish guy funded all the trips to Haiti in his private leer jet ($30,000 a trip) that held 13 passengers at a time. We got to be the second team going out, but on the flight over, we heard that the airport was going to be shut down again the next day, so no more of our teams were going to make it.

After circling for over an hour above Port-au-Prince, we were finally allowed to land. There were tons of planes that our pilots were constantly dodging around in the sky, all trying to get clearance to land at the airport overfilled with huge military transport planes.

Walking off the plane, my skin felt sticky immediately although the temperature wasn't all that bad. After unloading the plane with all our supplies and gear, we found a spot just a ways down on the tarmac to set up camp. The recent news was that all the roads were closed due to curfew that was just started tonight. So we can't leave the airport till tomorrow morning. Even then, we have no transportation to take us to the hospital or anything.

Since the airport structure is declared unsafe (I can see huge cracks up the walls and broken ceiling at some levels) we are just sleeping right outside, next to all the planes that are rolling in and out. It is quite the experience! The military has some amazing huge planes that just about shatter my eardrums.

My voice is already going hoarse from yelling constantly over the plane engines...and now we are attempting some sleep with pieces of toilet paper stuffed in our ears.

Heading out to the latrines at the edge of the runways, we saw a huge line of mostly Haitians, waiting to leave the country. It looks chaotic to have everyone and everything out on the tarmac, but I still feel like it's at least controlled chaos.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. There is a SAR firefighting team from California next to us and they said they found a live person today. So there are still people hanging on under the rubble. We have an amazing search and rescue trained dog with us, and I'm excited to see him at work.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah! you are in haiti! I want to be there to help so bad. I'm glad you went. I applied to Pacific University in Portland. I just found out yesterday that I got in! I'm really excited, but have to figure out if i can actually go this next year. Are you getting ready to apply? Did you apply somewhere already?