Thursday, October 9, 2008

Haiti arrival, safe and sound

Hello everyone,

Thanks to all those who left comments, it's not only encouraging, but it's also nice to sit at the computer and find that someone has been checking up on me to see how I'm doing :).

So, everything went smoothly yesterday for my arrival at Clean Water for Haiti. I had to wait a little longer in Miami for my connecting flight to Haiti because the original plane didn't pass it's routine check-up (some sort of failure in the wings). But, I wasn't too bummed because I'd rather fly the whole way to Haiti rather than making it half way and swimming the rest (I packed my mask and snorkel...but not my flippers).

When I arrived in Port-au-Prince airport, I stood on one of the many long lines to get through customs, only to find out 10 minutes later that this particular line was for families with children. So, I stood with a Haitian family and tried to blend in (just kidding, I had to go to the end of a different line and start over, ha ha). After I got through customs and grabbed my luggage, I exited the airport to find a total mob of people. There are tons of guys with red hats trying to help you with their bags so that you'll give them your money, and then there was one guy who said to me, "There is a guy looking for you, I know where he is, follow me...stand behind me". Being that Chris from CWH was there to pick me up, I thought about believing him for a second, but then my instinct kicked in and blew past him (which means I kept my money). In about three seconds time I heard Chris yell "Owen", and boy was I excited to hear my name. I looked up, saw that little white star in total darkness (i.e. Chris behind a crowd of Haitians), and went to meet him...woo hoo, mission complete!

Chris and I ran a bunch of errands on the way home (stopped at an engineer's office, picked up a new battery for his truck, tried to pick up a water tank that was being repaired but it wasn't ready, etc.). Oh, and every time we stopped, I had to push the truck and Chris would pop the clutch to get it going...hence the reason we purchased a new battery. We came back, I met Leslie and Olivia (Chris' wife and their beautiful adopted Haitian baby girl), got my room-key, drank some water, and relaxed on their patio out back facing the ocean...also beautiful. Leslie made us dinner (steak & potatoes, and salad...tasty), and we chatted for a bit and then I headed back to my room to unpack and settle in a bit.

They just built new dorms here at the mission for volunteers and people that are trained in their programs, and I'm sharing a room with a guy named Matt who's visiting for 6 or 7 months, and we are rather compatible, so it's quite nice. He's 24, from Ohio, studied mechanical engineering, plays guitar, has the same taste in music, likes backpacking, traveling, and also likes making clean water in Haiti, ha ha.

Anyway, here at CWH they have running showers, flushing toilets, wireless internet, and screens in the dorms windows (therefore no mosquitoes), and great people, what more could I ask for :). So yes, to answer your question, I am here, safe and sound, happy as a lamb.

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