Sunday, March 7, 2010

Travelers log - Day 2 in Haiti

The view from the guest house balcony. Gramothe church, clinic and school in upper right.

Close up of Mountain Top Ministries' facilities where we attended church today.
Church is in upper left; school is behind the church; clinic is on the right.

Trying to give an idea of how far away the church is.

Mountain Top Ministries has a family of rotweilers on the property to help ensure the guest's safety. The dogs barked till the wee hours of the night. Then the roosters served as our wake-up call and started crowing at first light. Thus began our Sunday.

It was a beautiful morning - a curtain of fog covered the tops of the mountains. When the fog lifted we got a glimpse of the mountains everywhere. It is beautiful here. Even with all of the rubble, the palm trees find a way to break through, complemented by beautiful tropical vines and flowers.

Due to yesterday's rain and the steep, steep dirt roads, it was too slippery to walk up the mountain to get to church. Thankfully, the experienced Haitian drivers in the group drove us up the mountain on the back of the flat bed and on ATVs. The roads make Lombard Street in San Francisco look straight as an arrow! Couple the windy roads with steep cliffs and a slippery muddy surface and you have a bunch of VERY nervous Americans holding on for dear life and Haitians that probably laughed at us the whole way.

The view from the church is phenomenal. Tiny cement houses line the edges of the mountainside as far as you can see. Goats, cattle and chickens dot the hills. The sides of the mountains are terraced for a bit of farming. The dry river bed in the valley is full of stones and rubble from the quake.

The church, school and clinic are located right next to each other more than half way up the mountain. We traversed the steep slippery steps into the chapel and were greeted by smiling Haitian faces. About 120 of us worshipped God during the 2 hour service. The enthusiastic singing was infectious and passionate. We were all blessed by the service even though we understood very little since the majority was delivered in Creole. We greeted and hugged many new faces.

Following the service, the medical team went to the clinic to unpack the supplies they brought while the rest of us toured the property. It was a great time to familiarize ourselves with the facility before it is overrun with students and people needing medical care that are anticipated tomorrow.

A point of strong interest for TRTP is the finishing of Mountain Top's surgical center. This will fill a critical need in the surrounding mountain communities. Currently only the foundation is complete. We have aligned ourselves with a very talented interior architect from New Orleans who has joined our team here in Haiti to access the needs of the medical facilities. Following the tour, we all sat down with Willem to get details about his vision of the surgical center and pertinent information on getting supplies and labor in Haiti to complete this much needed project.

The remainder of the afternoon was a flurry of conversation with the different team members sharing previous experiences in Haiti, plans for the upcoming week and thoughts on how to improve the tasks at hand. We enjoyed some Haitian soda and delicious black beans and rice. The cook here is amazing!

Tomorrow begins a day of work for everyone, whether it be in the clinic, the school, or the orphanage. In the meantime, it is time to get some rest.

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