Thursday, July 12, 2012

CAMP JAKE :: The Journey Begins

Camp Jake / July 2012 team members (from left to right): Gregory, Kelly, Casey,
Shawn, DeeDee, Tom, Matt, Amanda, Jake, Ana, Laura, Caroline, Jonas
(not pictured: Andy - who was sleeping - and Sonya who was taking the photograph)

It's been a long day of traveling but the entire team arrived safe and sound in Haiti today. Counselors originating from Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Ohio met at Miami Dade Airport and flew into Port-au-Prince together. Weather made flying for some more complicated than others and, by day's end, sleep was a coveted commodity! 

Upon arrival, the pilot announced the temperature at a balmy 95 degrees. (Author's note: certainly the heat index is higher though, due to the blazing Haitian sun reflecting off all the concrete. I feared we would melt...!)

Jonas and Gregory, our invaluable translators and drivers, met us at the airport to help the entire team of 14 and 40+ pieces of luggage. We were a hot, sweaty mess filling up a pickup truck and 2 mini-buses in the chaos that is the PAP airport, but we managed to leave with everyone and everything we came with. And, all we have to say is "Thank GOD for vehicles with air-conditioning!" 

For a change of pace, we thought you might like to take a virtual ride with us from PAP to the campsite.

Leaving Port-au-Prince
A roadside stand on the way out of the city
The beautiful mountains along National Route 1, Haiti's largest road
Canaan, one of the remaining tent cities north of PAP
One of the many concrete bodegas along the way
The fantastic view from the campsite
(psst - does it look familiar?)
The storm rolling in above the water
(hmmm, think we've seen those trees before) 
The edge of the front right before the downpour
The electrical storm that rolled in cooled everything down as the counselors made their way to the dining area of Kaliko Beach Club. 

No, that isn't a type-o. Just 5 days before Camp Jake, Club Indigo cancelled our reservation for 62 people at their facility. Of course, we were less than thrilled to consider a change of venue at the last minute for such a large group of people, but we weren't going to let this "hiccup" affect Camp Jake. 

After much fast and furious work by Tom and Kathy, we secured rooms at Kaliko Beach Club and the rest, as they say, is history. We are thrilled to be back at the same campsite as the January season. The staff is as friendly as we remembered, the rooms clean, and the ocean just as beautiful. 

Following a quick meeting and a dip in the warm waters of the pool, most of the counselors retired to their rooms to get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow holds a day of preparation, sorting all of the supplies, finalizing all daily schedules, and the review of all safety and aquatic guidelines.

Bonswa, friends. Check back again tomorrow as we prepare to greet the children!

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