Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Haiti Report April 2011

Who: Charlie McGee: Preacher, St. Joseph (MI) Church of Christ & Proprietor Piggin & Grinnin BBQ Joint. Matt May: Minneapolis, MN, #3 son of David May, 1st trip to Haiti. David May: Author & Lecturer, Inver Grove, MN.

What: Mission trip to deliver four lessons on Faith, Peace, Hope, and Love and otherwise speak and help out as the opportunity arose. We delivered the four lessons twice and otherwise lost count of speaking engagements. We also reviewed an orphanage on behalf of Orphan’s Lifeline.

When: April 12 – 23, 2011

Where: Port au Prince, Cap Haitian, and Port de Paix Haiti and the roads and airways between.

The Short Story: On Tuesday we met up in Miami then flew to Port au Prince together, each with 100 pounds of frozen meat for Roberta Edwards’ children’s home (total 300 pounds). In Port we stayed in the new guest house operated by the Estes Church in Henderson TN. There were several very interesting and helpful people there. To tell their stories would take more space than I have here, but I will say that they represent a great deal of wisdom and lasting concern for Haiti that transcends the problems they encounter along the way.

Days 1-5, Wednesday- Sunday, Port au Prince: Early on Matt decided he could be of best use to Roberta helping her with maintenance and repairs at the children’s home. He went with the guys building houses for refugees about three days, then he developed his own list of things that needed doing and Roberta had one for him as well. Roberta left the country on Tuesday of the second week we were there.

Larry Waymire of Caribbean Ministries, Lexington TN, is working with Estes on the Haitian disaster relief effort. He took us to the (Home Depot style) hardware store to pick up supplies and to see a church building and some individual homes the Estes church is funding. Joe Holley, Lexington, AL, is staying long term to help Roberta with driving, repairs and in any other way he can. We went with him to a huge warehouse to pick up two large truck loads of beans and rice and unloaded them at Roberta’s. From there they will be further distributed.

We took Roberta to lunch; drove by “Cananan’s Land,” a very large refugee camp; toured the Santo School; and saw the poorest orphanage I have ever seen. We were at the orphanage courtesy of Harry Hames of Healing Hands International. I will try to raise some funds through Orphan’s Lifeline or elsewhere for the home. There will be a separate report on it.

We had a BBQ dinner one evening courtesy of Charlie and Roberta along with a large medical mission team. Charlie and I delivered our four basic lessons, one each night, for about 300 people. I spoke Sunday morning and we did an extra session of one lesson each for Fedson Gustanville at a little denominational church he is working with. It was followed by a rousing Q&A on baptism.

Days 6-8, Monday - Wednesday, Cap Haitian. Transportation within Haiti was a bit of a nightmare this trip. On our last trip (October 2010), we were able to borrow a vehicle and Brother Fatton travelled with us as tour guide and interpreter. This time we were pretty much on our own. It took two trips to the airport to get tickets to Cap and learn that catching a flight from Cap to Port de Paix was highly unlikely. Roberta said not to worry because Brother Fatton would come after us in Cap to get us to Port de Paix. He had said to me that he would try to get a truck to come get us. He did show up in Cap, but no vehicle. We went to the airport there to try to get airline tickets. No luck. They thought they might have something around four, but by that time it would be too late to get to Port de Paix any other way. In the final analysis, we caught a tap-tap, a small pick-up truck with a lot of people in the back, to ride about four hours over the rough mountain roads to Gonaives where we met Fatton’s cousin for a another long ride to Port de Paix. Along the way we encountered several Rah-Rah parades. Rah-Rah is a voodoo ritual at this time of year. The parades have some interesting music with drums and homemade horns. One of the parades asked for money to let us pass, but Fatton spoke to them and they let us through. All in all, it was the hardest day of the trip.

While we were in Cap we met the new administrators of the Cap Haitian Children’s Home, Hunter and Jillian Kittrell - neat young people with a big new job. We spent one whole afternoon and a long morning with Tabitha who runs a children’s home funded by Orphans’ Lifeline. I was asked by Orphans’ Lifeline to do a thorough update on the home. It was a delightful experience, but a lot of detailed work. Charlie took care of a lot of the detail. I had lunch with them and she sent us off with gifts.

Days 8-10, Wednesday - Friday, Port de Paix. Wednesday night after the grueling rides we went home with Fatton, his wife had prepared a dinner for us. Roberta had warned us that Madame Fatton would treat us like kings. She did indeed. She is a delightful woman and they have a very bright, English speaking, 10 year old daughter. After dinner we went to the church building where I delivered a lesson as a part of an ongoing nightly seminar. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were pretty well wiped out.

The next day, Thursday, we did the four lesson seminar we had done in Port au Prince. That afternoon we toured some mission points in Port de Paix, bought tickets back to Port au Prince, had another dinner with Madame Fatton, and Charlie did a lesson that night. Friday we toured the actual port at Port de Paix at my request. That was fascinating. Then we went to the airport (with an outdoor terminal and a waiting room under a mango tree) to catch our flight back to Port au Prince.

Friday night and Saturday morning we checked out and flew home with a stop in Miami. Our closing meeting was in a food court in the Miami airport with a drink from Starbucks and a pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. A fitting ending to a good trip.


1. Charlie in the tap tap

2. Charlie reviewing his lesson at the hotel in Port de Paix

3. A man unloading a boat at the port in Port de Paix

4.Matt, Kerlange, and the garden Matt Weeded.

5. One of the houses Estes is building for refugees.

6. Rice and beans at the warehouse.

7. Charlie unloading 100 pound bags of beans (I waited for the 55 pound bags of rice).

8. Charlie and the toilet for the little new orphanage Harry Hames showed us.

9. Matt and Magalie.

10. David at the plane to Cap.

11. Tabitha jumping rope with her kids.

12. David preaching at Santo.

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