The Road to Port-de-Paix

Port-de-Paix is about a 6 or 7 hour road trip from Port-au-Prince, or a one-hour flight on a prop plane. I've been blessed to experience Haiti from both the sky and the bumpy road, and while the plane ride is a much quicker trip, the road trips have been my most treasured experiences. When you take the road to Port-de-Paix, you're able to actually see, up close, the country's landscape and people, both of which, are beautiful. You see towering mountains, turquoise ocean water, lush banana trees, and sparse pastures.

You see women walking the streets with baskets on their heads, kids playing soccer in vacant lots, people shopping at the roadside markets, teenage couples walking home from school, men whizzing by on motorcycle taxis, and cows grazing in the fields.

You pass through cities, small villages and countrysides. You travel on paved roads, rocky dirt roads, and through rivers. At one moment, you're stuck in a traffic jam, and the next, you're going 50 mpg on a dirt mountain road (with no guardrails) while the driver is honking and passing cars in every possible direction.

I added this YouTube video, because I think it captures a lot of what I mentioned. I hope in viewing it, you'll see this beautiful country in a new way.

Where I Was Meant To Be


Saturday, October 10, 2012. My life changed that day. It was the day my husband and I saw Haiti for the first time on a short-term mission trip with our church. We flew from Miami to Port-au-Prince, which is about a 2 hour flight. As we started our decent, Port-au-Prince came into full view. In a mix of anticipation and apprehension I started to think to myself, "What have we gotten ourselves into?"

The airport was chaotic. It was only two years after the massive earthquake so it was under construction. We met Larry Owen for the first time, and he waited with us for what seemed like eternity (I think it was closer to 5 hours) for our flight to Port-de-Paix on Tortuga Air. It felt like 100 degrees in the airport. There were a few fans, but no air conditioning.

The plane ride was kind of scary, but I was convinced we wouldn't crash because I believed I was supposed to be in Haiti.

We landed on the Port-de-Paix runway about an hour later. The runway is actually just a wide gravel road that functions as a regular road when planes aren't landing or taking off. It was a surprisingly smooth landing.

Once we landed, we made our way to Larry's little white pickup truck. As we walked,  we were bombarded with kids who seemed genuinely happy to see us. I didn't know who these kids were at first, but later learned they were the Waves of Mercy church kids.

We loaded into the back of the truck and headed to Larry and Diana's home a few miles away. That truck ride was like nothing I had ever experienced. All I remember were cars and motorcycles driving in every which direction and lots of horns honking. I later learned that drivers honk to signal passing.

It was a whirlwind ride. I wish I could remember more about it, but it was such an overwhelming experience that my mind really couldn't process it.

When we reached their home, Diana had silent night playing on a CD player. In the midst of what seemed like chaos all around me, this song calmed my soul, and I knew this is where I was meant to be. I wasn't sure why, but I would soon find out.

The photo above is a group picture in front of the Waves of Mercy church in Port-de-Paix.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]