January 4, 2018
Beep, beep, beep . . . . ! This was my rude awakening about midnight on Thursday, January 4th. My daughter, Elizabeth, had forgotten to turn off the timer when she heated up her late night dinner in the oven. I laid there for a while hoping she would turn it off, but she didn’t, so I got up. My mind was already racing and it was impossible to go back to sleep. I am so excited, nervous and asking myself – What do I have to offer on this mission trip to Haiti?
John, my husband, dropped me off at the airport on his way to work and my flight to Ft. Lauderdale is scheduled for 9am. The Mobile airport was fairly empty since it was so early in the morning. Unfortunately, TSA decided to take my razor and my large tube of hand lotion I forgotten was in my purse. Needless to say I am going to have hairy dry legs in Haiti!
I am not an experienced solo traveler, so I was a bit nervous. I was especially nervous since I knew I would only have 45 minutes to changes planes in Atlanta, but to my surprise it arrived 30 minutes early. I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and caught the shuttle to the hotel. I waited in the hotel lobby until the rest of the team arrived.
I finally got to meet Frankie (Dr. J) in the person. I have been corresponding with her for about a year. She started out as my instructor for Educational Research and during a group project we interviewed her regarding her experience working with poverty in Haiti. I was very impressed with the way she conducted her class. She was genuine and very approachable. After I finished her class in the Spring 2017 I asked if she would be interested in having an intern. She was and we put together a proposal, the proposal was approved and here we are!
My teammates are Dr. Frankie Bratton-Jeffery (our team leader and my internship supervisor), Dr. Steve Boger (he’s a retired dentist that will be doing dental well-check exams), Joan Boger (wife of Dr. Boger, former teacher and will be assisting her husband with the wellness exams), and Linda Craig (former teacher and will be teaching the Women in Action group to knit as well as the cook Joselle how to make hummus). My role will be to assist with two teacher trainings regarding flashcards (one in NLB and one in Batoti).
That first night I met my teammates in Ft. Lauderdale was very busy and fun. Dr. Steve stayed at the hotel while the ladies and myself went out to eat and finished up some shopping for the trip. All of the ladies were so nice and easy to get to know. We went to KMart in search of seeds to take back to with us for Pastor Agones and his garden. We found seeds in the very back corner of KMart. The seeds were expired and Joan talked the manager who agreed to sell us the seeds for 1/2 price. We bought $250 worth of seeds for $125. Great deal!
We made it back to the hotel by 11pm after our dinner, shopping, returning the rental car and catching the shuttle back to the hotel. It was a busy and productive night. We had to be up by 3am to catch the 4am shuttle to the airport. Not much sleep for the 2nd night in a row!
Note to self: when flying with a CPAP machine don’t bury it in your carry on baggage! TSA makes you remove it during their inspections. Evidently, when they ask if you have any electronic devices they typically mention laptops, tablet computers, cameras, etc, but no mention of a CPAP machine. It took me multiple times of going through TSA and being stopped again and again before I realized the CPAP was an electronic device! Really!
Second note to self: Purchase a small rolling suitcase to use as a carry on. Most airports have you walk a long way to meet your next plane. My 30 pound backpack and purse got ridiculously heavy and burdensome.