April 10th, leave San Francisco on the red eye to Miami, catch the 7:00 flight to Haiti and arrive at 8:05 local time (or six a.m. San Francisco time). After flying all night our trip starts. We ride from Port au Prince with our L'Azile agronomist who will take us first to Aquin where we will pick up our translator, Pierre, a charming teenager I met last summer, and we will drive on to L'Azile. I have been told that the potholes on the L'Azile road have been filled, and what used to take an hour now only takes ten minutes... we'll see.
In L'Azile we will visit our jatropha nursery, check on the sustainable kitchen garden planted by the Global Call to Youth, and the computer center that was set up with equipment from Tech Assist Haiti. We will take Pierre home and continue to Les Cayes where we will stay with our old friends from ESMI, the St. Germain family. We will sleep well!
The next day my companions will meet with Haitian Pastors. In my advocacy role I facilitate introductions between groups that want to help in Haiti, like The Leadership Connection, and Haitian groups that need suppport. They will have meetings and discuss their projects, and I'm hoping to see some of the kids I haven't seen for a while at the Cambry orphanage.
On Wednesday we travel to Petit Goave to distribute jatropha seedlings. I am very excited to see the progress of this group, and honored to be present at their first distribution. We will be joined by two American Pastors involved with the TLC project and a medical doctor who brings groups to Haiti. I'm excited to connect this group with the Mission of Hope, who regularly hosts medical and missions teams.
We will spend the night at Mission of Hope's beachfront compound in Grand Goave. I'm hoping to see Hal, and bring him some Oreos! I will sleep under the choukoun (a grass covered patio) and listen to the ocean. If you wake before the sun rises (which is easy because of the roosters) you see the fishing boats out on the water, each with a small fire burning in it creating bright dots in the distance.
On Thursday TLC will meet with Pastors, and I will have discussions with the Lex and Renee Edme about the upcoming deployment of the IEEE/Sirona Haiti Rural Electricity Program. That equipment is in New York where IEEE members are improving the home battery kits to ensure longer use between re-charges. As always I'm looking forward to seeing old friends, and making new ones.
Early Friday, April 15th, we head back to the airport. It's best to get into Port au Prince early, before the traffic, and our flight leaves at 9:10 for Miami. (Hoping we won't have a fender-bender on the way to the airport this time!) If all goes as planned we will arrive home at 7:20 p.m. (or about 12 hours later).
After every trip I'm always thankful first for my family, and then for electricity, clean water, hot water... things we take for granted. I get home tired, but there's something about Haiti that restores me. I will have the deployment trip to look forward to, and lots of work to do for it's preparation in between trips.