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  • Tom Stein

April Trip, Day One

Step one complete. Roughest ride I've ever had. Three hours of terrible turbulence. Got lifted out of my seat at least times and that's no easy feat. Neck is sore, back is sore, head is sore and we are exhausted. 4:41 am Portland time and we are boarding our next flight. Port au Prince at 12:18 if all goes well.


We made it. A quick walk through the airport, paid our entry fee, and our bags were waiting once we cleared customs. Our ride was also waiting, so we were at Matthew 25 about 15 minutes after our scheduled arrival. We were 30 minutes early on arrival, and because of the recent unrest there has been a drop in groups entering the country. Eileen and I have M25 to ourselves tonight. Two groups arriving tomorrow but we will be in Hinche the next couple of nights.

It is 90°, but okay in the shade of the front porch with the fan blowing on us. The cold shower I was expecting wasn't quite as refreshing since it has been sunny all day. The sun heats the water tanks and tubes of the roof. The water is not warm or even tepid, just not cold. I have already soaked through a couple of shirts. Eileen keeps saying it is time for a new wardrobe for down here. That must mean newer old clothes. We will be donating more than I thought. Anaxe came by and picked up his laptop and a couple phones we hope will be able to be used here. We also meet Verly and Natacha's cousin, and distributed the big bag full of shoes and smaller parcels for family members. All done with that and we are now awaiting our pickup and ride to Cite Soleil and a tour of Daniel Tilias' project. Then an evening meeting with Msgr Pierre Andre Pierre.

Yes George, that is three meetings in less than half a day. Pushing the body a bit. 400 miles driving to Yakima and back and then 18 hours of travel to get here. I think we will sleep well tonight. Eileen is holding up like a trooper, or hiding it real well.


The sun fades into darkness and thunder peaks around us. It is a pleasant ending after a long day. Still waiting for that elusive third meeting of the day. Eileen is exhausted. She fell asleep quickly upon our arrival back from Sakala. Sakala is an organization started by a group of three graduates from Louverture Cleary School, where I was honored to serve as president for a short time, too short a time.

Daniel Tillias is the leader of the pack and a true dreamer. He obtained an old fallen down factory and turned it into a sanctuary for children 6 to 21. Sakala offers sports, games,, a library, tutoring, a computer lab with classes, an herb garden, a community vegetable garden, a recycling project, and serve one meal day. It's a very important meal for the 200+ children that are come in each day.

One day, Daniel hope's to find a way to clean the polluted river that runs by the property. I've seen this many times, but never knew it was ten feet deep. There's so much garbage floating by that the chickens and pigs actually walk on it. I didn't risk it. We have decided to continue our conversation aiming toward a partnership. Three hours well spent.

More to come, but maybe not that third meeting of the day. Sitting on the rooftop enjoying the breeze and a nice cold glass of water, cool, clean ,water.

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