Tuesday 31 December 2013

last days of prep

I have seven days before I leave the UK, bound for Haiti.  It's my fourth trip so I know what to expect, in-so-far as I know what's there, and what they lack.  But I have a healthy respect for the unknown.  And there are quite a few unknowns in the Strange and the darkness.  And I'm not just thinking about the unknown practicalities of where we'll stay and what we'll do and how we'll live on a limited spend.  We don't know these, and much more significantly, we don't really know what challenges really await us.  The journey has been a few years in the making.  Of course the real journey starts as we embark or, even, disembark the aircraft in the safety of a golf resort at the wrong end of Hispaniola. For roughly two years the idea has taken shape to send a container of stuff - things so freely available to us - that would help those that have so little in Haiti. Laptops, mobile phones, shoes, beds and bedding, school furniture and equipment, bikes, play equipment all carefully stashed into a 20ft container sailing for Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Of course, if only it were that simple!  And, what a steep learning curve its all been.  We've all learned so much.  And the knowledge acquired provides great hindsight . .

Many have been involved - but most of the work was done by just a few.  Many contributed from Guildford and the surrounding areas - mainly people from the Guildford Catholic parishes of St Pius, St Mary's and St Joseph's.  Cash and goods were given so generously.

Two of us from Guildford will travel to Haiti to help distribute the goods arriving in the container.  Shipping delays and the necessity to book flights and fix travel plans have meant our visit will only just coincide with the arrival of the container.  The port in Haiti is notorious for long delays and we have been warned that a container can be held for up to a year incurring heavy charges for storage.

We hope we are there when it arrives.  And that it gets through swiftly. If not, there will still be plenty to do.  We hope!  I am now realising the uncertainty is at the heart of this project. And perhaps it gives God a chance to work in this small endeavour - as someone so wisely once said, God is in charge!  So whilst we do what we can now - there must be surprises that await us and I really hope we can maximise our time there.  And I am not being falsely modest when I say, we have precious little to offer . . but the little we have, we can only trust, will be enough.

We fly from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic on the 8th of January 2014.  Then by bus - two buses, in fact - to the border and across into Haiti.