In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008 more sleep

My flight to Haiti was cancelled today, due to high winds, driving rain and the threat of severe flooding.

My heart sank low in my chest when I got wind of the news. I only understood snatches of kreyol: this flight was canceled. All flights today were cancelled. This was a act of nature. And (in English), AA was not responsible; not for the cancellation and not for providing any sort of compensation.

The middle class Haitians, immaculately turned out, were indignant an furious. Those who were less well dressed in the flimsier, untailored garments were quieter. One stout man in a crisp business suit unleashed his fury on one of the company's ground staff, hands gesticulating and jowls shaking with rage. Standing apart from a swarm of travellers, who crowded the check-in desk, an elderly lady in a thin cotton dress and wide-brimmed straw hat dabbed at her eyes. She was lean, dry skin taut over her bony frame. She had a hospital name-band around her wrist. She was alone, but was soon attended to by a Haitian family.

American airlines get a big black mark next to their name for giving passengers the real run-around; despite their promises to arrange discount accommodation and reschedule flights, in the end, this came down to us. My global Sim card failed, and I couldn't get a line on any of the pay phones. As a result, I had to use my home SIM to make all the calls I needed to.....and suffer exorbitant roaming charges. Raaaaah!

Despite being sent on a wild goose chase by several AA/airport employees, though, I have managed to re-schedule my flight for tomorrow morning, and I have booked into a hotel- one that gave me the title "guest of the week", which, entitles me to a room upgrade, a mug and some mini chocolate bars. That was a good end to a bad day.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all the confusion earlier in the day, I lost my visitors visa. Eventually, I found a very nice immigration officer (I was not impressed by the bureaucracy and rude manner I experienced from immigration and customs staff yesterday.) Today's official, though, has reassured me I can still leave the country tomorrow. Thank goodness. Miami just isn't for me.

And I am very keen to move on, and to finally get to Haiti and meet everyone at GLA. Up until now, I had been looking forward to going, but I hadn't really felt excited. I'm glad I'm feeling it now.


Rebekah Hubley said...

Praying for you, and that you make it to GLA safe tomorrow. Maybe you will be riding with Reed and Allison: Luc's parents. I hope to meet you when we bring Jonas down for his permanent visa and passport! Until then, I look forward to reading you blog, and know that you are being prayed for!

BSC said...

I've been checking in to see if you made it to GLA. Sorry the storm delayed you, but I'm glad you have a flight and you're safe.