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.

Monday, 27 April 2009

New York, New York

Well, I made it to my New York hotel room 2 hours ago. Getting here proved to be a real mission.

Just minutes after I checked in at Edinburgh Airport this morning, there was tannoy announcement asking that I to report to the airline's security desk. When I got there, I was told quite categorically that I would not be allowed to fly because I did not have visas to enter either the US or Haiti!

They (security personnel) smiled and told me that while their computer system had told them I was eligible to travel to both countries, they'd had 'nagging doubts' and had done some further investigations. They were adamant, based on (their misinterpretation of) the information they had turned up, that US immigration would not admit me on their visa waiver programme because my return journey (through the US) is more than 90 days away.

I knew that the US and Haiti absolutely would let me in, but the security staff wouldn't hear me. After all this preparation and a few tears, here I was ready to go, and now I was faced with the very real possibility that I might not get to Haiti this week, and maybe not for several weeks. I had quite the battle on my hands. My mind and heart were racing and it took everything I had in me; all my calm assertiveness and persistence, all my intelligence, persuasion, intuition and a sincere prayer to get a breakthrough

Finally, after several calls to US and Haitian embassies I was allowed to board. The head security lady commented that the Haitian Embassy were 'useless' and 'couldn't understand what the problem was.' Uumm, maybe because there wasn't a problem? She was 'not happy' because she should not have had to 'do all of this.' Thankfully, the words that expanded in my mouth at that point, popped before they left my lips and I found it in myself to deliver grace instead of sarcasm.

There were further delays when my carry-on went through the scanner, but I made it to the gate just in time. I am so thankful for that seemingly unexplainable urge to get to the airport early today.

The journey itself was quite rough, but I'm not complaining. I am happy to have made it here, and i'll be happier still, God willing, when I land in Haiti tomorrow.

Emma: I received your message. If you are interested in volunteering at GLA, please contact Jean Bell at the US office. She deals with with all initial inquiries about the volunteer programme and she will probably refer you to someone in Haiti who can answer specific questions about how your skills could be used at the orphanage.


Jaime said...

Praise God you made it to NY... I am so excited for you as you return to Haiti and also for GLA to have your love and skills! I am excited to hear how God will continue to work in and through you. God bless you.

Rebekah Hubley said...

Praise God that you are going back. I was so bummed when I could not meet you before you left, and God willing if we ever get through dispensation, I will be able to bring Jonas back to complete everything. I am so excited for all of the nannies and staff to see how well he is doing!!!!!!! Can't wait to read your posts...they are the best!

Catherine said...

Welcome back to Haïti Susan !!!!! That is sooooo great !
Catherine (Momy to Nadège)