Mission Trip Haiti: Business as Usual, Almost — Part 2

Everyone was shocked; I hadn’t even once considered that the epicenter could be Port-au-Prince.

My first reaction was untempered, “Let’s go! People need our help!” However, Bruce kindly and patiently explained our position: a group of white people, with no experience in disaster recovery, who can’t speak French or Creole, and don’t have place to stay, food to eat, or water to drink. Of course, Bruce was right; we would have been more of burden than anything. I guess that’s the kind of insight one gets after working in Haiti for twenty-five years.

Life continued, more or less, as normal. Bruce was working overtime trying to coordinate relief efforts with his organization, CrossWorld, and we did what we could for the people of Port-au-Prince from where we were by praying. The only real impact to us was that our days were a bit shorter since Bruce had so much going on.

18.0 mm || 1/250 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

70.0 mm || 1/320 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

38.0 mm || 1/400 || f/4.2 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

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Mission Trip Haiti: In Words and Photos – Part 1

Editors Note: Sorry it has taken so long to get this post up. The last several weeks have been hectic, at best.

I wrote this as a stand alone blog post for a variety of reasons. One of which is that I was asked by my college newspaper, The Oredigger, to write guest column – which I was more than happy to do. The original plan was to take a blog post and then repurpose it for the newspaper. As it turned out, I did it the other way around.

Below is an expanded version of what I wrote for The Oredigger.

For those who aren’t majoring in History, here’s the quick introduction to Haiti, courtesy of the CIA World Factbook:

In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti’s nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L’ouverture. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. The poorest country [and also perceived as the most corrupt] in the Western Hemisphere , Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.

My involvement with Haiti is a rather curious one. Last spring, I was looking for a summer mission trip that would be able to use to my skills as an engineer. Although I pursued several different avenues, I didn’t find anything that struck a chord with me. Excuses will always be prevalent, especially in today’s society. Through an interesting set of short conversations with a variety of people over the fall, I decided that it’s high time I let my “religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” (G. K. Chesterton)

So there it was.

18.0 mm || 1/40 || f/3.5 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
Tacoma International Airport, Washington, United States

I left for Haiti on January 8th. It was an arduous journey to get there (or so I thought), leaving in the early morning from Seattle, flying to Chicago, and then to Miami. Miami only offered a short reprieve (I think we spent more time trying to get to our hotel rooms than we did in them) before we had to be back at Miami’s International Airport to catch our flight to Haiti.

18.0 mm || 1/40 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Miami International Airport, Florida, United States

18.0 mm || 1/100 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Miami International Airport, Florida, United States

18.0 mm || 1/40 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Miami International Airport, Florida, United States

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Hearing the Sumatra-Andaman Quake

Wow. I listened to the audio file [mp3] and it is really errie.


Sound from last December’s huge tsunami-causing earthquake was picked up by underwater microphones designed to listen for nuclear explosions.

Scientists this week released an audio file of the frighteningly long-lasting cracks and splits along the Sumatra-Andaman Fault in the Indian Ocean.

The spine-tingling hiss and rumble is an eerie reminder of the devastation and death that is still being tallied in the largest natural disaster in modern times.