Following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, TouchGlobal swiftly responded and has continued to send crisis responders to serve in Haiti ever since. We have established a presence and plan on staying here for a long time, so we thought it wise to set up a blog that family, friends, supporters, and teams can check to find first-hand information about life and ministry at the Haitian Queen (the TouchGlobal Crisis Response headquarters in Gressier, Haiti).

This blog will be updated regularly by various team members and staff.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hi guys!  My name is Jon Lahr, and I'm down in Haiti as short-term staff for a total of 18 days.  I was asked to post to the blog so you may see a couple more in the coming week or so.  Some of the details or explanations of people and places may be old news to you all.   

On Monday, May 31st, our day began with Miguel driving Kevin, Jim Esson (he and his wife Karen have been here several times since the earthquake) and myself (Jon Lahr) to the airport in Port-au-Prince in order to catch a flight to Cap Haitien. Cap Haitien is a port about 170 miles above PaP on the northern shoreline of Haiti where EFCA has been getting their large shipments of equipment such as vehicles and generators. We were going there to attempt to drive a vehicle for the ministry that had already previously died in the mountains along the journey from Cap Haitien back to PaP.
Our flight there was great as we flew just above the mountains and landed quickly and safely in Cap Haitien just 25 minutes after take-off. After we landed, we met up with Charles who has become what I like to call EFCA’s guardian angel in Haiti. Charles is a high-ranking Haitian police officer who also happens to be a believer and loves the Lord! (He previously helped protect some of the ministry’s leaders when their truck full of supplies broke down in the middle of PaP.) Charles drove a day or so ahead of us in order to take 3 mechanics from PaP up to Cap in order to fix our truck. One was an older gentleman and the other 2, Junior and Orlando, were both 22.
By late Monday afternoon we finally had the orange truck full of supplies and we were on our way to stay overnight at a local pastor’s house because you’re not supposed to drive in Haiti after dark and we had an 8 hour drive over the mountains ahead of us. The next morning Charles went to pick up the mechanics that had been staying in another house nearby. Kevin, Jim, and I ate breakfast while we waited for them to return. As we were eating, Jim turned and said to me, “We’re about to go over a treacherous mountain with crappy vehicles and crappy roads. You better make peace with your maker!” Then he proceeded to ask Kevin in reference to our journey ahead, “Do we have a BIG hammer because we may need to fix stuff.” Little did I know how true those words would turn out to be.
Charles returned with the mechanics and we drove into the city to pick up a pull-behind generator that had just made it through customs. By mid morning we finally had everything packed and the generator hitched up to the truck. We were on our way! But, as we soon found out, we wouldn’t make it too far.
About 10 miles into our trip across the rugged roads, our transmission died and left a trail of transmission oil over 100 feet long on the road. The pic below shows the trail of transmission oil.
After Kevin stopped the vehicle, we looked underneath to see that the oil was spewing all over the ground. NOT GOOD!! So here we are with 7 guys, down to 1 truck, and no AAA to call in Haiti. There was a period of disbelief and debate over what to do next. We started by unhitching the generator and pushing the orange truck off to the side of the road in order for our mechanics to take a look at it. We needed a new transmission; however, this would take days. As we sat along the road, we tried to count our blessings knowing that no one had gotten hurt and it wasn’t raining at all.

It was decided that we would use the white pick-up truck to tow the orange truck with the generator hitched to it to a church/orphanage/school just down the road. The pic below is our pic of our train of vehicles and generator being towed.
We unloaded all the supplies from the orange truck to the white truck and the remainder was sent back to Cap. Now it is about 4:30 PM and keep in mind it is suggested not to drive after dark in Haiti. With 7 guys who all were anxious to return, it was decided to make the journey home.
So here we are, 7 smelly and sweaty guys packed into a truck meant for 5 people, beginning our 8 hour journey across the mountains in hope of returning by midnight. As we started, I was volunteered to pray for a safe journey home knowing we would need some additional guardian angels to Charles with his police badge and gun.
The road over the 4,000 foot mountains was mostly hair-pin turns with the crappy roads Jim had earlier mentioned. I think there were more potholes than actual road. We would often average 3 or 5 mph on our way up the mountain when we would get behind a tractor trailer who illogically also made the journey. As they went around the hair-pin turns they would blare their horns in hopes of deterring oncoming traffic as they would take up every bit of both lanes and then some.
As we got near the top, a very dense fog rolled in so much so that Jim turned the lights off on the truck making it for an even more interesting ride than it already was. I don’t think I ever prayed so much during an hour journey whether for safety or for my sanity packed in the back of a pick-up truck with 4 guys. It was impossible to move my legs in any direction other than to half stand up in order to get blood flow and feeling back into my legs.
As we got close to PaP, we needed to make a quick stop to stretch and go to the bathroom. However, it wasn’t the safest area according to Charles to pull off to the side of the road. Thankfully, we passed a police station, and Charles was able to get us in there to use their “restrooms”. For the remainder of the journey through the city of PaP, we had the2 young Haitian mechanics sit in bed of the truck with the supplies in order to deter anyone from stealing anything if we came to a stop anywhere.
We dropped off the Haitian mechanics at their homes and Charles, Kevin, Jim, and myself made our way back to The Haitian Queen. As we pulled into the drive way exhausted about 12:30 AM, a sense of relief was felt as well as many answered prayers!!

1 comment:

  1. Jon,
    I love reading stories that let me know what really happened to my husband Jim. I know what it's like driving with him, but he's never had a wreck in our 25 years of marriage....however; Haiti being Haiti I guess anything could happen. Glad you were there praying. Good story.
    Karen Esson