Monday, June 19, 2017

Day 1: Safe Arrival in Haiti!!

Hey friends and family! My name is Max Nelson, I will be a junior next year at Eden Prairie High School, and this is my second trip to Haiti! For those of you who are new to the party, this is a blog that you all will be able to follow to keep up with our day to day activities while we are down here in Haiti. It was a very VERY early morning for us. Getting up at 2:30 to be at the airport by 4:00am is not the easiest thing in the world, but we powered through. Everyone made it to the airport excited and ready to go for our 6:00am flight to Miami. (Warning: There will be plenty of pointless details in the blog J) Most of the team grabbed McDonald’s at the gate, I myself got a hash brown and a sausage egg McMuffin. The 3 hour flight went by fast, most of us caught up on sleep but I was fortunate enough to make a new friend! I didn’t talk to Yen for the first half of the flight but when I asked if she was going to Miami to visit family, and she responded with “No ingles,” I knew I was in for some fun. Me and my new friend Gramma Yen, or “abuelita” had a nice long conversation about her life. She had been in Minneapolis visiting family and she was returning home to Peru. She lives in the jungle, or “la selva” with her husband in a small town in eastern Peru that is actually in the Amazon Rainforest. Juju and Ryan also had a similar experience later in the day when they had a conversation in Spanish with some of the neighbor boys while we were playing soccer. It was super cool to be able to break the language barrier in some very unexpected ways. After landing in Miami and we parted ways with Yen, we grabbed some more food and headed for the gate to take us into Port Au Prince. The short 80-minute flight quickly turned into two hours when we were put into a holding pattern over the water to wait for a parking spot. This was a very unusual experience since PAP is such a small and relatively not busy airport. Thankfully, we got on the ground safely before we had to divert to the Dominican for fuel. Customs was a breeze and we all got our luggage and stepped out into the country size sauna that the rest of the world calls Haiti. With the “feels like” being around 101 degrees and there being little to no breeze, we were all sweating immediately. The man, the myth, the legend, Mister Jeff Gerst then brought up the idea of “Nasalstalgia.” This was the instant realization that we were back in Haiti with the wonderful smells that it has to offer. Our team brought us back to the compound and we had a brief (re)introduction to our home for the next week. There were two new baby puppies born and they are now three weeks old. S’cute! We then had some great Shepards pie for dinner and got geared up for some soccer with the neighborhood boys. When we walked over to the empty lot that they are using as a field, there were close to seventy boys all standing around watching a 3v3 soccer tournament that the boys had set up. After the last game had finished, all us young people had to have our shot at it. At the end of the game, the Americans brought it back to tie the Haitians 4 to 4. (Standby for tomorrow’s rematch score.) The team then all came back to the compound for circle time and to reflect on today’s very busy day. Tomorrow we will be heading to a special needs orphanage and the home for sick and dying children. As of writing this, the team has been awake for 18 hours and we are still going strong. Stop by tomorrow for the day two recap and the highlights from round two of the Haitian vs USA soccer extravaganza.

Glwa pou bondye,

Max Nelson