By Tim Hillman,
Rising Sun Editor
On Monday, May 11th, Karen Lovern, Jennifer Rowell, Bobbie Hastings and myself took off for Port-de-Paix Haiti to visit Sonlight Academy.
God willing all our travel went well as we flew to Miami then onto Port-au-Prince on Tuesday morning. From there we were to take a small charter plane to the northwest part of the island where we will be until Tuesday, May 19th. Then we’ll go back to Port-au-Prince, spend the night and return late Wednesday, May 21st.
It’s my 16th trip to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Our purpose is to help teachers and staff prepare for graduation on May 17th and for the end of school the following week.
Yes, I guess you can call it a mission trip. However, in no way are we missionaries. Those are the dedicated people who take time away their families for two years, but most have been there many years.
Karen Lovern and Bobbie Hastings have been there. Bobbie serves as our inspirational guide, nurse and mother figure; while Karen will be teaching the ropes to newbie Jennifer Rowell (who will start a six month EMT class when she returns).
Unfortunately my wife Linn can’t go because she used all her vacation time on surgeries and the passing of her mother (Edith Koons).
Also, Charlene Fancher (Karen’s mom) can’t go because of health issues.
While I have been there many times (twice by myself), every trip has its own adventures. We’re supposed to have a charter. It may be a six hour bus ride depending on the rain.
We won’t see much of the capital which was rocked by an earthquake in 2010, at least not until we come out and get our taxi driver to give us a tour.
Sonlight was fortunate not to be affected by the earthquake (physically) but has done a lot of good for those in the community, especially helping students deal with loved ones lost in the quake.
You don’t drink the water, but we fill our bottles with Culligan water every day.
We will be taking in a lot of supplies needed, including: oil filters, toner, and sound equipment for the SonCenter (a multi-purpose building on the ocean built from the same plans of the Rising Sun Church of Christ Family Life Center).
What exactly will we do?
We’ll greet some of the adorable, respectful people with a holy kiss and hug.
We’ll explore their cooking. Norma Alexander, founder of the mission, feeds us well. We will have to diet when we return. You may even see a Facebook photo of us (probably with me eating).
With that said, this is always a humbling experience – seeing people with nothing just want to be recognized for who they are.
There is sewage in the streets along with a few pigs and chickens. There’ll be lots of pictures to take and to deliver from my last trip.
When Pat Lanman asked me to work for his paper, he wanted to know if I wanted to wait until after Haiti. I started the first of April but admit this trip has been my focus. I hope to set up an email you can send ideas to me as I continue to cover Rising Sun and Ohio County, like the past 36 years.
Thanks to all for your support and please say a prayer for our health while we’re gone.
‘God is so Good’ is not just our t-shirt motto – but the hope of us all.