I woke Wednesday February 10, 2010 with my heart in my throat, stomach in my mouth. I had to eat, but couldn't; nothing would stay down and I knew it. Was it the Malarone (anti-malarial drug) making me ill? Yes, I told myself. I was not afraid, for fear is not something I know. In the words of Simba from the Lion King, "I laugh in the face of danger!" Yeah, if only my body would follow my mind.
My partner, M, in crime arrived, right on time for us to head for the airport. Tears filled my eyes as I kissed my sleeping cherubs good-bye. Who knew what I would be when I returned from my first missionary trip? Would they recognize me? More than that, would I recognize myself?
The truck groaned when I started it. The air was cold, but I was sweating. Maybe I shouldn't go...but it was too late. I was committed to one week in Haiti.
The municipal airport was smaller than any other I had ever seen. There were no lines to stand in or TSA officers, only a tarmac and a single luxury jet. The gates swung open and we were able to drive up to the plane for the drop off of our luggage and supplies. As my niece drove my truck away, M and I grinned. There was no turning back now.
After all nine members of the team introduced themselves, it was apparent we were in for a bonding experience like no other. My stomach settled and I was ready to face what ever this adventure had in store for me.
Once on the plane, we were treated like royalty. This was no commercial flight. We were on a donated Gulfstream IV, designed to transport rock stars and company executives. Leather seats, real pillows and comfy blankets were a surreal contrast to the poverty we knew we were flying into.
As I snapped the picture below, I remember thinking that I was flying on a wing and a prayer. Sing along if you know the song:
"Believe it or not,
I'm walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free eee eee.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it's just me."
I had no idea what to expect, but I was thankful for the chance to experience it. Did I have what it takes to survive? Only time could tell, I guess.