Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Dominican Rebublic - A Welcome of a Lifetime

As we walked onto the aircraft, we began seeing familiar faces that we had seen the day before at the embassy and it was like we were united with old friends. I remember one group had told me their story of how they had just arrived at the guesthouse they were staying at, and decided to go swimming. One young lady had forgotten her towel and ran in to get it when the earthquake started; the guesthouse came crashing down and she never came out. The young coastguard lady started handing out MRE's and Brandon and Bailee could not eat it fast enough. I was so exhausted that I couldn't even think about eating it. Landing in the DR was a sight for sore eyes. We were greeted by a dignified man in a 3 piece suit, telling us how happy he was to see us and how sorry for any losses we may have had. I couldn't help but think that even though it was the right choice to evacuate, I didn't want to be where I had just landed. It just didn't seem right to leave all those precious people in such a devastating state. We entered a Dominican army hanger and were bombarded with people willing to help us in any way possible. There were phones for calling family, food and drinks, clothes, and hygiene products. There were stations set up for paperwork and greivance counsellors. As soon as we were done filling out all of the required forms, we headed to a chartered bus which took us to a hotel and in the hotel was a room set up for travel agents to book our flights to our final destination. On the ride to the motel, I was amazed to look around and realize that I was on the same exact island. I had never been to the DR before now and was shocked at the differences I was seeing. Highways and overpasses, malls, and even an IKEA! But all the while, my mind was still wondering about the millions of people we had left in our home, HAITI. We were greeted by familiar faces at the motel. Missionary Josh Wesson andBrandon's brother and sister-in-law, Ben and Samantha Jordan (who was on their survey trip at the time). What a joy and comfort to see familiar faces. We booked our flight for that Saturday and headed to get some food. We then made our way to missionary Stu and Donna Scheper's home where we stayed until our departure.