Finding a Friend at the Airport

Whenever you are expecting a package, all you have to do is wait for the FedEx or UPS man to bring it to your doorstep. Shockingly it does not work the same way in Haiti. They lack the infrastructure for that to happen. Instead you must go to the airport and wait on the plane that is bringing it to arrive. After they unload the plane, then you are able to get your package. Before you can actually take it out of the airport though, you must go through customs and pay a ridiculous price just so you can have your package that was sent to you.

I have gone through this process a few times while I have been in Haiti. None of the packages were for me, but rather for the organizations that I have partnered with down here.

A few days ago, I was waiting at the airport to get mail when I saw a friend who I had not seen in over 6 years. I was not expecting to see him while I was in Haiti this time, and at first we both had the unsure look on our face. The last time we saw each other; I was 15 years old and looked different than I do now. He still looked the same to me, but I do not always trust my memory when identifying people since awkward misidentification are not fun for anyone.

After a few moments of exchanging glances across the airport receiving dock, I made a move by calling out name. “Moses, is that you?” was my choice of words to break the ice. I received a puzzled look back followed by, “Bryan?... You have gotten so big!”

We hugged and then began to catch up on life, family, and driving in Haiti. The last may seem odd, but when we first met, he was working as a driver for one of the organizations I worked with.

He told me all about the school he is running now that has 30 children who are primarily learning English, Science, History, and Music. Music is an art that is very rarely taught in Haitian schools. He seemed very proud about this, so it tended to dominate the conversation.

Once we got past the initial questions that are typical when reconnecting with a long-lost friend, he told me about the people who had come from Port-au-Prince that were now trying to either attend his school or come to the church where he preaches. The needs that he told me about were enormous, but his story is very similar to others I have heard while I have been in Haiti.

Moses began to tell me a story about a man who had moved into his community from Port-au-Prince. He stated, “Some people have had a very difficult time with this earthquake. One man at my church lost his only son in the earthquake. He talked with me about not wanting to live any longer since his son was not around to bring him joy, but he said on a later date that the reason he kept pushing forward was that he had nothing left to lose. All of his hope is in Jesus now. He feels like he has nothing else left on this earth, so all of his effort and faith is in Him. His way to look forward and keep moving on is by knowing that nothing else could be taken from him. It is sad, but it took him losing his son for him to really begin to develop a relationship with Jesus”

Moses told me many stories like this one of people who said there was no reason to give up. They all had a common theme of turning to Jesus for strength in this hard time which was extremely encouraging for me to hear.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK