A Not So Simple Ride To The Airport

Posted: May 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

It has been a week of heavy hearts.  One of my younger sisters is in a coma in a Boston hospital after having a heart attack.  Our dear co-worker and long time friend, Agathe, called yesterday morning to say her sister-in-law had been kidnapped leaving a husband and 6 month old baby to grieve and wait by the cell phone for the ransom demand (She was released by the kidnappers late Tuesday evening).  Rain and water continue to plague our neighborhood making the road better for boats than vehicles.  A two minute drive to the maternity center can turn into an hour long water adventure.

I decided to fly to Boston to sit by one sister’s hospital bed and encourage her twin, my other sister.  My family, like most families do in crisis, have gathered together to share news, to pray together, to wait for word.  I wanted to join them.

Ticket in hand, carry-on packed, chores done;  I was ready to go to the airport.  Traveling light is not usually my style but I thought travel would be easier if I brought only a wheel style carry- on and my purse.  Kindle, camera, and lap top were neatly tucked away among the Stateside clothes.  I transformed myself into the Stateside look of t-shirt and jeans.  Ready to go.

Traffic jams are a way of life here and we allow time for them.  As we were leaving for the airport Troy and Tara pulled up saying the road was blocked.  Neighbors had had enough of the river running down our street and they were blocking the road in protest.  They are tired of their clean clothes and shoes being soaked and soiled.  They are tired of roads that are potholed filled lakes.  We often fill our vehicles with people trying to walk through the water.

We started on the other route to the airport.  It was totally blocked with all the vehicles from both roads.  Stand still blocked.  We turned around and headed back home to John’s motorcycle.  Let the comedy begin.

John has big hair.  Really big curly hair.  We are old, we are white and we stuff a giant wheel carry-on between us and my bag on the top of that.  I hold on for dear life.  My t- shirt has a peace symbol – nothing could be more appropriate.  Off we go, through the mud, in between vehicles, around puddles, around , in, and over pot holes.  Hair is whipping in the wind, mud is flying and I’m sure by-standers are laughing.  I’m laughing too, in spite of myself, and I’m hoping I don’t arrive at the airport covered in mud, and wet on my bottom.

Lessons learned from living in Haiti a long time.  You degaje!  You wing it, you do what you have to do to make something happen.  If you look ridiculous doing it, all the better.  I’m suddenly thankful for John’s motorcycle.  We have a deal – if the mastiffs sleep in the house (on the floor on either side of our bed) the motorcycle sleeps in the house.  After two stolen motorcycles we came to agreement on that one.

Even in grief and hardship humor can come and soften the blow.  As I spend this next week in vigil next to my silent sister, between praying, reading Scripture, visiting with family I’ll smile at the remembrance of two old hippies traveling on a motorbike with luggage piled high attempting to get to the airport on time.

Join us in prayer for my sister Kathleen to recover, join us in prayer for Manousha to be returned safely to her family.  And if you’re late for a flight in Port-au-Prince you can always call John’s moto-taxi.  He rocks the road!


  1. Love you John and Beth. You bring a smile to my heart. Praying for you and your family. Thanks for being obedient to God’s call in your lives. You inspire me! Less than a month till I get to see you both! Big curly hair and all!!

  2. Shari R says:

    Thank you for the smile, Beth! 🙂 Praying with you all for your sister’s recovery. Tara shared earlier that Manousha has been released. I hope to one day visit you in Haiti, but if not on this earth, we will celebrate in our eternal home. May God continue to bless you and keep you.

  3. Carla says:

    Wow. Another heart wrenching post. Glad you can still find humour among all the challenges. I enjoy reading your blog. I have you on my list on the side of my own blog. Blessings on you and yours, and yes I will pray.

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