BELOW ARE A FEW POSTS FROM FACEBOOK – INCLUDING ONE FROM TODAY!
I really appreciate all of the emails, texts, and messages – SO MANY people wanting to make sure we made it home safely. I had started a post shortly after we arrived, but I now realize that the update never loaded.
We DID have a smooth day of travel from PAP to the Mole. All of the kids met us at the airstrip!
For the past 11 years or so, we’ve only had a fence around the front & sides of the property. The back of our compound had a “literal” hedge of protection, which consisted of brush & cactus. During our recent battles with a particular voodoo group – they burned all of the brush behind our property – leaving our back area COMPLETELY exposed.
Thankfully, a “surprise” donation was made last year – making it possible for us to continue the concrete block/chain-link fence all along the back. So, for the first time since moving here, our campus is now fully enclosed. Talk about God’s timing! As the politics in Haiti have gone to the extreme – that back fence has provided a sense of security.
Though our village doesn’t really participate in the riots – there has been an increase in activity all along the back of our property. We’ve added extra security at night – providing coffee, more tactical equipment, another gun, & walk-talkies.
It’s SO SURREAL to have a meeting with the guards about how “intruders” will be handled should they want access to my home. If you’ve seen my previous post about “Teaching my Teenager, Malaya, Self-Defense” – you can imagine all the gadgets I have stashed all over the place! Though no worries, my gun is secured in a lockbox.
The biggest issue our village is facing is the lack of supplies. Diesel/Gas are an issue no matter where you live in the country. We only have power a few hours a day. Because our internet signal is tied to the town’s power – that means most of the day we cannot communicate with the states or anybody else in town for that matter.
Since the roads are blocked in the main cities… there are no trucks of rice, beans, or food making their way here. Whatever trucks are able to sneak through the barriers are bare by the time they make it to us. We’re the last stop on anybody’s route….so it’s slim pickings.
We were blessed this past weekend – as we were able to have our staff buy some food in PAP. MAF will be bringing it up this week when they pick-up other travelers. This is basically the only way we are able to find what we need…. buying in PAP and flying it here.
Please continue to keep our family, our community, and all of Haiti in your prayers. Though there are days I feel so helpless… I am not hopeless. My faith in Christ & His Sovereignty over our situation has not waivered. He is a God of miracles…and I’m just anxiously awaiting to see what HE does next.
Much Love – The Castillo Clan
We FINALLY made it to Haiti after a VERY eventful journey. SERIOUSLY
It started off like a normal trip. We decided not to sleep Monday night, since we were leaving at 2:30am to drive from Versailles to the Louisville Airport.
We checked 10 bags and 3 carryons with no issues. We had a direct flight from Louisville to Miami. It was actually a great flight. The flight attendant talked to us for 30 minutes. As we stepped off the plane, he gave us a bag full of snacks & 8 cartons of milk!
We arrived in Miami at 9am. We made it to the gate just in time for them to tell us that the flight was cancelled due to civil unrest. It was their only flight of the day.
At first, they said there’s only 3 seats for the next day & we’d need to claim our bags. Ugh!
Thankfully, there was another amazing agent whose supervisor secured us 2 more seats & agreed to keep our luggage!
Of course, we “checked” the carryon that had our clothes in it. So we spent 2 days wearing the same outfits.
THE BIGGEST DRAMA ACTUALLY UNFOLDED ON THE PLANE TODAY!
About 25 minutes before landing, the flight attendants asked if there were any doctors or medical personnel onboard. There weren’t. So I went forward on the plane. An elderly man traveling with his daughter was slumped over in his seat.
We laid him in the aisle, and the flight attendant handed me their emergency kit & AED machine. A very STRONG man volunteered to do chest compressions while I hooked up the AED machine.
I kept checking his vital signs in-between compressions. I saw that his pupils were fixed and sadly there were “no vitals” to actually report. The man who was doing compressions was determined to keep going until we got to the gate. So we worked on him together, though there were no shocks administered from the AED machine (since there was no pulse to shock).
The flight attendants were completely overwhelmed. Though they “knew” the procedures – they had never had someone die on their flight before. They just kept looking to me for all the decisions to be made.
We were still standing in the aisle when the plane landed. Another passenger was friends with the ambulance company – and she called them while we were at the gate.
She passed me the phone so I could explain what happened. I also filled out all the necessary reports once we arrived.
When we pulled into the gate, everyone remained seated so that the airport’s “paramedics” (CAN) could immediately board. Except they had NO CLUE what to do either.
The two YOUNG “paramedics” stood at the doorway for at least 5 minutes – waiting for a supervisor’s call to authorize them to board. Had I not already pronounced him, he would have likely died just waiting for help.
Even when they boarded the plane, they just anxiously looked at me – waiting for guidance. I had to walk them through doing vitals again and told them to go get a stretcher.
It was at least 20 minutes from the time we pulled into the gate and when the stretcher arrived.
The man doing compressions and myself were the ones who actually CARRIED him off the plane. I kept asking for the paramedics to help – as I have a bad shoulder/hand. But everyone just stood there frozen.
Most of the people around us were older and frail. Jose & the kids were in the back of the plane; we were just 2 rows from first class.
There was NO WAY to get the stretcher around the corner of the gallery with the man laying flat. I had backed up all the way into the cockpit and we still couldn’t make the turn.
The strong man ended up holding the stretcher upright – as though the man was gonna stand – so that we could get him around the corner. The jet bridge was FULL of employees just standing.
Thankfully, one of the men took my end of the stretcher and they carried him down the flight of steps to the ambulance.
During the flight, I consoled his daughter – who looked to be my age. Though her father was an older gentleman, she had no reservations about his health. This was a COMPLETE shock to her. She said that he had a snack on the plane and was talking to her like normal. He wasn’t on any medications but he did just recover from pneumonia a week earlier.
She thought he was taking a nap when he first leaned forward. When she tried to shake him, he wouldn’t wake up. That’s when she got the stewardess.
I have NO doubt that we were meant to miss our scheduled flight, so that I could be there for this unexpected crisis. The flight attendants hugged me and thanked me – as did the pilots. All of us were in tears. They told me that they REALLY appreciated how calm & collected I was through the whole process.
While we were in baggage claim, numerous people came up and hugged me. They said they were praying for me the whole time – AND also praying that God would bless our family & guide us safely home.
I’m still processing this day and how quickly someone’s world can change forever. My heart went out to the daughter, as I imagined what it would be like to board the plane with my dad – joking around – only for him to die sitting next to me. It was just so terribly sad.
We appreciate your prayers for our safe return. Please keep them coming as we continue our travels home tomorrow. Due to the unrest, the MAF pilots were unable to fly yesterday, as the roadblocks kept them from driving to work. They flew today. However – they are actually with us at the hotel because it wasn’t safe enough to drive back home.
Lord. Have. Mercy.
We will be heading back home in the near future. (For safety reasons, we can’t give specifics.)
There’s A LOT to do and we’re genuinely excited to re-establish our routines! Our suitcases are full of supplies for our new Children’s Church theme, as well as tons of play-therapy supplies for the campus kids.
However-this will be the first time in 17 years – where I’ll be in Haiti and Malaya won’t. She’s been there without me – but I’ve never been there without her.
The crates are all packed, but the docks in PDP are currently closed due to politics. Once things settle down, we have arranged for them to be picked up in KY and driven to Miami.
Anytime we travel, there’s usually drama with luggage, flights, weather, etc.
Please pray for a SAFE, SMOOTH, & UNEVENTFUL journey back home. Haiti has many planned demonstrations and manifestations happening this month. School openings have already been postponed until November.
We are well aware of the escalating battlefield we’ve been called to serve at – both spiritually and politically. Thankfully we serve in the Lord’s army and we know how the war ultimately ends.