8.17.2009

Guest Post: Stacey Rippy "I'm going to Haiti." someone replies "You're going to Hades?...Why?"...

(this is a pic of one of the walls in a Voodoo witch doctor's house that some toured while in Haiti)
Most Haitians practice a combination of Catholicism and Voodoo
It has been said that Haiti was dedicated to satan in 1791 and rededicated in 1991 to the same.
Regardless it was my observance that God still owns it...
He owns everything and satan will meet his sure end.



I've never been asked to guest blog before, this is a first for me and I want to first thank Shannon for inviting me.....Thanks Shannon! Ok...this is what I experienced in Haiti...

I am not what I would consider a very daring, adventurous person. I'm not usually a risk taker either. I like to keep my life within arms reach and not get too far outside of my own comfort level when it comes to my adventurous side. So, this trip for me was a new experience for sure. When I found out there was an opportunity for me to go on a mission trip through my church, my initial reaction was, sign me up. Then I thought about it. I quickly changed my own mind and decided I would stay in the good ole USA and pray for the ones who were going. I felt completely at peace with my decision.
A few weeks later,while dining with some ladies from several churches in North and South Carolina at the Pastor's Wives and Women Minister's retreat, God told me I had to go. Now let me tell you I was not happy about this AT ALL and He said "write a check for your deposit to hold your spot". I wish I could say I'm one of those obedient children who jump when their father speaks. On the contrary I like to argue my case and so I did...at the dinner table. He won the arguement and I, with shaking hands, wrote out my check for $100.00 to secure my spot along with the 36 other people who ended up going to Haiti with me.
Needless to saw I made it out alive and lived to tell about my experience there. It was more traumatic for me than it had to be. I along with others who were going took precautionary measures to prevent Malaria by taking medications.The medication I happened to have prescribed to me was Mefloquin. My Pastor's wife started it a week before I did and had a very bad reaction from it and had to switch medications. I should have switched but didn't and the side effect I experienced from it was Paranoid Schizophrenia. It was listed as one of the many abnormal side effects this drug is known for. I didn't realize until the end of my trip that I was experiencing symptoms from the drug reaction. Instead I lived a delusion for the last half of my time in Haiti and thought I would never make it out of there alive. I even wondered why God would send me there to be hacked to death by a machete....or stabbed in the back of the neck by some voodoo practicing Haitian who didn't want me there.
My Delusions started the first night I was there. When it was time for bed I found myself scared to go to sleep. Every time I would close my eyes I would see distorted and scary Haitian faces flash before my eyes and I would immediately open them back up. I think the first two nights I slept a total of 2 hours tops. During the day I was fine and did everything I needed to as far a service goes to be an effective missionary on my trip. Nights were scary in Haiti. The second night we were there we took a walk (on the compound grounds that was fenced in) and during the middle of the adventure, the Missionary that lives there pointed out to us that all along the path we were walking on were giant tarantula holes with tarantulas either in them or close by. I saw 4 that night. I hate spiders....especially big blackish grey furry ones that could cover my entire face! The guy told us it's best to sleep with the beds away from the walls (this did not help me sleep I tell ya!).
Several Haitians worked on the compound where we were staying. Some were in charge of driving the vehicles, others were in charge of security, still others were translators/teachers and all of them worked together doing things around the compound to keep things going the way they needed to. I was convinced by the end of the week that three of the translators were planning to take over the compound and kill us all. Then I found out that Amber the resident missionary's wife (they are both missionaries) had a death in her family and so they had to fly out unexpectedly for the funneral a day before we were scheduled to leave. I felt sure that this would be the perfect opportunity for the Haitian take over and one night as I was going up to the main house I saw one of the Haitians sharpening his machete and it invoked an anxiety attack.
Our last night there we had dinner at a resort and had to ride back to the compound after dark. A lot of the Haitians are afraid of the dark and with good reason. It's a scary place. Traveling in the daytime is scary enough in Haiti. There are no traffic laws and when you have 6 people in the back of a pick up truck driving at speeds unknown but fast, playing chicken with oncoming vehicles of every size to see who owns the road, it terrifies you. Doing that at night with machete holding Haitians walking the streets makes you put your head between your legs and say with eyes squitched shut "there's no place like home" over and over again with tears streaming down your face. Then you realize with your head in that position your neck is an open target for a knife in the back. (Can someone say paranoia?) When we got to the village that night we were riding through and people were shouting things at us in Creole that we couldn't understand and they were hitting the sides of the trucks. The interpreter that rode with us at one point while we were slowing down in an area to keep from hitting people in the road was screaming at the driver "Don't Stop! Keep Going!" I was never so happy to hear the sound of the iron gate shut behind us and lock as we entered the compound that night.
I know this is probably not the perspective of a mission trip that most would expect to hear. I'm just being real about some of what I experienced while I was there. I decided once I got home to quit taking the Malaria preventative and just pray that the one mosquito that bit me in Haiti wasn't infected with the parasite that causes Malaria.
Other than my state of mind in Haiti I got a lot out of the trip. I blogged daily of the things I experienced beyond my delusions at staceyrippy.blogspot.com if you're interrested. Thanks for letting me share...and if you plan to go on a mission trip where your are required to take Malaria medication, opt for the ones with less mind altering effects like Chloroquine or Doxycycline.
Now that my head is clearing up, I do not think the interpreters were planning a take over. They were all very nice guys and I hate that my fears kept me away from them more than near them. God Bless them all at Childrens Lifeline International in La Digue,Haiti! I will especially miss my friend Renel who in my last few minutes on the compound presented me with a small picture of himself with his hand over his heart. He wrote his name on the back of it and though I didn't understand him because of translation, He was telling me not to forget him and his music will forever play in my mind.

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