Friday, April 13, 2007

Traveling to Haiti: Port-au-Prince Airport

Above picture is BirthMom-Vilcianne, Vilner 1, Jude, 9, Lovenie 2, Me, Jacques 15, and Stephanie 11. Our family in Hait!

I know this is a bit out of order in my posts but I just got back from Haiti a couple days ago and met our 5 children and the birth mom of 4 of them. If you are interested in reading about my personal experience with this you can check out my blog at . Otherwise on this blog I will stick to traveling matters.
This was my first trip ever to Haiti and I was extremely grateful that a friend who had been there MANY times allowed me to tag along with her! She was headed to bring home her 14 year old daughter (her 3rd daughter adopted from NLL) so I got a really good example of how it all works. If you get an opportunity to go with someone that's done it before- jump on it! I would have felt very lost without her.
On the airplane ride into Port-au-Prince the flight attendent started handing out these long blue forms. I had no idea what these were. They are immigration papers. I kept cheating and looking at my friends answers because I was so confused about this form! :) One thing I do think is good to know for this form is to have the information with the address and phone number of where you will be staying in Haiti on you or in your carry on because you will need it to fill out this form. I did not have this information on me so was glad I got to copy off of my friends information. I'll know for next time and hopefully reading this... you will be prepared also!
When you fly into Haiti you will be exiting the plane down stairs outdoors and then will walk into the airport from the back of the building. You go right to immigration windows (you can't miss it). This is where you hand them the form you filled out on your flight and your passport. After all the stressing I did about trying to figure out the form they hardly glanced at it, stamped it, looked at my passport, and gave me the bottom part of the form that tears off and put it in my passport. Honestly I was not ever sure what that was for but I do know that my friend seriously cautioned me not to lose it or I might have problems when trying to leave Haiti, so hold on tight to that piece of paper!
After immigration we went to claim our luggage (also easy to find). Near the luggage claim you will see a bunch of carts. If you want one you just hand someone at the counter a dollar and they will bring you a cart. The wait for our luggage took forever! Me and my friend both waited worriedly when neither of us (with 4 suitcases) had any of our luggage show up. They would drive up with in a truck about the size of a small U-haul and unload suitcases. You could see them doing it through the windows. When a truck would get empty my friend and I would pray "Please let there be another truck" again and again until at last (I think it was the 4th truck) our luggage finally showed up! We were so relieved. So be prepared that you may have to wait and watch for more trucks if you don't get your luggage right away. On the way out of the airport you will be stopped and asked for your baggage claim which should be stickers that were stuck on the sleave of the tickets the airline gave you when you checked in so keep that handy. Then... you are out! When you get outside porters will come up to you and be very pushy. I actually did not experience much of this because I was meeting my two oldest children for the first time while friends took over with the luggage. A couple of porters did tag along even though we told them we didn't want their help and then were very insistant with me that I pay them for their help (I was so distracted by the kids that I don't know for sure, but I don't think they did anything more then follow us to the car!). My son pulled me into the car and that was the end of the discussion with the porters! :) We were then on our way to the orphange where I could meet our other waiting children!

No comments: