The Journey of a Lifetime Begins!!

My trip to Haiti began at 4 a.m. on April 25.  I had to get up super early to make sure I’d checked off all the items on my packing list, printed my itinerary and completed online check in.   4 suitcases later…. 2 of which were filled with books and supplies…  I was at Reagan National Airport saying my goodbyes and preparing to embark on a life-changing journey!    As soon as I got out of the car the attendant noticed my pink luggage and said “what’s in there, make-up?”  I replied, “Nope, books and school supplies for kids in Haiti.”  He was stunned and I think a little embarrassed.  He immediately pushed me to the front of the line and upgraded my ticket to first class so that I wouldn’t have to pay additional baggage fees!!  I was shocked and grateful!  This trip was getting off on the right foot! 
I flew into Miami and a 45 minute layover later, I was on a flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  I could immediately tell once the flight attendant began giving instructions in French.    For the first time, it began to sink in.  The flight was short and as we approached Haiti I was in awe of its beauty.  Mountains and beaches like I had never seen before!  As we landed, I began to get more and more excited. 
While on the plane, I met one of my traveling companions,  (and now one of my friends) Shakira Martin.  This was her second trip to Haiti so she was quick to show me the ropes.  As soon as we got through customs we were greeted by Rachel Azael,  Anedie Azael (our host),Alejandra Barrillas, and Marlyn Rivas.  We were quite the party!!    We were then whisked through customs and all of our bags were ready to go.   This wasn’t my last flight of the day…
I was told that we would be flying on a tiny plane to Cap-Hatien, which is in northern Haiti.  I’d been on small planes before, but nothing like this!  I was terrified.   But, I put on my big girl crown and hopped in. The ride wasn’t that bad at all!!

As soon as we landed we were greeted by the Ministry of Tourism.

They picked the perfect representatives to greet us!! Tiny prima ballerinas from a local dance school! We were greeted with a song and flowers!

Then we headed to Hotel Cormier Plage, one of the most beautiful hotels that I have ever been in.  We spent the rest of the evening resting up for the next day’s adventure!


Ciji Dodds 
Miss International 2011


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