Missionaries arrive home in Calgary after fleeing Haiti – Calgary Herald

More than two dozen missionaries from southern Alberta returned home safely on Sunday after civil unrest forced them to flee Haiti.
Protesters have blocked major highways across the country in recent days in an effort to pressure President Jovenel Moise to resign. Widespread anger has been felt over skyrocketing inflation and the government’s failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multibillion-dollar Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti.
“There has been roadblocks and looting and burning tires and burning cars. If anyone tries to go out on the street, they will destroy your car and it’s very dangerous,” said Lisa Honorat, co-founder of Haiti ARISE, which had a team of 26 people stationed in Haiti when the protests broke out.
“It just has been escalating and building up,” she said upon landing at Calgary International Airport. “It started to get really scary and it was all over the country, not just in the city.”
Her 12-year-old daughter, Miesha, had also joined the mission.
“I haven’t been in that kind of situation before in all of the times that I’ve been to Haiti, so it’s kind of just sad to leave,” Miesha said.
“It was scary because I do know a lot of people that live in the general area that the riots were happening (in). I was worried for their safety.”
The evacuation was made difficult due to unsafe conditions travelling by main roads, according to Honorat. She said other foreigners described trying to drive to the airport, but found their windows smashed by rioters by the time they arrived.
The group was in touch with a local helicopter company that managed to evacuate members of Haiti ARISE over the course of three trips on Saturday. All members of the group were taken to Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, before they caught flights to Miami.
They spent the night in Florida before connecting to Calgary through Dallas on Sunday morning.
Honorat said her husband, Haiti ARISE co-founder Marc Honorat, stayed behind to support people in need.
“He didn’t want to send the wrong message that anytime there’s something wrong we just all leave,” she said. “He’s just going to wait it out and if it calms down, then he’ll come home for a bit to be with us.”
Kevin Good, who was in the country with his 13-year-old son, Michael, said things could have become dire if they weren’t able to flee soon.
“We were safe in a compound. We were going to be running out of food . . . so we took matters into our own hands,” said Good.
“When it boils down to it, we can’t even have our next heartbeat or our next breath. We rely on God for everything, so we just had to amp that up and rely on Him to keep us safe.”
Honorat said the group was also concerned about taxing the system “and taking away from what the Haitians need” if they had stayed any longer.
“This is the first time we’ve seen the violence and protests and rioting last this long and really start to get out of hand,” she said, adding she planned to return to Haiti in April.
“It was a real emotional roller-coaster, especially for the team. A lot of them, it was their first time ever going out of the country, so to be in a situation like this was a little bit unnerving. We started really thinking like if this continues on, we’re going to run out of fuel, we’re going to run out of water.”
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