Local woman returns from Haiti mission trip, 10 others waiting to come home

SEYMOUR, Ind. (WDRB) -- A group of 11 mission workers headed to Haiti on June 29 and were expected to return July 7 until protests got in the way.

Members from Cornerstone Community Church and Central Christian Church in Seymour traveled to the country to teach 100 students how to speak English. Leigh Alcorn was one of the members on the trip and said the trip was similar to a vacation Bible school, as they also taught Bible verses.

"I'm a pre-educator and going to Haiti has always been a dream of mine," Alcorn said.

Alcorn left behind her husband and children to go on the week-long trip.

"It ended up being a longer trip than expected," she said. The group was supposed to leave Saturday until the U.S. Embassy issued travel warnings in Port-Au-Prince. Haitians filled the streets protesting gas prices.

"Gas is subsidized there, and so the president of Haiti did not sign with the UK for that to continue," Alcorn said. "So gas is about $2 now. It will raise up an extra dollar."

She said her group could see and smell smoke as the protesters burned trees and cars. The group decided to stay at their camp area Saturday and Sunday in hopes the protests would soon end.

"He said it could be the end of the week before we could come home," she said.

In their first attempt on Monday to get to the airport, they traveled to the Dominican Republic. Alcorn said just a few miles from the border they were greeted by Haitians who wanted to let them through, but they could not move a tree that had been cut down. She said the protesters wanted to help, but did not have much choice. Eventually, the group found a different way around.

"The 11 of us and a family of four loaded on the back of an ambulance," she said. "(We) turned the sirens on and rode through Port-Au-Prince."

When the group made it to the airport, Alcorn recalls a large crowd and a four hour wait to get through security. "They said there was one flight back to the U.S.," she said.

That's when the group decided since Alcorn had young children and school, she should be the one to take the one seat left on the plane. "I felt guilty being I'm the only one that gets to come back."

The other 10 group members are still in Haiti, and are expected to return home on Thursday.

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