Like most days in Haiti, you really never know what will happen. Maybe it’s the days that you feel the most comfortable in your surroundings that the inevitably unexpected happens. This is not a story that one could fabricate or imagine but it is a real-life event told as honestly as I can.
Sunday morning begins by catching a ride at 6:30am with John & Troy up the mountain to Quisqueya. They pull up to the house and I run out throwing my guitar in the back of John’s pick-up and tossing my backpack in the seat next to me. At this moment, I never could have imagined that in a few hours I would be feeling so victimized.
Troy is leading music today and he had asked me last week if I would be available for playing guitar. We arrive at Port-Au-Prince Fellowship and we start setting up. I pull my iPad out of my backpack, flip open the black case cover and set it on the music stand. Troy & I have started using OpenSong on our iPads to organize songs. Best of all we don’t need to print sheet music. After music practice, people begin trickling in. It is a mix of Haitian, American, Australian & other nationalities represented at Port-Au-Prince Fellowship. I never would have considered a person sitting in the pews would possibly be scheming something criminal.
Noticing my iPad is running on empty, immediately finishing the first service, I stash it back in my bag and ran the charger chord outside my bag and into an outlet. Leaving the bag up on stage, I step down to grab a roll & coffee from just outside. Really enjoy having treats once a month and bumping into some friendly faces! Thinking I better prepare for the next service, I say my “good-bye” and walk back to this all familiar and inviting place.
My heart drops as I subconsciously let out, “Ooooh noooo.”
Troy asked, “What?”
“My iPad is missing.” I can see the charger chord hanging from the wall and my backpack completely unzipped.
“This isn’t a joke is it?” I mention to the band.
Troy says it would be a pretty mean joke as he starts walking toward Pastor John to let him know the situation. At this point, what do you do? I quickly shook off the thought of running out the door and down the street to look for the thief. We have another set to play. How am I going to focus now? After getting some sheet music and half transposing them into the key I was playing in for the first set, I sat down and could only think of silently praying for the person that stole the iPad.
Continuing to internally beat myself up, feeling sad, and taken advantage of we finish church and leave to the McHoul’s for Beth’s amazing cooking. I don’t say much in the car as my mind wonders about what I would do or say if I saw the person that took the iPad. Was he/she Haitian or American?
Arriving at the McHoul’s, my first thought is to get to a computer to reset my passwords. At the very least, I am not going to let this person get into my email, twitter, facebook and other personal information. I asked John if I could use his mac. Jumping on his computer I start resetting passwords.
Having little hope, I remember that I installed a tracking application in case of situations like this. I log onto the website to check the Find My iPhone App¹. The website shows a spinner only to reveal that it could not locate the iPad. I figured as much since I had the iPad turned on airplane mode. Leaving the website up, it was time to clue John into what had happened considering it was not my iPad that was stolen but it was Heartline’s iPad. I take a big gulp and describe the situation not making any excuses for my ignorance. After chatting, John looks at the website which shows a map of the world and a big message saying it can’t be located. We try refreshing the page for kicks, and then the impossible, the miraculous, the inconceivable happens…
A dot. A simple and undeniable dot shows up on the map showing the precise location of the iPad. My heart immediately jumps from sadness to hope, from a slowly beating heart to one that is racing! Excitement overtakes my face!
Cue the missions impossible song!
At this point, I am ready to hop on my motorcycle, drive to this location, bust in and grab the iPad straight out of the thief’s filthy hands! Thinking more clearly than me but with the same passion, John calls a friend of ours who is on the police force. John describes the situation. We pick her up and head for the last known location!
Many people visiting Haiti see the chaotic traffic, chickens and people and believe there are very few laws in Haiti. After living in Haiti, you come to realize that there are actually many laws. The real question might be which laws are enforced.
We are going to follow it by Haitian law. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to go to jail for ignorance. I personally have seen some Haitian jails. There is a reason why Haitian jails are condemned for violating human rights².
Fighting our way through traffic, we now have an official police woman, an official judge, Barry and myself. Calling our home-base for updates on the GPS location of the iPad, we confirm the dot hasn’t moved but it’s been an hour since it was last updated.
My heart is accelerating as we approach the house. Having the location pinned on my phone we can drive right up to the house.
“It’s coming up, we are almost there… this is it!” I said. We turn the corner and stop the van.
I was not prepared for what we see next…