I wanted to give you a quick preview of what is in store for us in Haiti. Being gluten free on our trip will certainly be an experience and we still hope it will be.
We leave first thing Wednesday morning for our travel day. So between today and tomorrow we have to have it all together! That includes one full suitcase of gluten free food.
I am nervous, anxious and excited — and I think my gluten free daughter would say the same things about this trip. She has never traveled out of the country before, so it will be interesting.
How will a gluten free mission trip in Haiti go?
Well that is hard to predict. But World Wide Village (WWV), the organization that is getting us there, putting us up etc. has worked extensively on a gluten free menu. Everyone on our trip agreed it was fine for all of us to be gluten free for the week! But we have had to do some prep work to get here.
Last January, we met with WWV leaders and talked through the nuances of the gluten free diet. They felt they could get us a gluten free menu. Then, late last month, I was told maybe I wouldn’t get a menu. I was very worried. But a few days later one appeared in my inbox! The chefs spent a their day off perfecting their dishes so they could be made gluten free!
So you might ask why the suitcase full of food? Well breakfast and dinner are made for us at the house. So the Go Picnic meals are for lunch/snack time. All those boxes of lasagna? Well we are doing lasagna one evening and it was easier and cheaper for me to buy the noodles and bring them along. The lasagna has to serve 28 people. I packed some fixins for Rice Krispie bars and a brownie mix as well. The staff asked that I bring gluten free flour to thicken a gravy with one day as well.
But we are bringing back-up supplies. Old habits die hard. It is a mantra for us to have extra food for ourselves. We have a box of cereal, a bag of noodles, plus we pre-purchased snacks for everyone which includes gluten free beef jerkey, pistachios and some other treats. There will be eggs there as well and lots of fresh fruit! At this point, on paper anyway, it seems like it should all work. Will those be famous last words, or an accurate description? We will know soon enough.
What if Emma gets contaminated and gets sick? We have packed some Tums and a lot of Gatorade. We hope that everything goes okay and the only reason for queasy stomachs is because of the malaria pills. If Emma gets sick, I will have to be much more involved in the kitchen. When we arrive, I plan to touch base with the cooks and the WWV staff to make sure the menu they scheduled is still on track or if any changes happened. I will check in daily on the food that is being made as well.
Our main goal here is to be able to go down to Haiti, do the work we need to do and have that be the focus — and, hopefully, not the food. In fact, the food has not been a major concern of mine since Saturday night when we heard about 5 Haitian kids, ages 2-6 years old, who just lost their parents in a mudslide. They have been begging for food and trying to survive on their own for the last two weeks. A Haitian pastor who works closely with WWV just learned about the situation and plans to get them shelter, food and get them into our school. Right now we are working quickly to pack some clothes and shoes for them to help out while we are down there.
We are hoping for the best both gluten free and otherwise. Please watch for a few gluten free-related updates from Haiti during the trip! But if you want to learn more about the trip itself, check out www.grace2haiti.org
Read more about the mission trip in these articles: