Atascocita volunteer group trapped in Haiti by rioting

Ten Houstonians trying to do service work found themselves stranded in the violence in Haiti this week.

A missionary group from the Atascocita Community Church was in a small village in Haiti when political unrest broke out over the weekend, closing off safe access to the airport.

The volunteers finished their mission of building a playground and tried to leave the country. As riots shut down the airport in Port au Prince, the group took shelter in the village of Pignon. But even there, the violence had spread.

"Most of the violence is in Port au Prince, but of course you'll have all the copycat rioters. And so here in our small village we didn't expect that, but there has been some rioting. On Saturday, which was the big day in Port au Prince, they started burning tires here in this community and the major road to get through town to get us back to camp was closed," volunteer Shari Reulas explained. "After this experience, you really appreciate the safety that we have in the U.S. But it also opens your eyes to the things that people deal with on a daily basis. Good people just trying to survive can get caught in the crossfire of this political unrest."

The group arranged for a small missionary plane to pick them up in the village, and made their way to Florida. They hope to be back in Houston by tomorrow.
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