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Youth group with the Archdiocese of Baltimore returns home after being stuck in Haiti

Posted at 6:19 AM, Jul 11, 2018

UPDATE: A youth group that had been stuck in Haiti since Saturday following unrest in the country has been able to return home. 

The group of 16 to 20 year olds, plus their four chaperones, had their flight canceled Saturday. When they tried to leave again Monday, the road out was blocked. 

Wednesday night, the group shared photos and messages on social media said they had made it back to the United States, having landed at JFK Airport in New York before they head south to Washington, D.C.

At least four people have died in the country's uprising thought to be linked to rising gas prices. 

The group had been working in St. Marc, which is about two hours away from the capital of Port-Au-Prince.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore partners with the Mortel High Hopes for Haiti Foundation to put on these missions.

On this trip, the group spent a week in St. Marc running a summer camp for kids during the day and doing other excursions, such as visiting parishes, in the evening.

Rachel Barron Bowles is one of the leaders of the mission. She told WMAR-2 News that they were suppose to fly out of Port-au-Prince on Saturday but the airport canceled all flights.

They tried again to leave on Monday but ran into other problems.

"We encountered one road block with one man and we passed through that one, and we came to a second one and there were a lot more people and it seemed agitated," she said. "Our drivers made a decision that we would not get through that day so we turned around and came back."

The group is staying on the campus of a school in St. Marc as they waited. Bowles said while the images of the riots are troubling to see, they were safe where they were and made safety a top priority.

"Our teens are very anxious to get home, their parents anxious for them to get home. It's scary, I know, hearing everything from the state side. I know it's scary not knowing what's going on from the ground. I know that where we are is safe," Bowles said as the group waited for their exit.

Media reports said a sharp increase in fuel prices by the government sparked the riots on Saturday. At least four people were killed during the three days of protest.

Bowles says the Archdiocese of Baltimore has been doing this trip for the last 15 years and never experienced something like this.

The group had booked flights out of Port-au-Prince for Wednesday afternoon and hoped to be back in Baltimore late Wednesday night.