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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Haiti Day One, Part I

The wake-up call came promptly at 5:30 a.m. and five hours of sleep after twenty-four hours of wakefulness did not feel like enough … except for the all-consuming thought: Today is the day!
Thankfully, the airport hotel was only steps from the check-in counter for American Airlines, where we were able to confirm that our luggage was safe and sound and send one errant piece off with the rest. A brisk walk through the cavernous halls of the Miami airport brought us to our destination – the gate to board our long-awaited flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The flight itself was uneventful, just 1.5 hours and soon we were circling over the verdant green mountains of the island nation our boys call home. We disembarked and followed the crowd of people walking across the tarmac in the close Caribbean heat. Island music shimmered around our ears as a band of musicians met us at the door.

Despite warnings that this would happen, we still found ourselves overwhelmed by the uniformed porters jostling and pushing their way towards us, trying to take the baggage cart and claim us for their own. One took us only as far as the man checking our white declarations form and received a tip for merely hoisting our bags on the cart and pushing it a few short steps to that spot. Nice. But once outside no representatives for our agency were in sight, so when one porter pulled our agency’s business card from his wallet we willingly followed him across the parking lot and into the shade. Twenty dollars sounded much too steep to our ears, as did ten dollars, but for the price of six dollars we not only received assistance in recognizing the pickup truck that arrived looking for us but also a brief lesson in Creole and some heartfelt religious rhetoric as well. We truly did appreciate his help when all was said and done.

It was with a sigh of relief that we headed toward the green pickup truck, that unbeknownst to us would become our home away from home for much of this day. It was with pounding hearts and unrestrained smiles that we recognized two tiny boys waiting for us inside! The seven of us squeezed in and began the first trek across town to deliver our luggage to a new hotel before heading to the American Embassy where our adoption coordinator was waiting, unaware that our scheduled appointment had been changed to the following day. We took in little of the scenery at that point because all attention was focused on the faces we had dreamed of and prayed for so long. We were amazed and enamored by their sweetness and before the day was done we would be in awe of their excellent behavior during so many hot hours of driving and waiting, driving and waiting. What a joyous moment!

To be continued …


Kathy said...

The airport can be overwhelming!

Jocelyn said...

Ahhh! This brings back so many memories! Glad you made it there safe.