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Friday, September 26, 2008

Haiti Day Three

The boys were up early around 6 a.m. and around that same time we took the opportunity to call Eva and Isabel at their friends’ homes. Our connection wasn’t the greatest and we had to do quite a bit of repeating ourselves and speaking louder, but we loved hearing their voices! We have missed them.

Then came breakfast. Since our first attempt to eat at the hotel restaurant with two babes in arms, we’ve decided that individual meals at breakfast and room service meals at dinner are really much more simple. Pedro took the first breakfast shift and returned to inform me that today we could eat the Haitian breakfast specialty we had learned heard about from Barbara yesterday: spaghetti! Yes, indeed, yummy spaghetti with a light red sauce and onions and hotdogs … for breakfast, along with juice and coffee. That was a new experience! But it really did taste good.

The boys took early morning naps and we were in the midst of bathing baby #2 (after baby #1 had a very nasty blowout, eww) when Mirlande arrived shortly before ten o’clock. She was under instructions from Barbara to take us to the Baptist Mission which apparently has a nice restaurant, gift shop and small zoo in addition to its church. (Interesting combination, no?) Getting there was definitely an adventure!

First we picked our way through people and potholes to the outskirts of town and then we began an endless ascent up winding, broken streets high into the mountains. Our driver tends to use the horn quite frequently, to alert smaller vehicles that he is about to go around them (sometimes head-on towards a truck coming in the opposite direction), to announce that he is coming around a blind turn at full speed so whoever is ahead can beware, and to warn people to move out of his way as he is coming through. Like I said, an adventure … especially holding two little babies with no car seats on your lap while your legs are twisted in odd positions over a water purification unit that needs to be delivered up the mountain as well! (Oh, and lest I forget there was also that niggling thought in the back of both Pedro’s and my mind, that yesterday Barbara had told the driver not to take steep hills because the brakes were not so good on the pickup … Yikes!)

But the trip was worth it just for change in scenery and temperature along the way. We entered the area where the “bourgeoisie” live and began to see some imposing structures (houses) behind high walls. I also began to notice small children, some no older than my own, doing chores such as carrying buckets of water up steep hills. The child slaves we had heard about, I wondered? There was something about one little girl that almost brought tears to my eyes … she was in a small dress with a handkerchief wrapped around her head, carrying something in her arms and looking so tiny and yet determined to do whatever task was set before her … she looked more like a miniature adult than a little girl.

The landscape itself was breathtaking as we began to be able to look down on the green hills and mountains of Haiti. The thick foliage and colorful hanging flowers dangled over the road and the air was so much fresher and cooler than that of the city below. Dotting the landscape were houses and buildings both large and small, humble and ostentatious, all seeming slapped down with no rhyme or reason to the overall layout of the community. We passed men and women selling their wares and carrying heavy loads upon their heads; elderly folks sitting by the side of the road watching cars pass by; UN vehicles, crazy-colored tap-taps and fancy SUV’s. At one point I was amused to see a small crowd of Haitians gathered around two “gringos” trying to fix their jeep on the side of the road. I think that was the entertainment for the day!

It was quite a drive and then believe it or not, the Baptist Mission was closed. All was not lost, however, since Mirlande had two other errands to do in the nearby vicinity. One of those took us to a small mission where Pedro and I began chatting with an American woman who turned out to be a business owner from nowhere else but Scranton, Pennsylvania! (Can you believe it? We couldn’t!) Her business supports this mission and school in Haiti, and she comes regularly to spend a month or two at the mission. What a small world!

Errands completed, our next stop was to be to the place the boys call home. Many of my thoughts from that experience are too personal to share on this blog but I intend to write them down to share with Ian and Alec later. We were very glad that we went and enjoyed meeting other children there as well; it was neat to see that Alec seemed to be a favorite among the kids and grown-ups, but Ian clung to Pedro and did not seem at all happy to be back. This made us both feel grieved, as it is already hard enough to leave them behind but so much more so upon sensing this unhappiness on Ian’s part. He is only nine months old but has already had such a tough little life. (The same is true of his brother, who I briefly met but who did not crack the slightest smile or even want to make eye contact with me … so very sad!)

As we were leaving I was reminded of what a wonderful man I have married. Pedro took the time to give several of the kids pats on the back and hugs and most of them looked as him as though very surprised but grateful for the show of affection. Pedro was especially impressed by one young boy of twelve who in Pedro’s words was “a really sharp kid.” I just love that my husband truly has a heart and compassion for children and is unashamed to show it!

The babies were SO tired on the way home and crashed when we arrived back at the hotel. I had a mini meltdown from the emotions of the visit, but am resolved to just appreciate and enjoy every minute that remains with our boys between now and Tuesday. No others day trips are on the agenda, so we can simply focus on each other and that will be especially nice!l


Terri Fisher said...

Thanks for sharing your days with us, Steph. I know this time with your boys is precious...enjoy every moment that you have!

Heidi Evans said...

Wow, what an adventure. Your boys will appreciate one day the thoughts that you write down. We are praying for you all while you are there. And this adoption will be done fast so you can bring them home with you to Chile!

Stacey said...

Keep your chin up. It is a very emotional time. Just enjoy the time with the boys. It was great talking to you yesterday.

Holly said...

Catching up here on your time in Haiti, and praying for all of you as you spend your last few days there with your boys. We had extremely emotional experiences in Ethiopia so I can understand that part! Godspeed!