Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid He might ask the same of me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

• One Last Day •

Our last day to enjoy Haiti was Wednesday. It was sad to think we'd come to the end of our journey and would have to leave the new friends and family we had made. Kelsey was definitely anxious to head home ;o) We decided after breakfast would be a good time to round everything up that we had made ourselves at home with so we wouldn't be packing at the last minute. We leave tomorrow morning around 5:30 a.m. and none of us are morning people. lol We gathered our laundry from around our room and the balcony. Diane and I had tried our hand at washing some of our clothes in a tub with bar soap and hung them out to dry. Did I mention Downy is a luxury you should never take for granted? lol Hey, they may not have been fluffy soft or completely stain free, but did I mention Zest smelled better than what they had become? Eeeewww. Haiti is a sweaty, dirty place.....full of love but sweaty, dirty. One of the housekeepers doing laundry offered to do ours too and I'm wondering how much nicer they would have turned out if we'd had someone with experience doing our wash? But we wanted to do it ourselves. Everyone does so much for us as it is, I didn't feel right asking someone else to wash my personals! lol The ladies were cleaning and scrubbing, just like some of us have a weekly routine in the states (I said some....). We thought about their hard work and remembered there is another mission group flying in tomorrow morning. They land as we board, and the caretaking starts all over again for Roberto and Alex and Marjorie and the rest of the staff. And I wonder if they will remember us as fondly as we remember them, or if we'll be just another group that has come and gone. Somehow I think they will remember....

As we're gathering and packing things there were items we shipped over for the children and Kelsey and I had packed the bags to take to the girls. Diane was busy emptying those suitcases that were stacked in the living room to bring them up to our rooms to load to go home, when she discovered him.... the rat. We've spent a week with a rat trap in our bathroom and managed to last an entire week without seeing a single rodent. Diane said he was sitting quietly behind the suitcases and she chased him out of the house. Alex spent some time later that night setting traps again....with fresh meat. Oiy. We use cheese and peanut butter for mice at home, they use meat for rats. I know Haiti is not for everyone, I'm just glad I didn't see Mr. Rat, because Haiti is definitely a place for me.

We decided today would be another day of finding children and making visits for those that need sponsors. It's become a personal goal for myself (as well as some of the others I think) to want to find sponsors for sooooo many of the kids. They just simply amaze me.

Its customary to ask before you take a photo of someone in Haiti. Some don't want their picture taken, others don't mind, others thrive on it! :o) Kelsey even had one man ask her to take his photo because he thought it was good luck for his soul. This teenage girl was excited to meet Taylor and it was fun to see her talk to the kids, learn their names and ages by speaking Creole and they had fun looking at themselves after she took their pictures. This girl loved Taylor's hair too and wanted to braid it and play with it. (typical teenage girls huh?!) We still met so many new kids that need sponsors for school, that have high hopes of being educated and sharing their knowledge with siblings and even their parents. You can't imagine what just the luxury of an education can do for a person in Haiti. Sometimes it might actually mean the difference between life and death. Life coming from working or knowing a special trade so you can feed yourself and your family. Or, lacking knowledge to apply yourself or have a skill needed to put food on the table. It's amazing.

So, speaking of special trades...this young woman is going to school and to earn extra money she braids hair. Imagine what she could do if she knew what cosmetology school was!? She comes to the house when missionary teams visit to see if she can do anyone's hair. We paid her $20 to do the girls' hair. It was fun to watch her work. Taylor's hair was so neat when she was done, Roberto even called her blan bel (white beauty), even though she said she felt like a chemo patient. lol We don't see our scalps often as Americans do we?

We had previously taken our gifts of backpacks and extra goodies back to our girls' that we had sponsored and Kelsey received a surprise today. Claudia, her sister Linda and their mother walked all the way to our house to show Kelsey the new dress from her bag as a thank you. A sign of appreciation. I know Kelsey was amazed and appreciative of their journey, I think we were all feeling emotions of gratitude for their walk to the house. The fact that they cared enough to walk all that way, just to show her the dress. Wow, at home we send thank you cards, or send gifts. Claudia was still wearing her bracelet Kelsey gave her from the days before. The even better part...Roberto told them that not only was Kelsey and her family going to sponsor Claudia to go to school, but they were also going to sponsor her sister Linda. Now both girls can go to school with no worries. How exciting for their family! Can you imagine how they talked about it with their other brothers and sisters when they got home? You could just see and feel the joy they were overwhelmed with as they walked away to go home before the storm came again. Claudia skipping down the driveway and Linda hugging her mother.

Sorry, you'll have to turn your head for this one... that's Claudia, Linda and their momma heading home down our driveway. So excited. :o)

Our last joy of the day was having Brian and Kristi's family come to the house for a visit. Sherry came and brought with her John Lee, the kids' older brother, Ellie their big sister and a neighbor boy who spends a lot of time at their house. It was great to meet them and see where Kristi and Brian came from. To meet the woman who loved them enough to allow Diane to become their mother. To ensure they would be given a future and a life through a woman who would love them as her own. The kids also took to Kevin just like Brian and Kristi adore their older brother. They have met him before and Kevin is definitely someone who is hard to forget! ;o) He's so great with the kids, playing games, entertaining. I'm tellin' ya.... any teenage boy who allows his little sister to braid his hair is tops in my book. I hate to admit it, but Kevin is special. :o)

You'll have to twist your head for this one too. ;o) And I'll spare him the embarrassment of the hair braiding shots on a public blog. Maybe those will make it into the slideshow for posterity. lol

If you look closely in the background of the picture with Diane and Sherry and the kids you can see some people sitting at the table where we eat. We had a prayer group that came to the house to pray with us before our trip home. We stood around the table as we bowed our heads to pray, it was like taking a time of silent prayer and then simultaneously they all began praying aloud in Creol, and their voices became louder and faster as they prayed. It was an incredible feeling that almost overwhelmed you as you knew they were praising God and thanking Him for their blessings and I have no idea what they said but could feel it within me. It was one of those moments that you wish everyone could have experienced yet no matter how much I might try to tell you what it was like, it would be impossible. After they prayed we sat and Roberto translated for us as they thanked us for coming as missionaries and for the things that we do to make a change in their country. That God would bless us for our work and our love for their people and their country. They prayed for our safe return to our homes and safe travels if and when we return to Haiti. Roberto ask if we wanted to say anything and Diane and I told them how much we appreciate them welcoming us to their country and how much we love and admire them and are grateful for the opportunity we're given to try to make a difference here. We love Haiti with a passion that can't be explained, you can only know it when you experience it for yourself.

Tomorrow we have to say good-bye. Finding our own ways to say good-bye is different for us all. Diane had her private time sneaking down to the ocean this morning before we all woke up. Kevin hasn't been feeling well and likes the quiet of his room (I think he'll secretly miss so many things here, even if he wouldn't admit it). Taylor had her private time as she took a walk to the end of the pier and sat for a long while alone. At the end of the pier it's almost as if you're sitting in the middle of the ocean, and she watched the storm come in. I wish I knew where her mind was and the things she was pondering. Kelsey took a nap under a palm tree today, I'm sure she'll be glad to return home to her family and share her experiences here. My moments come by watching and observing everyone else around me. Whether it's our team, the kids, Roberto and Alex, the other workers around the house, or the dog chasing the rooster in the yard, Marjorie chasing the chickens out of her kitchen, the men working in the yard discussing how they'll make the retaining wall, the gardner hoeing and working in the new plants that are blooming, the lizards sneaking through the bushes or crawling up the trees, the sound of the ocean, the smell of the charcoal.... I'll miss it all.

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