Monday, November 9, 2009

A Haitian Workday


What a whirlwind of a day! It started at 6:45, when Jamie and I went to the Embassy for a Visa appointment with my little buddy. It went very smoothly, and we were out by 9:00.
Then we were off to the bank, fighting morning traffic, to see if the child care funds KAS wired days and days ago had finally arrived. You can’t just call the bank here –you have to go there. No luck. Lucy and I made frantic arrangements to track the money, and to use MoneyGram to send Jamie more funds. In the meantime I gave her all the money I had with me except for $20 US. It’s funny how I think of money here in Haiti. I have a place to stay and food to eat at all times, and what more do you need? In Haiti, money feels like a luxury. All those things I think I need in the US are not needs at all, but just wants.

My friend Alison was waiting outside the house when we got back to whisk me back out to the barn. We enjoyed an hour of VERY hot stress relief in the sun. When we finished, her car thermometer read 104. Quite the change from South Dakota – no wonder I was woozy from the heat! My cold water bucket bath never sounded (or felt) so good.

And then, on to another really delightful task. One of my adoptive Moms who is a worker for Haiti herself arrived. We had never met before in real life. Her toddler son, also at Jamie’s, is doing very well. He had been in BRESMA II, but then he got sick and they moved him to BRESMA I. I have a strong preference that all of ‘my’ kids stay at ‘my’ house or at Jamie’s, so Margarette agreed to let me move him. Moving is always a trauma for a child, and he had a few rough weeks at Jamie’s after two moves. He is noticeably happier since my last visit just a few weeks ago. His Mom seems really pleased with how he is doing. I thought it might be too much for him to go and stay with her after so much upheaval in the past few months, but Jamie and the little man in question disagreed. He was quite happy to go off with Mom for a few days of time together. It will be very hard for her to leave him, but at least she’ll know he is happy in his new home.

Once we sent the two of them off together, Jamie and I went to a bank to pick up the money Kentucky Adoption Services had wired down using Moneygram to tide us over until the child care wire is located. Everything here takes forever. Between the paperwork and standing in line, it probably took a good hour to leave with cash in hand. Jamie had already spent all the money I gave her while I was at the barn to buy diapers and a few meals’ worth of food for her house. When you can’t buy in bulk in Haiti, you really pay extra.

Next we had to come back to BRESMA II to get my wallet, and to Jamie’s to collect Ti Ness. Ti Ness is Margarette’s younger brother. He is married to Bielen, the nurse at Jamie’s House. He drove us to Bainet to visit the birth mother of one of our children (see my blog entry from April 18th, 2009). I had to arrange for a rental car so that he can go back, leading USCIS officers, for an interview with the same woman. You have to have a credit card to rent the vehicle, so I guess I just have to hope that all that comes of my signature on that blank credit card slip is a hold for renting the car which will be cancelled after Ti Ness pays in cash when he returns the car.
Finally I came home for a few minutes, where I rested, ate something at last, and eventually fell asleep. But I was back up in less than an hour to go out one last time, to celebrate Jamie’s birthday with a few friends.

Tomorrow is the big workshop meeting. I’ll read my speech out loud a few more times to practice, and then Mansour Masse from Holt International will come to get me. We’ve given ourselves an hour of meeting time before the workshop to come up with an alternative plan for solving all of the problems in Haiti’s adoption process. Luckily Mansour has had a few years to think about this one!

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