Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Lesson in Relativity

It would seem that this trip I am to have a lesson in patience, tolerance, humility, and priorities. 

This is my 30th trip to Haiti.  That's right: three-zero.  And so, upon arriving at the airport where I would stay overnigh last night, I was quite confident that I would need to pick up my suitcases, as I have had to do the other 29 times I've traveled.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived in Newark, waited for my bags, and was told that they had been checked through to PaP!  Imagine my lack of confidence in the Continential Airlines officials who told me this, when the airline has only been flying into Haiti for a few months, and I'm pretty darn sure they are not allowed to hold my bags overnight for me, no matter how much I've begged them to in the past.  Imagine my disappointment at checking into my hotel with the clothes on my back, none of which are suited for Haiti in August.  And naturally, neither bag has made it here to Port-au-Prince with me.

So, as I said, I''m having a lesson in patience and priorities.  I'm typing this blog entry in blue jeans with bare feet in the BRESMA office, two big cultural no-no's for me.  After seeing my heavy, hot Ariat cowgirl boots, nobody is giving me a hard time about it, even though an adult allowing her feet to touch the floor is culturally unacceptable here.

You see, a tropical storm is bearing down on us.  I'm at the guest house using wireless internet and stuck with wearing the same, too-hot clothes for a third day straight until my suitcase arrives tomorrow.  But I've just driven past so many people who have never in their lives owned such riches as I have waiting for me in my 'carry-on' bag, where ever it may be, that all I can think of is how grateful I am to have a sink to wash a few critical items for recycling tomorrow.  Nothing like Haiti to remind us even in the midst of what seems like great provocation that as Americans and Europeans, we will experience very few 'real'problems in our life times.   That line in the old, traditional grace: "May the Lord make us truly grateful for what we are about to receive" speaks great truth.  Haiti teaches us to love what we are given.

Today I finally got to see the Judicial Complex when Franck and I drove there from the airport.  I felt bad for Franck.  Generally, Franck is not the most punctual of men, even when he has not forgotten me at the airport (it's happened!).  Today he waited over two hours before I arrived, and it was hot, hot, hot.  I've never been to the Judicial Complex before as parents didn't used to go, and at that time, I would not have been well received due to some difficulties certain Americans were causing with culturally inappropriate behavior.  But today we picked up one of my adoptive families after they saw the Dean.  Our latest office worker is just finishing law school here, and she gave me a tour.  In jeans.  Ugh.  Good thing we couldn't go into any of the courtrooms anyway.

The complex has complete electricity and even air conditioning throughout.  I was impressed - it's the most 'modern'government office I've been in yet.  Now I'll be able to explain to each family exactly what and where their two court appointments are.

Things are really moving along with adoption cases in Haiti.  I can't wait to go over each case with Margarette, so I can update everyone.  Assuming that my suitcase with all of my case data shows up in the right country.

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