As usual, I’m hitting the ground running. This time I am travelling with Marg Harrington of Sunrise Family Services, BC, Canada. This is Marg’s first trip to Haiti, but certainly not her first international trip. She’s been all over the world!
We arrived yesterday afternoon, and Marg told me that Port-au-Prince reminds her of cities in developing nations all over the world. Today it hardly reminds me of itself. The new mayor of Delmas seems to be very civically minded. There is massive road construction everywhere. In my ten years of visiting Haiti, I’ve seen occasional pot hole filling. This is major construction: bulldozers, steamrollers, dump trucks! Concrete roadways! Amazing! At the moment it’s a dusty disaster – the air is so choked that at times it’s hard to see, and no one has set up any ‘ti komers’ (streetside vending) by the sides of these roads. But it’s going to be worth the temporary mess to have real, paved roads in Port-au-Prince. We’ve heard a rumor that there’s a Dispensation list at IBESR. Because this is Haiti, we’re going there to read it for ourselves. That’s just the way it is. Marg decides to tag along. I will try to introduce her to the IBESR executive staff and she can get a look at where it all happens. As always, the building is crowded and busy. Unfortunately the staff to whom I had hoped to introduce Marg are all gone, meeting with the Hague Permanent Bureau staff who are here from Holland this week. Margarette ducks into the adoptions unit room to read the list. She returns with good news and bad news – three AUBE kids are out. Two have been waiting for almost a YEAR. Unfortunately one BRESMA sibling group of three who has waited just as long is not on the list. There is nothing we can do – it’s very frustrating, and once again I’m about to face these kids and tell them I don’t know when their adoption will be finished. Marg and I peek into a few offices. UNICEF has built up IBESR over the past few years. There is now electricity all of the time, and many of the offices have a computer or two. But there is still much lacking, even such simple things as domain-based email (as in, firstname.lastname@example.org). IBESR is in urgent need of technical assistance given with respect and focus on their needs as a department of a sovereign government. Next, we’re off to BRESMA. Our new construction is almost finished. It’s been almost finished for a long, long time… This reminds me of when we had a house built for us once, long ago. It seems like the finish work took longer than building the darn thing. But it’s going to be spectacular when it’s done. Clean, bright, spacious, and safe. We climb the many stairs of our hillside property to enter the old building at the top floor, where the little ones stay. As always, I’m struck by how wrong this is. Like a daycare center where no parents ever come. All those little eyes. All those warm little bodies. Every one of them fed and cared for and dressed in pretty clothes and lacking what they need more than any of what we give them – a family. Marg is surprised at how many young children we have in care. So am I. We’ve had a lot of new arrivals. I see a lot of red hair and fragile, dry, discolored skin. It will fade with time and nutrition, but several of the new children have seen a lot of hardship in a very short time on earth.