Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bittersweet

Arrive in Port – au – Prince on time at 9:10 am, where I am suddenly reminded of all the reminders I have read and even one that I wrote about the tourist tax.  Ten dollars per person upon entry into Haiti!  Good thing they asked at the beginning of the trip, as I tend to leave any extra money I have with me behind to be used, and fly home with empty pockets.  Better keep a few bucks with me this time, or I may end up a permanent resident if they charge again on my way out!

 I leave the airport and am immediately found by my personal deaf and mute porter.  But at this point it doesn't matter that he is deaf.  I've become quite fond of him and wouldn't tell him to go away anyways, which is how I ended up with him in the first place.  After I aggressively chased the other porters away in Kreyol a few years back, they brought me Wadner, who can't hear anyone telling him that they don't want and won't pay for his help.  So now he's my guy.  He's always here at the airport to meet me.
 
Franck, on the other hand, is NOT here to meet me.  Franck will be late to his own funeral.  One of these days he's going to show up on time to get me and I'm going to faint and hit my head, so maybe it's a good thing that I have the most reliably tardy driver in Haiti.

I have a family staying at the guest house on their socialization trip, so I get to meet them as soon as I arrive.  After just a few moments they’re off to the orphanage.  I stay behind to meet with Margarette.  We’re trying to figure out how to get our work done within the constraints laid down by IBESR.  I can see work arounds for the actual legal processing for cases, but I have no idea about how she or any other crèche director who insists on keeping children according to high standards will get by.  The IBESR required childcare charge of $6300 simply isn’t enough to care for kids at the standard each one of them deserves.  We are both frustrated and worried at the end of our talk, with no real solutions in sight.

 After lunch, I join my adopting family at BRESMA.  The crèche and kids look great, and as usual they are all happy to see me (except for several of our babies and toddlers, who are not my biggest fans.)  But the whole experience feels bittersweet to me today.  This is what I came to Haiti to do in the first place.  I wanted to get to know and love individual children, and search for the right family to raise them.  I’ll be able to do so for the children before me now because I have dossiers waiting that we submitted before October 1st, but what about the next ones?  And the ones after that?  Will it even be worth getting to know them here, at the crèche that is my second home, if we’ll have no say at all in where they end up?  I feel blessed to have five or six little people clamoring for my attention all at once, distracting me from maudlin thoughts.  Change is hard, especially when I’m not at all sure that it is a good change.

 One true blessing – the little girl who has asked me on each of my last few trips why no one wants her and her brother has more important questions for me today, like whether her adoptive family who is here visiting has any more candy.  Now there’s a question that I can answer immediately for her.  Yes, my dear one, your mama blan has candy and hugs for you, and yes, some one wants and loves you and your brother very much.

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