This morning I awoke at 4:30 to a gray and cloudy Minnesota morning, and slushed through the hotel parking lot still filled with melting snow to the airport shuttle, wearing my sandals and a light weight dress under a Carhartts parka. Such is my dual life…Haiti is hot today – hot like July would normally be, and I stuffed my parka in my bag while on the plane. An essential back home, it is useless weight to me here.
I’m met by friends and colleagues at the airport – the Jacmel site directors of the Hands and Feet Project. They live here full time, and if they have parkas anymore, I imagine it takes some digging to unearth them.
We go to a restaurant called The Deck, which I have not visited before. It’s in the UN compound. You have to give them your ID to get in, but after that it’s pretty ordinary inside. I have been here before, years ago, just after the earthquake. At that time it was bristling with arms and activity, and I had to do a lot more than just provide an ID to get inside.The compound is still an international mixture, with a kaleidoscope of languages and ethnicities. The variety is reflected in the menu at the restaurant, which must be intended to make a world of workers feel more at home. I order an ice tea, which arrives tasting like beer with lemon and sugar. I’m not a beer fan, and I can’t even make myself drink it. I’ve only been here an hour, and I’m already acting like a spoiled American brat. But I’ve eaten cat that I liked a lot better than beer!
We talk about the progress, or lack thereof, at IBESR. Everyone is frustrated to no end. But this is Haiti, and things move even more slowly here than they do in our own US Government.Driver Franck comes to fetch me, and we go straight to BRESMA orphanage as soon as I have dropped off my bags at the guest house. I’m very tired, but there is not time for rest on my Haiti trips. I am thrilled to see the kids, and with a few toddler exceptions, they are very happy to see me. The best part of all is seeing that a little boy who got very sick in the summer and became dangerously thin is not quite fat. Serious thunder thighs. Glorious! Medika Mamba and intensive attention have worked their magic and he’s a real chunker now. I take a few photos and spend some time just relaxing with the kids. If it were up to me, this is all I would ever do in Haiti – relax and play with the children I came here to serve in the first place. But that’s not how it is. Not for me, anyway. God puts us where He wants us, not always where we think we want to be. Tomorrow is a big day.