If you have some cheese, grab it now because I am about to whine.
I got back from Haiti at around 2 AM. It was a pretty shaky drive back, staying awake was hard after a poor nights sleep Sunday and a very long day of travel on Monday including a 2 hour bus ride in Port-Au-Prince rush hour, a flight to Miami followed by a six hour layover, a flight to Detroit and then a two and a half hour drive back home. I did the old “crank up the radio, drive with the window down, get out and run around the car” routine to stay awake. Luckily we missed the ominous arrival of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier but the ramifications we pretty apparent in Port-Au-Prince given the enormous armed UN presence on the roads and at the airport. My stomach is in knots and I can barely eat anything. I am on the brink emotionally and having a hard time keeping it together.
Sounds like a tough trip?
Absolutely and I can’t wait to go again. If I can swing it financially I would love to take my older two children the next time.
(I think I need to get in better shape before the next trip though….just saying.)
I never expected this to be an easy trip or a vacation. I was completely disinterested in having a “great experience”. I sorta had the vision. I certainly felt pretty solid in the theology. Nothing could prepare me for the realty, for going from orphans as a theological concept to actual little people desperate for love. I met an 11 year old young man, who I will write about more soon, who gravitated to me on the first night and was quite content to just sit by me, sometimes with his hand on my shoulder, often very quiet but enjoying spending time just sitting with me and occasionally playing football or soccer. I held a six month old little girl who was not an orphan but her mom was, a 14 year old girl who gave birth to a beautiful little girl after one of the most heart wrenching stories I have ever heard. I met a different young man who was from a relatively prosperous family, an athletic and bright young man who likely had what we would consider to be a great future ahead of him and now finds himself at 14 in a home with 90 other orphans. There were lots of others and I don’t know their stories, like the little boy who sat next to one of the young women and just stared off into space. He had the stare of an adult who has seen horrible things and yet he was just a little guy. Every one of these kids has a story and none of them are happy ones but most of them loved us, loved to sing for us and play with us. Many offered to pray for us. Imagine that, an orphaned child in the poorest country in this hemisphere, wrecked by corruption, an earthquake and a cholera epidemic and they were going to pray for us!
My thoughts are still pretty jumbled. I plan on blogging quite a bit more about ministering to these precious children soon but until I can get my head right I don’t think it makes much sense to write too much
For a little more detail, check out the village we stayed at: Source de la Grace Jumecourt
If you would like to see some great pictures of orphans and a couple of really unflattering pictures of me, check out: http://www.facebook.com/thehaitiorphanproject
While you are browsing at the Haiti Orphan Project and the Global Orphan project, how about you maybe click that “Donate” button or buy some stuffz from the GO Project store to help support this Biblically mandated work?