I feel an emptiness and uneasiness in my stomach as I sit in my hotel bed in Santiago, on my way back to Minnesota. Although my stomach is gurgling and churning from the whatnots I've been carelessly eating on the side of the road... this is something different. It's a little fearful, a little sad, exhaustion, joy... I don't know how to feel leaving this time.
I'm so amazed by how God worked to bring me to Haiti this time. WOW. In the past few days in Leogane I spent a lot of time with the kids at the orphanage. Jas and Greg are really tired and the 'camping trip' it's quickly wearing on them. Can you imagine... managing 35 kids in something resembling a construction site, with one big hole dug for a toilet, no running water, a tarp for shelter, cold nights, shaking ground, sick kids... and the list goes on. The kids are contained in a small area of "safety." If they leave this little plot of land, they risk falling concrete walls or buildings. Any structures that are stil standing are NOT safe...
I grabbed a few kids and sat down for story time. I'm learning enough creole that I was able to translate some of the Dr. Seuss stories into English for them. Green Eggs and Ham was a hoot. I kept asking them if they'd eat green eggs and they'd all look at each other and then shake their heads 'no!' They begged me to keep reading. They loved the attention and the amusement of having something other than rocks to keep them entertained.
We visited a property yesterday. It's beautiful. It's set further into the countryside. It's a very large chunk of land and extends to the water. There is a huge potential for growth of the orphanage and has room to build the clinic, church, and dormitories that Jas and Greg dream of for the futrure of OLTCH. It would take a good year to build up what they need, so they would need to temporary relocate somewhere in the meantime.
Last night Dan Sorenson and I spent a few hours out in "tent city" as we affectionately call the city that has spurt up on the nursing school campus. We taught the kids "head, shoulders, knees and toes", "the ABCs", "the hokey pokey" and some some about Old mrs. Leery and a fire. Our crowd started at around 30 kids and soon grew to a group of 200 including kids, moms, dads, and grandmas. We did round robin of row row row your boat and had competitions for which team could sing the loudest, my team of kids or dan's. The hokey pokey was my favorite and by the end of the night I couldn't even breathe as were were dancing to it. I wasn't much help to Dan because I was laughing so hard. It was a blast.
I still can't believe it's all over. And it's hard because their battle continues. How long will these shanty homes built from sticks and bedsheets last? What happens when it rains hard? Where are the kids going to go for school? When do the nursing students get a break and some time to sleep? My new goal is to get back their long term. There HAS to be a way. In the midst of this crisis, there must be some organization or people who will take me up on my offer to give a year or two for teaching at the nursing school, working in the hospital, and managing the health care for the orphanage in exchange for taking care of my student loans. This is a hurdle that scares me, but my faith is stronger than ever now. I have seen the hand of the Lord and I am certain he loves Haiti.