As the title suggests.. I have now been to Haiti 7 times. This trip was shorter than the others, but I wouldn't trade those 3 days for anything. The 24 hours leading up to that sweet moment when the wheels of the plane met the surface of the Haitian turf were some of the most anticipated hours I've ever sat through. My mom and I stayed awake all night long on Thursday night, eager, and for the Blondie I was traveling with probably fearful, for our days in Haiti.
Ants in the pants, on cloud 9, and any other cliche saying would fit just perfectly for my excitement and glee as I sat on the plane next to my mom, ready to show her my passions and dreams- this time in a language that touches the heart more than my English tales I bring back with me to the states.
The airport scene in Port-au- Prince was nothing short of havoc- complete insanity. I decided that this time I would give up my adamant claims that "I can handle on my own" and allow some helpful Haitian to grab our bags for us. Well, I couldn't exactly sit and watch as our new friend searched aimlessly for a bag for which he had no idea the looks of. I went in my own direction to sift through the hundreds of bags to find the heavy loads we had brought down with us. I kept glancing in my mom's direction. I felt the pressure.. that maybe the heat and craziness would get to her and throw her into a bad mood so early on in the trip. The fair-skinned saint remained calm and just waited. I wonder what was going on in her head at this time.
After maybe... 45 minutes? We had our bags and were headed into the Haitian sun to find our ride to Leogane. We met Jas and Greg and soon after Rigan and Jonas came. My mom started crying when she first met Rigan. She hugged him tight, like a mom would embrace her own son. The ride through Port au Prince was great for my mom. We had air conditioning (Praise GOD!!) and we had a nice tour of the city as we slowly made our way to Leogane.The ride was casual and comfortable. My mom fit right in with me, Rigan, and Jonas. She was relaxed and taking in the view.
We were in Leogane by early afternoon. We went to Rigan's home and my mom met all of his nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters-in-law. I had a suitcase full of goodies packed for all the little ones. I passed out clothes, candy, and toys to everyone who came near the tent. I'm not even sure where all the kids came from, or even who half of them were but they knew which clothes or toys would suit them. It was so much fun to give.
The two newest editions to the family are 4 pound twin girls. I held one in my arms and I honestly have never held something so small. She was so small I couldn't maneuver our bodies so that I could cradle her and rest her against my chest at the same time.. so I sat there holding her at an awkward distance from my body. I'm not sure what the mom thought seeing this nurse and future mother having such difficulty in holding her baby... but I loved holding her anyways :)
On Saturday my mom and I spent the entire day at the orphanage. I had bags full of jewelry, tattoos, and hair ties to pass out for the girls. They went WILD! I had enough to give each girl two things. My mom and I gave the babies bubble baths. It was so much fun and such a contrast to the usual "bath" that the babies get which sometimes it just a few splashes with a bucket of water while the babies are in tears. We had a small basin filled with water, bubbles, and rubber duckies. The babies really enjoyed it and the older kids like splashing their hands in the bubbles and helping to wash the babies. After the bubble baths we did an Easter Egg hunt with all of the kids. Each egg was filled with 5 starburst jelly beans. The kids were so excited for this. They loved searching for the eggs and loved the candy even more.
Sunday was a day at church in the morning and time at the orphanage in the afternoon. The time went by so fast it almost feels surreal. My mom's initial response was that one time in Haiti was enough, but now she is deciding that she will return. :) Once again, the hand of the Lord protected our travels. I see that my mom feels a little different being back and I think it's a sample of the detachment to this world I feel each time I return from Haiti. She knows the names, the faces, the sounds, the scents... and the Haitian roosters ;) and I think that she too had been changed by Haiti.