Last night of blogging before we fly out of Port au Prince and back into the states in the morning. The trips are always very two-fold, in that they feel like I've both been here for a three months and just arrived a hour ago.
Today was a little different because the kids were back in school. The Orphan Transition Village is still settling into their new routines and structure, school being a part of that. But the kids looked so great in their multicolored uniform shirts, maroon pants, dress shoes, and big bows. All of which was completely shed the minute they got out of school, and justifiably since it was soo humid in Croix de Bouquet today. So for the morning and early afternoon we completely reorganized the supply closet which functions as hub of supplies for most of the GOP orphanages in the north. I've never rolled so many shirts or seen so many flipflops. We've gotten a lot of great ideas of what is needed and what they could probably do without...like thermal underwear or a nice pair of thongs (not flops, of course). So, noted.
Cathie (from The Global Orphan staff that's with us) gave three of us the opportunity to go to Love a Child, so I jumped on that and we left mid-afternoon to take 4-week-old Kimberly and her 13 year old momma to get vaccines. This was a different side of the quake than I'd seen so far. The drive, gorgeous of course, as Haiti is Caribbean countryside wishing to be at its finest. We turned down a white-rock road past a big sign and arrived up on a hill where a large hospital campus stood amongst what looked like hundreds of tents, representing a result of community in between the mountains.
The first thing I noticed (after we got scolded for wandering and taking pictures), was that there were a lot of American doctors and nurses walking back and forth, working with an aimed purposed at their new job that some of them were thrown into just two days ago. We sat outside of the "ER" tent and I practiced my Creole on a few teenagers while one of our boys got his healing broken foot checked out and half of the group accompanied little Kimberly in to get her shots. The second thing I noticed were the injuries. All healing, thank God, but my God.... amputated limbs, toddler bodies scarred with burns from head to foot disfiguring their entire little selves, cuts, slings, crutches...Thank God, thank God for the medical volunteers who are taking leadership in and amongst the chaos. The initiative and risk they are taking is keeping the horrendous count of lives lost far less lower than it could be.
And so, se la vi, they didn't have vaccines for Kimberly, but there was a new 15 year old that connections were made for him to come and make the Orphan Transition Village his home. He has been at Love a Child with some sort of illness or injury and was about to be released but has no parents to go back to. But now he has a safe home and a chance. The ones within these walls...with everything they've lost and been through--orphaned, raped, sold into slavery, living on the streets...in Haiti, they are the lucky ones, if lucky is what you can call it. They have food, beds, a chance to go to school, etc. You pass the masses on the streets into PAP, and you think no wonder so many parents give their children up as economic orphans. Help us keep families together when possible, Jesus...and help organizations like the GOP continue to expand and be provided for so that more and more children can be found and cared for.
I sat with baby Kimberly's young momma tonight and I thought about how her life not only was completely decided for her before, as an abused restevek, but has been directed for her from here on out with the child that came as a product of that abuse. And I pulled out my earring stubs and passed them over to her and she said, "Thinkyou" and smiled and put them in, and I thought about how she has been treated like a worthless piece of property for so much of her life and I wished I could do anything to make her feel worthy and beautiful and take away the certain depth of her wounds. And then I thought, "No wonder You did what You did." The staff put Lion King on the projector and she sat as near to me as she could, holding my leg as tears streamed down her face without a change of expression, and I drew "You are beautiful" over and over again on her back, begging for it to sink in.
We had our last debriefing on the roof and laughed about how many times the goat on a rope passed us by while we were in traffic, how many bare butts we've seen, and how one of our team members confessed to singing "Jesus take the wheel" every time we're going 70 in the back of the old pickups. We talked about what it was like to come to Haiti for the first and fifth time. We talked about how alive Jesus is and how we've felt Him, and seen Him, and held Him. And how heaven has punctured through in the lives of those who are totally aware of their dependence on God. I have seen richness. Sharon said, "I thought you were crazy when you first said how often you'd been back...and now I understand." Don't come here unless you want something uncontrollably contagious to happen. You'll come again, I guarantee it.
I've slaughtered approximately 32 June bugs tonight...that is of course after I full-body-planted it in the screen door of the kitchen trying to get out of the territory of a huge roach. I am proud of the former, we're not talking about the latter. Win some, lose some.
Bags are packed, poptarts are on the table for the morning, and our pickups pull out for Port au Prince International at 6:30. This trip and this team have been healing and inspiring and shown me a new since of perspective and humility, and I have laughed and cried a lot.
"We were pressed on every side, full of fear and troubled thoughts, for good reason we carried heavy hearts, it is good to come together, in our friendship to remember, all the reasons hope is in our hearts, Alleluia, alleluia, Christ our Joy and strength" -Sara Groves
For those who ache to stand on the front lines of social justice, and laugh, and cry,
For a God that loves us and for the people He surrounds us with,
Once again, Haiti, few words,