Monday, November 05, 2007

For the love of Haiti . . .

Phil and I have only been able to communicate via email since he arrived in Haiti. I received an email from Kathi (one of the orphanage coordinators) letting me know that the group safely arrived at the orphanage on Friday. Whew! That was a relief.

It sounds like his experience in Haiti has been completely different from mine. He has been able to see so much more, and he has spent more time with Noah so I'm hoping that will help the transition period. I am so anxious to see the pictures and hear the details

The benefit of communicating by email is that I have a a record of what Phil has told me so far about his trip. I'm going to just copy the three messages here:

#1 - Friday, November 2

We have a little better of a connection after supper (I ate goat- not bad). Haiti is definitely something you have to experience, because telling about it doesn't do it justice. I was amazed at the vibrant colors and what looked to be very happy people (also extremely poor). The tropical storm hit this area hard. Flying over PAP was traumatic - so much devastation.

Nedi is a sweet little soul with one huge appetite. He runs to the table once he realizes that people are eating, and is the first one done. Takes after his mom :) His appetite is insatiable- takes after his dad. As soon as he finishes he comes looking for me and wants me to hold him. I can't put the little guy down. He screamed bloody murder when it was time for his nap and then again at night time.

I am typing next to John (the teacher at the orphanage) who lost your email. I gave him both of ours - a really nice kid.

I have been able to speak a lot of French!

Nedi loves bread, but then again everyone says he loves everything. Mme Coindy said that they have to limit his food intake.

Tell Adam that he loved the dinosaur that he sent for him. He has also enjoyed looking at the picture book. He says a lot, but alas, I can't understand much of what he says. I asked several of the aunties and they can't either so I don't feel too bad.

The kids maul you, but the aunties keep us fairly separated from them. We get a lot of time with our kids.

If the rains stops we might go into the village and watch a youth soccer match around 4:00pm. I really hope that the rain stops. On Sunday we are going to visit the village school "Momma's School" and have lunch or dinner there. No bull cart excursion however, due to the rain. The roads here were bad as you said, but due to the storm they are almost impassable in many places.

It is 8:06 and Nedi has been in bed since 7:00. We just finished dinner (again I ate goat - not too bad). I am going to try and shave and go to bed. I slept some on the plane (I took a dosage of xanax big enough to bring down a water buffalo), but I am way tired and they say that the kids are up and running by 6:00am. I do have my own room and will try and take a nap with Nedi tomorrow- he wasn't interested today.

Well, I don't want to be a computer hog so I had better let you go.

I love you and can't wait to return. I have experienced enough and think that by Tuesday I will be going a bit stir crazy. I should have brought more snacks (since Nedi keeps eating my food) and something to read. They do have very small portions, but the food is good. I can't believe how stifling hot it is coupled with the humidity. I am a great big ball of sweat!

I tried to get some pictures along the road from the airport to the creche, but cars never slow down or stop. So who knows what they will look like. I will take the camera if we really do venture out into the village.

Love you and miss you so much and tell Adam that I love him and miss him so much.

I have been giving Nedi plenty of kisses and hugs. He isn't very smiley, but seems content to be held and to cuddle. I can get him laughing pretty hard sometimes, however.

Wish you were here. Love you-


#2 - Saturday, November 3

I don't know how long Nedi will let me type. He won't let me out of his sight. We went to a soccer game in the village, about a five minute walk, but holding Nedi all the way - I have never been so hot and sweaty.

I have never experienced so much and wanted to share so much as I do. My only consolation is that you have been here.

The village was really cool- they have NOTHING, except they do have clothes, some just choose not to wear them. I wanted to join. There are a million mosquitoes, I am so glad that I am taking Malaria meds-I have several bites.

I have never been peed on so much in my life! If I don't get malaria, I will undoubtedly get the parasite that the kids have. Nedi and several other have initiated my pants (3 times) and my shirt (Nedi on the way home from the game) once. Wished I didn't pack as lightly as I did. I am going to smell soooooo bad on the way home.

Nedi has a huge stubborn side- huge! We are in for some trouble. He is also very, very possessive of me. He doesn't want the other kids even around me. He is smiling more today. I am getting some pics but it's hard because he won't let me put him down.

I will end with this. At the game there were several animals- one, a baby goat, captured Nedi's attention. He kept saying "goat mangez (eat)" I thought he was saying that the goat was eating, which he was. I went to put him down and Nedi freaked out. Mme Coindy asked what was the matter. She told me he was saying that the goat was going to eat him. I had been saying oui goat mangez thinking that the goat was eating. Unfortunately I had been confirming that yes, the goat was going to eat him. Dang! Come to think of it, he will probably develop a phobia of turkeys as well.

I have to run, I love you and Adam and miss you more than I thought possible. Please give Adam a big kiss. And prepare him that Nedi will be possessive.

Love so much

#3 - Sunday, November 4

It's raining again and the internet connection is affected by cloud cover. I'll be brief. I am definitely feeling the prayers offered up in my behalf. Yesterday was a good day, but all I could think was that I have three more days to go. I got depressed and wanted to be home more than anything. I still do, but have undergone some sort of change. We took an ox cart into the valley- near the mountains. I can't begin to explain or describe what I experienced, but I am a changed man. I saw poverty like I never thought possible, but I didn't see misery. I saw a proud, beautiful people with sparkling eyes- especially the children. What a blessing to be able to speak french. Sister came along and I was able to talk with her and when we stopped at a "village" I'll explain later when I get home. I was able to communicate with the children. We've said it before, but they are absolutely beautiful. Haiti is beautiful (in the country side).

I have spoken a great deal with Mme Coindy and today got to eat lunch with "Mommy Duncan". She sought me out because she heard there was a french speaker and she speaks no english (I have been acting as the official translator by the way- dang my french is rusty!) What a nice lady- toured her school. Nedi ate a slice of pizza the size of his head! Mme. Coindy is an excellent cook.

I am sorry but others are waiting and I must go. You are so brave to have come by yourself. What an adventure!

Love you and love Adam.

See you on Tuesday!


I edited them a little bit, but I left all the relevant stuff intact. I'm suddenly very grateful that there are no goats or turkeys in our neighborhood.

Saturday was a busy, busy day. Adam and I went to my niece's baptism and spent a good part of the day with my brother and his family. I had so much that I needed to do on Saturday, but between the baptism and the car crash that had freeway traffic stopped, by the time we got back home there wasn't much time left in the day. I did stop and buy the new mattress that I wasn't able to do on Friday night, and bought some sheets.

Although it probably wasn't the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon, Sue helped me finally get the bunk beds set up yesterday and Adam was thrilled. The recently installed ceiling fan is going to be a temptation for him, but as soon as I saw his eyes light up when he sat on top of the bed I knew exactly what he was thinking. Our most recent family rule was immediately implemented:

Me: NEVER, EVER touch the ceiling fan.
Adam: But I can touch it when it's not on, right?
Me: NO. NEVER, EVER touch the ceiling fan. Got it?
Adam: Yeah, I got it.

We'll see how that goes.

Adam's teacher forgot to send home the report for Friday so I'm not exactly sure how the day went. Adam and I compromised - no television on Friday or Saturday, but then he was pretty much a zombie yesterday watching shows that he hasn't seen since the tv restriction went into effect.

Tonight my friend Nathan is going to take his truck to pick up the new mattress and we'll have Noah's new bed all ready to go when he gets here. From the sounds of Phil's messages, Phil might have to be his sleeping mate for a few days. Tonight will be my last night without two little boys in the house. Today is my last full day at work for awhile too. Everything is about to change.


velofreak said...

Never, ever take Noah to a petting zoo! Poor kid will probably pass out from fright!

kj said...

I can send Adam pictures of the staple in Keni's skull to help scare him if you'd like. It only took one "touchy" of the fan to convince her never to do it again. Well, I'm assuming that was enough, we'll just have to wait and see. Good luck on that one, btw!