Wow. It has been a long time since I last posted. Wrapping up this chapter of my life in Haiti was and is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. I guess I’ll start where I left off…if I can remember that far back. Be prepared…it’s going to be a long one.
We had two groups, Seattle Pacific University and Westerly Road Church, that overlapped. I sincerely enjoyed meeting and getting to know everyone who came. The amount of work we got done was great. The two groups together nearly finished the floor of the language school. It was a lot of hard work, heavy lifting, and dirty clothes. Liz left for the DR for most of the two groups, so it was hard missing my better half.
Toward the middle of the trip, group members asked to hear stories from the earthquake. Dessalines volunteered to share and we all sat around and listened. Following his story, Frantzdy, Dieph, Nathalie, and Jean shared their experiences as well. These people are my family. Spending so much time together, they are such an important part of my life and my story now. As I watched and listened, my heart broke for them. When all stories had been shared, there were very few dry eyes. I, myself, broke down feeling their pain as if it were my own. And when my brother, Frantzdy, came over and curled up in my lap weeping, I could only hold him as tight as I could and wish I could take it all away. But I can’t. No one can. And all I can do is stand on the sidelines, know that I will never understand even a fraction of their pain, and realize that some things, once broken, may never completely heal. That’s hard.
After that…I threw out my back. Yup, you read it right. Sneezing, again. I really need a better story…or a better body, for that matter. Fortunately, I had an awesome mom, Naomi, who took care of me. And then mom number 2, Liz, showed up the next day. What more can a girl ask for? Oh, yeah, and then there was me being carried on my mattress to my room by about 8 strong men. (We put the mattress in the lobby during the daytime because I didn’t want to be all cooped up in my room all day.) The terrible pain aside, I was living large for those few days. (the pictures of this are too embarrassing to post)
The groups left and Liz and I went back to life in Croix-des-Bouquets. My back started to feel better little by little and I started packing things away for my trip home.
Friday night, there was a “surprise” good-bye party. I don’t like being the center of things nor do I like compliments, so I was a little uncomfortable as they went around all saying thank yous, etc. I deserve no thanks. I should be the one saying thank yous. That aside, the things that were said were really beautiful and I really enjoyed being able to spend time with people I truly care about before I left. (This post is way too emotional…I apologize. This is out of character.)
Now I’ll move on to Saturday morning, the day of departure. I said my goodbyes to Nadege and Manit, and kissed a sleeping Stellecy on the cheek, tears welling up in my eyes. Valentin, Liz, Dessalines, Wesley, and I headed to the airport around 6:30am. Saying goodbye to Liz, especially, was really difficult. My time in Haiti would have been impossible and empty without her beside me. I wish I could say beautiful things about how much she (or you, Liz, if you’re reading this) meant/means to me, but the words are choked up in my throat. So, back to the trip: the line outside the airport was INSANE! Valentin talked us toward the front, using my back injury as ammunition. He asked for a wheelchair, which I needed after being pushed around in the line for a while. This got me through everything quickly. Once we hit immigration, I had to say goodbye to Valentin, my Haitian papa. That was hard.
So, I was wheeled onto the airplane around 8:45am (flight scheduled to leave at 9:05am.) I was sitting in my seat in agonizing pain, when I got lucky. The airport worker at the front door liked me (a little too much) and kept coming in to check on me (sometimes to ask for my phone number, email, facebook, etc.) He saw I was really hurting and was able to put me in a first class seat. As annoyed and irritated as I was by the way he was hitting on me, the first class seat made it all worth it. Some hassle caused by the hurricane caused a back-up at security, meaning the plane didn’t take off until almost 11:30am (2.5 hours late.) I missed my connecting flight in Florida and had some trouble getting assistance between terminals with my bags and myself. They got me on another flight that actually worked out well, though. The people in the row behind me, however, were drunk and obnoxious the entire flight. But I made it home to my mother jumping around in the airport with her arms open. In-n-out burgers and mom’s famous “chocoflan” wrapped up the night.
So, here I am. Back in San Diego. Feeling homesick for a country whose passport I do not possess, but who has kept a piece of my heart. Missing my friends and family there while preparing for the next chapter of my life here. I have about 2 weeks before I head up to school. I don’t know what the transition will bring, but I know that my story in Haiti is not finished. I don’t think it will ever be.
As my adventures come to a close, so does my writing. Thanks for following me along this incredible journey of mine! Stay tuned…you never know what’ll happen.
Until next time,