TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
May 11, 2005
Yesterday, I returned from a two day trip to Port-au-Prince. On this particular trip, I had hired a driver for the round trip journey and had taken with me two girls from the orphanage and one birthmother. We traveled to Port-au-Prince to complete some of the many necessary steps in the adoption process. Since this was my first adoption-processing trip since arriving in Haiti, it also became a learning experience for me. We would travel to various locations with our adoption facilitator in her extended cab mini-pickup. The bed of the pickup was an enclosed “cage”, complete with two benches for the many passengers that she often takes to and fro. On this particular occasion, there were at least 13 of us packed into the vehicle, all going for a different purpose to different locations. We skirted through the roads of Port-au-Prince, dropping someone off here and going on to there and then back again to pick up those we had left off at previous stops. The mission for my kids was to get passport photos, get an ID card for the birthmother, get a passport for one of the girls, and to take another to the pediatrician, and to the lab for blood work, and to the psychologist for development testing. While zigzagging through the mountainous streets, the cell phones of our facilitator and her assistant were constantly ringing informing them of paperwork completed, of locations that they needed to go to, of progress reports on other adoptions. Wherever we stopped, there were people coming up to the vehicle to inform them of the progress or lack of progress that was occurring at that particular location. It was a fast-paced and interesting day!
My time was spent mainly with one of the girls, while the other went with her birthmother to other locations. First we had passport photos taken. We entered a narrow alley and then squeezed into a small room that served as a photo studio. This appointment went quickly and was quite painless. The next trip was to the pediatrician. My little one saw the white coats and heard children crying, so she immediately expected the worse. When her turn arrived and she needed to remove her clothes and her shoes, she was very apprehensive. Much to her delight, no shots were given and her fears were alleviated. But then the next stop! The lab brought the dreaded needle and with it the tears and the rekindling of fears for our following visit to the psychologist. We had a long wait for the psychologist to arrive in a small stifling hot waiting room, eased slightly by the presence of one lonely, struggling fan. My little one became restless and I helped appease her with a small container of applesauce. She discovered that it was “sweet like candy or maybe like cookies”, as she would explain to us. She also thought she had me all figured out. If she fussed enough, I would give her something else sweet. After all, when she cried at the lab, I gave her a lollipop and when she fussed at this doctor I gave her applesauce. Kids are very much alike in ANY country. When the doctor finally arrived, my little one was not very excited to see her until she learned that it would be fun at this doctor. She got to stack blocks and color and jump and play ball with the doctor. She turned from a not-so-friendly child to one that wanted to stay and play all afternoon. Somehow, this reminded me of Leonie Izidor and the suffering she now is enduring. I pray that she too will have sorrow turned into joy. I pray that her sadness will give way to the good memories. Each day I see her improving by being more and more involved with the ministry needs at hand. But each day is still a struggle for her. Please continue to pray for her and for the family as they heal from the loss of their dear family member.
While in Port-au-Prince, I had some personal things to attend to. I, too, had my passport photo taken (at a cost of less than $1) to complete some necessary paperwork. This paperwork will allow me to assist our adoption facilitator by transporting some of our adoptees to the states, when their adoption is complete, to be united with their new families. I am VERY thankful for this opportunity, as it will allow me to be a familiar person to our children as they travel to their new homes. It will also give me a chance to go the states more often than I could normally afford to. I hope to seize this opportunity to speak about our orphanage and the needs of the children of Haiti to churches and schools in the community where the children will be living. My next task was to stop at the immigration office to get an extension on my visa, as my current stay here has exceeded 90 days. I was more than apprehensive when I learned I had to leave my passport with them for one week, but delighted that the fee was a mere $6. I learned later, however, that I had asked my driver to go into one of the more dangerous parts of Port-au-Prince, as this location is the scene of frequent shootings. What a price to pay to comply with government regulations! I thank God we were able to get in and out of this location with no such incidents!
Ahhhhhhhhh! Now I am back home in peaceful, beautiful LesCayes! It is such a contrast to crowded, dusty, and apprehensive Port-au-Prince. Oh, to no longer be bouncing down the highway from here to there! Behind us are the rain-slicked and muddy graters! Almost gone from memory are the non-existent stretches of highway! Almost forgotten are the truck-swallowing sized potholes! Remaining is an aggravated, previous tailbone injury from a similar Haitian road trip of several years ago. How quickly one forgets how bad that road really is! I have to equate this traveling experience to childbirth – it is horrible going through it, but once it is over, one somehow forgets how truly painful it was! It indeed brings a new meaning to PRAYING FOR SAFE TRAVEL! For those of you who were keeping me in your prayers for this most recent trip … THANK YOU!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic
Until next time ………….