So I’m writing this report from the Port-au-Prince airport, but posting it later when I’m safe in my hotel room in Miami. I got through security, immigration, and everything else super quickly so I have about an hour and a half to kill. Cool and lame at the same time.
Today was hard. I’ll just be honest. Today was hard.
I mean, it already kind of sucks that my flight was so late that I was in the “ready to go” mind set, but I didn’t actually leave the Guest House until close to 2. Therefore, that’s almost a full day’s work before leaving and so things were as crazy as they usually were. It was weird and difficult to be in the “ready to go” mindset but also stay in the “ready to work and deal with life as usual in Haiti” mindset.
Also strange was that absolutely no one was ready to see me go. I mean, when I left the States, most people did not really want me to go – they would have preferred for me to stay there and have a great summer with them. However, they knew that this was such a great opportunity for me and most everyone was super supportive and weren’t upset to see me go.
This was different. Now, again, most were happy that I’d get to see my friends and family – but they weren’t excited at all about me being gone – especially since I’ll be gone for 2 and a half weeks. Mike did not want me to leave (he even threatened to rip up my passport a few times), Oge and Erick did not want me to leave, and many others expressed their sadness over me leaving. The worst, though, was saying goodbye to my boys.
I told you that yesterday they were already upset. The fact that I was leaving was a reality that was never far from their minds. But yesterday was nothing compared to today. Today, Robenson was outside my door at 6:30 a.m. sharp –when he knew my alarm would go off. I shooed him away for a short while so I could get dressed and pack up a few last minute things. By the time I came outside, though, he rushed and gave me a big hug saying, “Pa ale, Beth. Pa ale.”
He was soon joined by Davidson who also gave me a huge hug and showered me with kisses. He quickly joined Robenson in the “Pa ale” chant. I just hugged them back for a while before I had to let go to go to breakfast. It was then that I knew today was going to be difficult.
In a little over an hour, I had a whole group of boys standing outside the office wanting to talk to me every time I walked by. Their time with me was precious and it was running out. They all knew it. However, I often had to say “pita” (later) because I was busy doing other things.
When I finally saw Oge this morning I asked him how he was. He responded with, “Sad.” Yeah.
Again it is just so amazing to me how I’ve become so much of the fabric here. In just two months I have built such strong relationships, and become such a vital part of the daily life at the Guest House. It’s definitely been a God thing. I knew that God wanted me to come here, but I didn’t know just how much I would be affected as well as how much I would affect others.
When it was finally time for me to load up the van to head to the airport, things got really nuts. I went inside the Swiss House to grab my things and when I walked outside I was greeted by Robenson. As soon as he saw my big suitcase, though, and realized that I was really leaving… he had tears streaming down his eyes. Soon, Davidson saw me and came over. As an act of love and kindness, he grabbed my laptop bag to help me carry it to the van.
By the time I arrived at the van, Robenson could barely control himself. I kept on trying to tell them that it would be okay and that I was coming back. I also kept on trying to remind them that Bryan was coming today so they could have some fun with him. Nothing seemed to work, though.
Once all of my stuff was loaded in the van, I started my rounds of hugs. Only 3 kids were there so I started with Robenson first, trying to give him a comforting hug. He didn’t hug back, though. It almost seemed like it was just too hard for him.
I then gave a quick hug to McKinley who was making fun of Robenson crying. We told him to stop, but boys will be boys – and he let up a little, but not a lot.
The hardest one, though, was hugging Davidson. Davidson had been pretty happy all day. I mean, he gave me more kisses than usual and held his hugs a lot longer and told me not to go… but in general he seemed to be in a decent mood. However, when Davidson walked over to give me a hug I saw the tears start to well up in his eyes. By the time I had my arms wrapped around him, he had become a puddle of tears. I held him there as long as I could, but I had to let go so I could get on the road.
Davidson was especially difficult because I know he was thinking that he would never see me again. By the time I come back, he’ll be living in his new orphanage. Apparently, Mike had told him several times that day that I would be visiting him when I came back, but that never helped. Each time he thought about me leaving and that fact that he would be gone by the time I came back – he became very upset. That moment in my arms was when he lost it, though, was tough. It’s extremely difficult for me to think about it now without breaking into tears, myself. It was hard to be strong for them in that moment, but I knew that if I lost it, too – it would be worse.
Mike asked me how I was doing once we were on the road. I said I was okay and he said, “Well, you’re doing very well considering what you just went through. I think I would have lost it.” I said, “Yeah. I just can’t think about it. At least not yet – maybe when I get to my hotel room tonight.”
So now I’m on my way back to the States – or at least, I’m in the airport waiting to board the flight to the States. I’m leaving Haiti with a mix of emotions. Excited to see my friends and family while also totally bummed to be leaving my friends here in Haiti. I suppose that’s why I also feel extremely blessed and glad to be able to come back and continue my time here. I know that God has called me to this place.
Sending peace and love your way. Hopefully I’ll see many of you soon. :)
Edit: I am now safe and sound in Miami, heading to Kansas City tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers for safe travels!