So today was a good day, a weird day, but overall it was mostly uneventful.
I definitely had the "last day" cloud looming over me all day, though. I told the boys today that I was leaving for the United States tomorrow. I instantly had three boys clinging to me, some crying, all saying, "Pa ale! Pa ale! Pa ale!" (Don't go! Don't go! Don't go! in Kreyol) I told them that my family misses me and I miss them. I said I needed to see my manman (mom), papa (dad), and frere (brother.) Eventually they resorted to begging me to call my mom and tell her that I'm not coming.
They were begging so hard that finally said, "Okay, I'll call my mom and you can talk to her." Suddenly the sadness turned to 3 giddy boys - way too excited to talk to my mom. Luckily, she picked up and I was able to pass the phone around to all three boys for each of them to say, "Hello," How are you," and "What is your name?" It was adorable to watch as they all tried to steal the phone from one another to talk to a woman they had never met before. Because she was my mom, though, she was special.
Within an hour, all the boys in the tent city knew that I was leaving and I was having waves of boys coming by. They offered hugs and kept on asking me if I was really going tomorrow. After I told them that yes, I really was going, I was instantly asked, "When are you coming back?" In the afternoon, Stanley came to visit and said he had something for me. When I came outside, he presented me with a bracelet he and Robenson made for me - complete with Argentina colors. Very touching - it will be a while before I take that off.
I always knew that I was loved here, but the response I got when they found out I was leaving really showed me how much I had become a part of the fabric here. I'm definitely going to miss them when I'm gone.
As a "last hurrah" before I return home a group of us went out for a really nice dinner tonight. Mike, Ablamy, Davidson, Oge, Doug, and I all went to the Karibe Hotel/Conference Center to eat at a buffet that others had told us about and said was delicious. They weren't kidding - best meal I've had in Haiti. They had amazing beef, cucumbers(!), pumpkin soup, and the best balsamic vinaigrette I've ever had - although it may have tasted that good because it had been so long since I last had it. Delicious.
We also called Hal (who was here at the beginning of my stay) to say hello. He's currently in California and doing well. Also called was Donette, as she's gone in the Bahamas, Nate, and Bryan - as his flight got cancelled today to come back to Haiti. Instead, he's coming back tomorrow after I'll be going through security in the airport. Very sad - definitely put a bit of the damper on the day, but at least Bryan will still be here when I return. It was good that we got to talk to him tonight, though, as well as everyone else we had the opportunity to talk to. :)
Anyway, now I get to go take a shower and pack. It's so weird to think that I'll be headed back to the States tomorrow. Although, I'm spending tomorrow night in Miami so it won't really be "home" quite yet. When I get to KC around noon on Sunday I'll be happy.
Sending blessings your way,