I didn't update during the whole hurricane ordeal. I'm sorry. Very sorry. However, as you can imagine, life was crazy during that experience and the last thing I wanted to do at the end of each day was write on this. I hope most of you kept up with me via Facebook, though, and weren't too concerned as to if I was okay.
It all began Sunday when I started to have concerned teams talk to me about what our plan was if the storm moved our way. I made a few calls home (mostly to consult with my dad, my own personal semi weather expert) and at that time it was determined that we didn't know enough about the storm to know if it was going to hit Haiti or not so teams shouldn't feel concerned about coming.
About Wednesday, though, it became apparent that the hurricane was going to hit Haiti. It was unknown if it would be a direct hit or not, but people were beginning to prepare for the worst. On that day, we had Mike and Bryan's going away party on the Ola Esmeralda - a "floating hotel" in an old cruise ship. (Previously used to house UN officials.) It was a wonderful lunch in a neat setting. However, it was basically empty. We found out that even they were preparing for the storm and were actually going to set sail early the next morning to leave port.
That afternoon, we wrote up a plan. At that time we decided it would be best to bring all of our teams from the field back to the Guest House. We also had to buy extra food, gas (for the generator,) and a ton of extra water.
Once Thursday came, we picked up two teams from the airport and decided to keep one our teams out in the field. By Thursday at noon, it seemed as if the storm would not really affect that work site and so we figured it would be best to have the team stay there. Thursday night, we had a FULL house and lots of anxious people curious to see what the storm would bring.
The actual storm was rather anti-climatic, though. Port-au-Prince received some light rain, but that was about it. We did have one heavy rain storm on Thursday night, but seriously - nothing major. The biggest deal, honestly, was that it affected communities that our teams were supposed to work in - or affected towns on the way to communities our teams were supposed to work in. Therefore, we had two teams hanging around the Guest House for two days waiting to get to their work site. One of the two teams actually had to change work site plans because their project would be unreachable for about a week. Crazy, eh? Lots of organizing to do. Luckily, both of those teams are at their work sites now and all is well.
Now for the sad stuff. First of all: Robenson.
So on Wednesday, in the midst of the hurricane craziness, a woman who lived near Robenson and his mother came with Robenson to talk to us on Wednesday afternoon. We took a break from planning and talked to them. In this conversation we learned that apparently Robenson's mother had been beating him a lot. The woman was quite concerned for Robenson and told us that she did not think that staying with his mother was a good idea.
We went into a bit of a panic - trying to figure out how to help Robenson - MY Robenson. Eventually, Robenson's mother came to talk to us. She explained that Robenson was acting out a bit (as any 12 year old (yes he turned 12 yesterday) would do) and she didn't know how to deal with it any more. In Haiti, the way to correct poor behavior is to beat a child. The beatings weren't working on Robenson and she had reached the end of her rope. After dealing with losing her husband, house, and income, and surviving in a tent for the past 10-11 months while trying to support 3 kids including one baby... a child going through normal pre-teen stuff was the last thing she wanted to deal with. That night she said to us, "I don't want him to live with me anymore."
So now we're trying to find a place for him to stay. A good, healthy, loving place for him to stay. We have a few leads but prayers would be much appreciated as we move forward. Mesi anpil.
Lastly, Mike and Bryan left today. It looks like Bryan will be back to help out in January, but it will be a while before Mike comes back. Mike may come back for a few days in February, but that's about it. He may come back for a more extended time in June, though.
Needless to say, it was very difficult saying goodbye to them. Both for different reasons, but I'm going to miss them both quite a bit. They had become my family here and so it already feels lonelier without them. Luckily, though, there was enough to do today to keep me busy so I didn't dwell on it too much. Also, Tom is here and moved in and Susan Meister (our calendaring coordinator based in the States) arrived today to get a better feel for what goes on here. I know that there will be a lot to do to keep me busy during these next few days. It's still going to be tough, though, adjusting to not having Bryan and Mike around. Very, very tough.
Anyway, I'm off to bed. Sorry for the super long update - just had lots of stuff to share! Lastly, I'll leave you with this: http://new.gbgm-umc.org/about/us/mv/haiti/responsestaff/ It's official!