6:45am came way too soon for our tired traveler’s bodies! However, it only took about 2 minutes for everyone to pop right out of bed and get moving – today was a big day! Braeden is having the hardest time with “Haiti time” which means that there is no rush for anything, and if you’re supposed to do something at a certain time it means “give or take 15, 20, 30 min”, waiting for food, waiting for driver, waiting to leave the hotel room…etc. It is amazing how much we are conditioned to just go-go-go and move on to the next thing in America! Here – you savor the moment, and before you get up to savor another moment, you savor the one you just had again and maybe find another old soul to chat about it with!
This morning was their first time to “see” Port-au-Prince for real. Last night it was pitch dark when we came home, so they hadn’t had a chance to take it all in. The drive to the Orphanage today was looooonnnngggg – tons of traffic, and slow-going. We made our normal stop at the Stop-n-Go grocery store, where they helped pick out some pate (pah-TEE) for lunch, some cookies for the kids, and chips and drinks to share with W for lunch time. They were very excited to see lots of familiar US brands of food and drink! I think they were unsettled and nervously excited about their introduction to W today because they were all very quiet on the drive out.
When we pulled up to the orphanage, Abby immediately hopped out and rushed over to pet the “wild dogs” as she calls them! (I still have no idea what breed they are – but they are all over and there is probably 20 of them at least at the orphanage outside. They all look the same, kind of like a Dingo! haha!
It was so sweet, we got out of the car and the kids chanting up on the balconies had already started – all in creole, “Blan, blan, come up here” or something similar. However, as soon as Kris and I walked around to the front, the kids started squealing and laughing from upstairs and it changed to “KWIS!!!! LOH-RAH! KWIS! LOH-RAH!” Nice to know they all remembered us 🙂
Our kids got the full-meal-deal with the littles this morning as it was a school day for the older kids, so they got to play with toddlers and make pipe cleaner glasses and bracelets, play silly counting games, and just cuddle, hold and laugh for 3 hours before he walked home. They each made a “buddy” with one of the littles, finding one that just connected and attached – they were completely in love! Despite a weather report of more thunder and lightning continuing all day, it was hot, sunny, and probably 95 with NO breeze for most of the day. By the time noon came rolling around we were all playing in puddles of sweat (or pee, I’m not entirely positive it was sweat…I did clean up a puddle of pee today, and got peed on twice!)!
When the trickles of kids started coming home, our kids ran to the bars of the balcony watching for W. They were just literally on pins and needles all day, anticipating his arrival! When we finally saw his group round the corner we all raced downstairs to see him, and met the group out on the dusty driveway/soccer field. He walked toward us with a big grin and upon seeing my open arms, jumped right up for a huge hug, within 30 seconds the whole family was in one huge bear hug, most of us crying, (or trying to hold it together) it was seriously a massive culmination of years of waiting for this moment for our kids – it was such a sweet experience!
When we all pulled apart (because I was in the dead center and could feel myself roasting like a suckling pig), I introduced him to each of the kids and he said each of their names with a big smile. We got him inside to change out of his school uniform – he got a new uniform for 1st grade – it is absolutely smashing!! – and saw that all the kids in his room also graduated to little beds rather than cribs! It was so great to see! His bed is smallest of all, and has disney cinderella blankets on it! LOL!! When he’s 16 he will be mortified to see those photos, but they really don’t seem to have much gender designation when it comes to toys, or decor, or preference, or colors.
I helped him change out of his uniform and we took him upstairs to play! He took instant liking to a mini football we brought, and a riotous game of keep away ensued – culminating in one eruption of tears from another little one who got his head banged on the iron bars! We quickly switched gears and got out his dominoes! We decided to bring back a few of the special things for him that we had last time we came, so we brought his water bottle, dominoes and cars, and kept pretty much the same expectations as when we were here before. We brought lunch food (pate) for him, and drinks, and a treat for him to share with the other kids – he seems to love this, still loves to share everything he has with others. He takes a bag of chips, eats a few, then doles out chips a few at a time to all the kids within close proximity. When we gave him his favorite orange Gatorade, he took one big sip, then proceeded to share a drink with Abby, Logan, Braeden, Mommy and Daddy! We have told the kids, if he offers or shares – even if you don’t really like it or want it, you accept it and say thank you – part of the bonding!
We really couldn’t have asked for a better day – we had about 2.5 hours with him this afternoon, and played baseball, put together a lego race car (It didn’t seem like any of them had ever seen legos before? But they were enthralled and he was SO smart putting it together with Braeden and some of the big kids! I now know what will keep him busy when he comes home! 🙂
W would grab the kids hands to show them things or to go places – it was so sweet! He was not shy at all, he let them ask and then gave hugs in return, and we got lots of hugs when we left for the day (with promises of nap we demen! – see you tomorrow!).
We still can’t seem to figure out what is up with the internet, I think the storm yesterday just whacked it completely off its rockers. We can’t seem to iMessage, text message, or upload any photos at all, (very frustrating), and we didn’t receive anyones text messages until this afternoon that were sent last night! So – like everything here, we just take it as it comes and have patience!
We had a nice debriefing dinner back at the hotel, and all the kids kept repeating how incredibly sweet he is, and how amazing the day was! Today we also brought W’s nanny the bag of cups, spoons, baby/toddler clothing and little shoes! They were SO thankful! All the nannies gathered in the supply room going through it all – I tried to tell them we have more to bring tomorrow…!
I’m going to sign off to try to see if I can get some photos to upload…crossing my fingers!
Tomorrow we have all day (10:30-3:30 or so) with W so it will be another long one! Hopefully there will be a breeze up there! 🙂
We are all so stinking exhausted…but the kids are trying to talk us into calling down to the restaurant to order up some dessert! Right now they are suffering through the lame movies that mommy downloaded on the iPad before we left town! Stinky that the internet isn’t working because we can’t load any netflix or stream any content! (might be a bonus for us because we’ll be going to bed early! haha)
Okay, off to figuring out photos!