Friday, July 30, 2010

Day Six

April 26, 2010

Well today is the day. We are going back to PaP. It was sad to say goodbye. Many came to wish us farewell and safe travels.

The ride back was crazy. We took tons of people with us. We had Lucas. I held him for a bit until Domo made his mom take him. We found out his dad was the ref at the soccer game and his mom was here the whole time. She and Lucas were going to Orlando the next day. But his dad lives in PaP. We took the two dental boys back to PaP and Fabian to a city to visit her uncle. We had a few others too. After we dropped a few off I got in the bed of the truck. It was full of luggage and a chicken and people. But I like it back there better then inside. Amber about killed the chicken by stepping on it a few times. It is hard to say stop when you see it. All I could say was ‘chicken chicken chicken chicken!’ I think she got the point. But the poor chicken was in a bag with only his head sticking out. We had blown the spare tire the other day. We stopped in Les Cayes to get it fixed, that didn’t work so we had to stop again in the next city. That time it worked. This fixing of the tire was nothing like I have ever seen before. Using a crow bar to pry the tire off the wheel, hard manual labor, no fancy machines. The did have a compressor that they used old string to start it. The took the part that gets filled with air and put the part that was punctured over a flame and put something over it to melt to back together. Then putting it all back together. I was so impressed that these things got done by hands, we are so spoiled in America. And to think this is what these people (there were so many places to stop for this) that do this work every day. We also saw a few of the big wheel barrel looking things, (it is more of a trailer of a semi size) made of wood without a top full of heavy things that men walk from place to place. They make so much money but that specific job takes years off of their lives.

We stopped a bunch again. The ride back was quicker by fifteen minutes. The river that was too high before was now ok to cross. We went through a bunch of markets, scary! We about hit a bunch of people and that continued throughout the trip. People, cars, motorbike. I swear Doorville is one crazy driver. I heard Domo was even mad about it. We stopped again at Domo’s cousin’s. They had cherry juice and a gingerbread cake. We got to see the students there in school. They all yelled ‘blan blan blan!’ when they saw us. It means white. They were riled up. I felt bad for disturbing the lessons. They have cute pink uniforms. We were back on our way. Riding in the open air on top of the luggage through the dusty roads. We saw pieces of road destroyed from the quake. We also saw a couple huge boulders down. He found out a car was under them until a few weeks ago. There was someone in it. Wrong place at the wrong time. Story of the Haitians life that day for too many. I got a lot of pictures of destruction.

Once we made our final drop off in PaP Amber and I went inside the truck – the sun was so intense we were starting to burn and the smell in PaP is just horrible. We saw the palace, it was starting to be torn down. We saw the cathedral, what a sad sight. I found out later that Domo shared a story of where he was when the earthquake happened. He was driving and there was a little girl, nine he thought, was walking on the sidewalk. They have walls between the homes and sidewalks. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The wall fell on her right next to Domo’s truck and all he could see of her was her head and an arm. How awful that must have been to witness.

We made it back to PaP safe and sound. It was a relief to be back at M25. But I still missed Chateau. We put all our stuff where it belonged and claimed tents. Then we decided to go to the Sisters of Charity orphanage. We weren’t even sure if it was still operating but we wanted to see and try.

What an awful sight. When we got there we had to bang on the door. Someone came and Domo asked if we could help. She said no one has since the earthquake has volunteered but she would ask if we could. After that we were let in. We got there at 3:30 and we were going to have to leave by five. We walked through to the babies and children.

I can’t imagine letting children live in these conditions. We were told that their main building was damaged during the earthquake. All the kids were gotten out, but the building had to be torn down. Many kids were sent back to parents, another orphanage or started adoptions were expedited. They were down to about 60 from 150. Two tents (the ones you sell food out of at a fair) came into view. You saw men working on the ruble of the old building. I figured it was shade for the men. I was wrong. As we got closer you could see cribs in the tents. These kids were living in tents with no walls in blistering heat.

As we walked into the tents all you could hear and see were crying babies. It was mealtime so we got to help feed a few. There were older children in cribs too if they were hooked up to an IV. The older children that could feed themselves and were not hooked up to anything were at a small plastic table. John, Brian and Fr. Dave went to play and talk to them. They found a football so John and Brian were tossing it with the kids. They were running around men working on top of ruble with bare feet. How unsanitary. Most of these kids are sick. How can this be safe? How can anyone let kids live like this? I know they are fed and cleaned here but beyond that they get nothing. No love, no attention, no safety measures. No one is looking out for them. It breaks my heart to see these kids. The older ones are all smiles to see us and play. There was a little boy there who wouldn’t ay his name. The little girl said his name was Blan (white) – he was very pale. How sad that he is ostracized because of his coloring.

I went back into the tents. I was handed a bowl and told to feed a little girl. She was the only one not sitting up. I didn’t understand until I looked closer. This girl was nine months old, her bracelet told me. She was as skinny as my son was when he was born nine weeks early. She couldn’t even sit. I picked her up and held her as I fed her. She wouldn’t look at me, she didn’t make a noise, she was blank. Clearly neglected and malnourished. She only ate a little bit. The bowl was finally taken away from me. The little boy next to her was screaming his head off the entire time. He had one leg over the rail. Every time I went over to talk to him he backed away. I figured he was terrified of me. After a while of holding the little girl and not getting a response out of her I put her down. I looked around. There was a little girl across the way without a diaper on. She had open wounds and I saw the diaper was off to let some of the wounds breathe. She had over twenty flies swarming her. We all were scared to pick her up, not knowing whether we should or not and there was a language barrier with all the women working. I feel so bad I never picked her up. She needed it most. There was a little girl hooked up to an IV. I asked her what her name was. I can’t remember, but her smile lit the entire room. She was so happy to be asked a question, to have someone to talk to. She didn’t ask me anything and I couldn’t ask her anything. But we shared a moment and I pray it made a difference.

That little boy was still screaming so I grabbed him. Before I lifted him, as soon as my skin touched his the screaming stopped. He just wanted to be held. To feel loved. His name was Edison, he was a year and a half. He clung to my shirt for dear life and I broke down. How do these kids thrive without this? Without being held? I am crying with all the other babies because I can’t give them what they need and they aren’t getting it anywhere. Before I finished my thought Edison was asleep. He felt safe and loved, I am sure he hasn’t felt that good in a long time. I cried at the thought even harder. It is really hard trying to hide that much emotion from everyone. Every time I tried to put Edison down he woke up and would scream and cry again. He wouldn’t let me put him down. It broke my heart. I want to take him home so bad. I finally put him down to hold others. They all need to be held. Edison followed me with his eyes, the stink eye, as he cried watching me hold others. I went back to Edison a couple times. I was so pulled to him. Sue handed me a little girl. She was a year old and maybe nine pounds. She was blank too. I hate to see kids like that.

I went to the other tent (I couldn’t handle Edison crying, it hurt me too much), these kids were more sick, most hooked up to IVs or too sick to do much of anything. How horrible to see. Tiny babies, skinny kids, you could see the sick through their eyes. They need so much help. I went back to the other tent because there weren’t a lot to hold. I went back to Edison and spent the rest of my time with him. When it came time to leave I was bawling. I didn’t want to leave Edison, or any of these kids. They need our touch and love. I had to put Edison down and the tears fell from his eyes again. I kissed the top of his head and told him I was sorry. I bawled as we left the tents. John put his arm around me and told me I needed to stop, that the whole van would be crying.

I pulled it together until we started driving again. Seeing the camps and people living in the medians. I can’t understand how anyone can accept this as their life. But they don’t know any different and they don’t have a chance to make it better. I cried again. I can’t even comprehend what they go through. I can’t even process what I am feeling right now.

We made it back to M25 and I cried again remembering everything. People kept trying to talk to me but I couldn’t speak. I was going to start crying again. I couldn’t get those faces out of my head. I took some time to decompress. I went to the roof to try and get a picture of the sunset but I missed it. The moon was up and beautiful. It was right about the camp and I snapped a picture of that. A little girl came up and grabbed my hand. She was one of the cook’s daughters. I wanted to cry all over again at this gesture and looking at the camp. We exchanged names. Her name was Lovely. She was so sweet and just wanted to be near us. I wish I could have had a real conversation with her.

I called home then to let my parents know we were back and to start the phone tree. It was good to hear their voices but I was still so emotional. I couldn’t talk long.

We had dinner, lasagna. It was a treat in the cook’s eyes. After that we all bought stuff to take home. I bought a lot, but next time none of it will be there. It only took almost five years but I had plans of putting them up on my empty walls. All my walls are empty, I have tons of empty picture frames. It only took Haiti to give my walls a plan.

After that there was this guy who cornered all of us. He just wanted to talk but he isn’t the best communicator and I think has a seniority complex. We went to bed early, sort of, to get away from him.

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