Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just Another Afternoon!

August 24, 2009

1:35 p.m.

I load the empty crate of glass pop bottles in the vehicle and then help Jayden get into his car seat. I'm both excited and nervous. I eye the big white land cruiser for a minute and then sigh. "It's just hard the first time," I tell myself. "Once you've driven this thing once, you'll feel a lot more confident." I've never been the most confident driver, and it seems every time I get used to a vehicle for some reason or other it gets switched with one of the other program vehicles and I have to go through this all over again. Not only is this vehicle standard, I can drive standard, but it's also really big and clunky. This is my first time driving it and the roads and traffic here in Port au Prince are just not that forgiving. "Here goes", I sigh, I push my leg up and then hoist myself into the driver's seat. I pull the bench two feet forward and then take a moment to pray. Here in Haiti, I never drive anywhere without praying first. With the roads, traffic, and unfamiliar vehicle, I need God's protection more than ever. Trusting in His safety and protection I start the vehicle and check the gauges. Good, the fuel is over half a tank, we're not supposed to drive around with less. Everything else looks normal. Meanwhile Anoud has opened the gate and is waiting for me to back up. I fight with the stick shift unable to get it into reverse. Sweat is pouring off me now and I turn the A/C on but it doesn't take me long to realize it's broken. Hot air blows at me full blast and sweat starts to drip off my whole body. In the back Jayden whimpers and then says "Mama, too hot! Mama, too hot!" I turn around to look at him and notice he's completely wet with sweat as well. I check the doors to make sure they're locked and then roll down my window a few inches. "Once we're driving the wind will help, Jayden." I say soothingly, as he continues to cry. "Wally?" he asks. I hand him his water bottle and then fight to put the land cruiser in reverse once again. This time it works. As I back up and out of the gate, Anoud looks questioningly at me. I just smile, thank him and wave, and then focus on getting out of our potholed street. The road just looks like a dried up river bed and every time we have a storm the gullies and ruts just become worse. Finally I pull onto the asphalt, and although its worn out too, it is a lot better. After 10 minutes of fighting traffic, maneuvering over terrible potholes, ridges and ruts, I finally pull up alongside an iron gate. I take a moment again to thank God for bringing us here safely . After unbuckling Jayden, I gather all my supplies and head for the gate of the Manassero Orphanage. Excitement blossoms up inside me. It's my first day working at the orphanage.

2:05 p.m.

I survey the group of girls and check through the list of names. Sewing classes have started and our first project is making pillows. This will give me a good idea how advanced each girl is. The girl's names are Phara, Renise, Mikerline, Isguerda, and Cherlye. The youngest girl is 13 and the oldest girl is 20. All of them live here in the orphanage called the Light House. The girls are friendly, polite and eager to learn. A group of younger girls have surrounded Jayden and he spends the next two hours playing with them. I wonder a little about what that much attention is going to do to him, because it seems like no matter what mischievous thing he does, they all laugh and think it's the greatest thing ever.

4:00 p.m.

I help the girls clean up the sewing machines and supplies. Some of the pillows are almost done. I see heart pillows, and rectangular ones, blue ones and pink ones, each unique and very pretty. I can tell from this project which girls are more advanced sewers and which are beginners.

4:10 p.m.

Time to go home. Jason calls to say he's already home. Sewing class is done for the day. Jayden seems a little tired too. Maybe all that attention was a little too much. I'm definitely more comfortable driving now. The only glitch comes when I need to cross four lanes of traffic and the traffic lights aren't working. After a few minutes of waiting, vehicles stop to let me turn, but then my front wheels become stuck in a giant pot hole just as I'm trying to turn. This causes confusion, some vehicles start crossing in front of me again, and those behind me start to honk. I push on the gas, fight with the wheel and check for traffic all at the same time, as the land cruiser leaps out of the pothole. Horns blare, but a few second later I'm on the road I'm supposed to be on, without incident. God has kept us safe once again.

4:20 p.m.

I stop on the way home at the grocery store and help Jayden out of the car. The air conditioning is working in the store and we stand in the entrance for a moment enjoying the coolness. As I grab a loaf of bread and some milk, Jayden escapes. He races down the aisle laughing and it takes me a minute to catch up. Some store employees help me catch him and I'm embarrassed. He just giggles and then makes a dive for the rack of balls. I should have grabbed a cart. After helping himself to some candies, which I instantly proceeded to confiscate and return, the cashier lets him choose a lollipop. So much for parenting around here! Oh well, he's happy, and contently sucks the sticky lollipop all the way home.

4:25 p.m.

I check my change but realize I don't have enough left to exchange my crate of empty glass pop bottles for a new crate. Oh well, I guess I'll have to do that tomorrow, when I go to the orphanage again.

4:30 p.m.

Home again! Jayden runs up to Jason and gives him a big hug! Then it's my turn. After sharing stories about our day. I go heat up the dinner I had made that morning.

And that ends just another afternoon in our lives here in Haiti.


  1. You've been looking forward to doing this haven't you Will! How often do you hope to be working at the orphanage? Do you bring the fabric etc with you?
    Praying for you all.
    Love, Anne-Marie {& family:)}

  2. Hey Will
    Really interesting day... its neat because now i can just imagine that I'm there... and Jayden... I know how u feel when its too hot! especially when the cars just don't seem to move eh buddy? I miss you! and Will, I can just imagine all the fun your having with those girls. I love you all!
    Love: Esther

  3. Good for you with the sewing class! haha, I can just picture Jayden, acting out for all those girls, loving all the attention!

    Take care Will... say hi to Jay and give Jayden a big fat kiss from us!

    Love Anita