Friday, December 25, 2009

Mom and Dad in Haiti

Saturday, December 19

It's 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and Dana and I are relaxing on the couch in the living room chatting. At lunch we had participated in a Christmas cookie exchange and now full of cookies and snacks all we feel like doing is relaxing. I like that with friends you don't have to necessarily "do" anything and we are perfectly content lying back and just talking. A half an hour later, we hear the familiar beep, beep, beep of a car horn and I jump up. They can't be here already? Jason's parents' flight was supposed to arrive sometime after 4:00 so I didn't expect them here till at least 5:30. Jayden rushes to the door as Anoud opens the big heavy metal gate. Sure enough it's them! They look relaxed and happy and we soon here all about their amazing flight. I am so thankful! Last time they came, they had a bad experience, (check blog post in July), so the difference now is like night and day. Unexpected first class seats, delicious meal served for free, zipped through customs and no problems with their luggage. Very unusual for Haiti, I must admit, but I am glad! The sun dips down lower in the horizon and as soon as Mom and Dad's suitcases are inside I decide to drive Dana home. I prefer to drive before the sun goes down, especially when I'm driving by myself, since Port au Prince is, well Port au Prince, and I do need to be careful. The vehicles we drive here are not very reliable and I'd hate to get stuck on the side of the road in the dark. Night has fallen by the time I drive back, but I arrive home safely and can't help but be excited! It really is great that Jason's parents are able to spend Christmas with us, and I am definitely looking forward to the next two weeks!

Monday, December 21

Monday morning starts bright and early. Out of bed at 6:15 and on the road at 6:45. Traffic in Haiti in the morning can be crazy, so in order to make good timing to get to Wahoo Bay we need to be on the road before 7:00. The ride is uneventful for the two Jays and me, but Mom and Dad see all kinds of interesting things. Haiti can have a big impact on all five of your senses, but since this is Mom and Dad's second visit they seem a little less shocked! Just knowing what to expect really helps a lot! By 8:00 we are at the beach and spend some of the day enjoying the ocean. As I watch the waves churn up the sand and clouds flit across the blue sky, I can't help but wonder; is there a storm on its way?

Before we drive back we enjoy a beautiful sunset.

That night, bronzed by the sun and lulled by the waves we contentedly drive home.

Tuesday December 22

I double check our bags and then do a quick tour of the house. Windows closed, taps off, crumbs cleaned up, looks like we are ready. Jayden is already in his car seat and Mom and Dad are putting the last bags in the pathfinder. Today we are driving to the airport. As we drive I quickly go through the route in my mind. We don't really go by street names and It's been a couple months since I've driven to the airport last so I hope my landmarks haven't changed. People with special T-shirts on, clean the streets and I wonder for a moment if they've cleaned up the "goat pile" the landmark I need to get to the airport. Thankfully the garbage pile full of scrounging goats is still there and we make it to the airport without a single wrong turn. I'm relieved. As we walk to the terminal I worriedly check the sky. Something really seems to be brewing.

Dad gets to accompany Jason on a flight to Hinche and is amazed by the traffic on the runway. Goats, motorcycles and people all crisscross the runway oblivious to the approaching airplane. Thankfully they clear before the plane touches down.

After they return all of us make our way to the airplane. Since the airplane needs to be refueled. We wait on the grass by the MAF hanger. Jayden enjoys playing on the grass.

After strapping in the luggage and fastening our seat belts we taxi to the active runway and are soon on our way to Jacmel.

Within minutes a tired Jayden is fast asleep, his head held upright by the airplanes' seat belts.

The flight is beautiful and as I gaze out the window I take as many pictures as I can. Haiti from above is amazing.

As the airplane circles for landing this is what we see.

When we arrive we are greeted by a missionary who Jason flies and he takes us to our hotel. From our hotel, high up on a cliff, we have a great view of the ocean below.

That night the storm comes in. As thunder booms and lightning flashes I burrow deeper under the covers. Minutes later the sky opens and rain pours down. The land that has been dry for so long is finally getting rain. What a blessing.

The next morning I pull open the curtain expecting sunshine, but am greeted by a grey sky. The wind has picked up and the rain hasn't stopped. After breakfast we relax on couches, huddled under blankets! 22 degrees in Haiti feels cold for us, and since we don't use blankets normally it's a treat! After lunch the missionary comes back to pick us up and we visit "Haiti's home for children". He and his wife take care of 22 Haitian children in their home and after visiting with them and getting to know them better we hand out presents for the kids. Soccer balls are a real hit with the boys and the girls excitedly open their beading kits.

Other toys include note pads, pens, sandals, water bottles, hacky sacks and hair accessories. The boys don't waste anytime and are soon playing with the soccer balls outside.

After visiting another missionary's home where we hand out more gifts we head over to our second hotel. The rain has finally stopped, but the roads are muddy and many trees have fallen down in the storm.

When we reach the hotel the sun peaks out again and we jump into the still stormy ocean.

No Haitians are swimming today and they tell us they believe the ocean is angry.

That night the sunset is amazing.

December 24

We wake up to a cloudy morning, but within an hour the clouds have dissipated and we spend more time in the ocean and relaxing on the beach.

The cove we are in is amazing, surrounded by cliffs but we can't help but laugh as more and more people gather on the cliffs and sit for hours watching us! Jason has fun with this and using his good grip on the language spends a long time talking with the people. I take my tube out as far as I can and enjoy getting tossed by the big waves. Jayden makes sandcastles and soon makes friends with some of the other Haitian boys.

That afternoon we pack up our belongings and make our way back to the airport. As we pack Jayden pretends he's riding the airplane.

On the flight back, Jason flies over Canopy Verte, a massive tin shack town where Denise and the kids lived before we arrived. It is truly incredible to see all the thousands of tiny shacks crammed together.

The ride back home is uneventful, or as uneventful as driving in Haiti is, and we are happy to be back. As soon as Jayden gets inside he dashes for his Thomas the Train that his Tante Annedien has sent along. We were worried he would lose it during our trip to Jacmel so we hadn't taken it with us on our trip and he now refuses to let it out of his sight. As we put away our belongings and make sandwiches for dinner I feel content. Home in time for Christmas.


  1. I just read the blog. It's so awesome that you update it all the time it helps us get a better understanding of what life is like out there. Love you all and hope you have a good time with Mom and Dad

  2. great pictures and thanks again for the update! Sounds like you're enjoying your Canadian company and keeping them hopping! Have a blessed time together!

  3. Happy Birthday Will! I hope you had a good day and pray that you may have many more returns of the day in good health and with your family.

    Love Ang