Monday, November 8, 2010

She's back!

It's 6:30 Sunday night and already dark outside. As I put the last few dishes in the cupboard I hear a knock on the gate. Maybe it's Denise? The thought flashes through my mind but I hardly dare hope. We have been unable to contact her since Friday morning and with no money how could she get back? Still curious, and half hoping I crack open the front door and slip out into the darkness. Anoud has already opened the little door in the gate and I hear voices on the other side. Walking towards the gate a voice that sounds just like Denise's reaches my ears. I run the last few steps as the little door cracks open. Sure enough there she is. I run towards her and give her a hug. "Mwen sal twop." (I'm too dirty) she protests, but I don't care. Am I ever happy to see her back. "I prayed so much for you Denise," I tell her, "and I'm so happy to see you. But how did you get back?" "Well after the tap tap that was supposed to take me back to Port au Prince turned around and didn't refund my money, I had exactly enough left for one more ticket. So I promised myself, no matter how hungry I got, I wouldn't use it for food, because otherwise I'd never get back home." I take a step back and look her over as she steps under the light. Wow, she really is dirty. Black unruly hair sticks out in all directions around her head. Dirt smudges her face and arms. Her clothes are filthy and clearly portray how thin she's become. "Ou tro piti Denise!" (You're too small/skinny") I exclaim, and she laughs at me. "Mwen pa mange anyen." ( I didn't eat anything) she replies matter of factly. Anoud lifts the sack of whats left of her belongings and she makes her way up the steps. The kids who've been singing for days "Mama ap vini" (Mom is coming") seem happy to see her, but she insists on washing up before touching them. As soon as her belongings are put away she gets to work heating some water. "Let me do that for you I tell her and take the pot out of her hands. I'll make you something to eat too, you go sit down." She laughs at my bossy tone, and then thanks me. I quickly get to work boiling water for her bath, making grilled cheese sandwiches, ice tea, and for dessert a big piece of reeces pieces chocolate square. As soon as everything is ready I hand over the food and she finally sits down to eat. Once she's finished I question her more about her trip. "How come you didn't just fly back from Jeremie?" is my first questions. "I couldn't hear Mr. Jason on the phone when he was talking to me," is the reply. "All I could hear was loud rushing noises." "Were you scared during the storm?" "I was really scared, and the bus station, or tap tap rendezvous, was right by a river and it kept rising and rising." "Where did you sleep?" There was a little building where they parked the tap taps at night, that's where I slept, but it was so horribly dirty." She shudders. "The first night we tried to get back, our tap tap got stuck on the side of the road, so we all slept sitting up in the tap tap." I sigh. I honestly can not imagine what that would be like. "If I don't go back to visit Jeremie for another five years that's soon enough for me," she then tells me. "Next time we just have to time it right with flights," I tell her. "Five years is a long time to not see your family!" She agrees, and then I ask her more about her visit. I'm happy to hear her family is doing well health wise. Her Dad although "very old" according to her, still has a garden to supply food for the family. "My Mom bought a goat with part of the money I gave her," she tells me proudly. "What is she planning to do with the goat?" I ask. "Well, it's their emergency fund. In case of an emergency they can sell it and get a good price for it or they can eat it and use it for food." I'm quite impressed by this since most people don't plan ahead. "I bet it was nice to see them and your brothers and sisters." "Yes," she replies, "the visit was really nice, but the trip, well that's another story." She then looks closer at me, as if to see if I've worked myself to the bone while she was gone. "I really worried about you doing all the laundry by yourself," she tells me. Seriously? She's stuck in a hurricane and she's worrying about how I can do all the laundry by myself? "Well scrubbing hours by hand didn't go so great," I finally reply, "but then Christine came over and helped me with her wash board and rapid washer, and I've just heard about a new, even better method. "What's that?" she asks curiously. "Fill the bath with water and soap, put the laundry in and let Jayden jump on it." "No way!" She exclaims. "Oh yes," I reply grinning.


  1. SO GLAD she's home safely! I hope she's clean when I come over tomorrow, because she's going to get a hug from me, too! :)

  2. i love this post! amazing story :)
    adorable washing method

  3. Uncle Chris & Aunt JudyNovember 8, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    Why should we be surprised? You are a genius at improvising even in the most challenging circumstances! Very smart!

  4. So good to hear she has been brought back to you and Anoud and the kids!! She spent quite a long time without food! I try to imagine her worrying about your laundry while being hungry and stuck in the hurricane.. she's amazing! I'm glad she is back!

  5. hi aunty will, uncle jay, and jayden!

    that is just so jayden to be jumpin' on those clothes in the tub. i'm so happy that the hurricane did not hurt you too much!

  6. Ha, ha, ha! I love the "new washing machine"....what a great solution to your problem!
    Glad Denise made it back safely.
    Take care all...Love Henry and Jenny