After a long and exhausting journey we are finally here, in Haiti. After so many years of waiting for the right moment to return, and after months of planning, it feels very surreal to be here, and to see our kids in this place.
Haiti is a different world. The sights, sounds, smells, textures, everything seems filtered through a different light. It’s almost like experiencing everything through completely different eyes.
We left Austin on Monday the 4th of January. Luke, Olivia, and John Paul had their first plane ride, and their reactions were priceless. Luke was terrified, and wouldn’t let go of my arm at first. He squeezed so tight! He insisted on having his window shade down, and didn’t want to see what was outside his window. After I reassured him and promised that we would be safe he relaxed, and even allowed me to open his window. Then he realized that this was actually fun and amazing, and he loved watching the runway recede as the plane took off. John Paul laughed and laughed, and Olivia tried to get a view from the middle seat.
Finally we made it to Port au Prince, and although the baggage claim was the usual bedlam, it was not as bad as I’ve seen.
We made it through customs to the helicopter, and despite my doubts, the pilot was able to fit all of us and all our luggage. Emma got to fly in the copilot seat this time. I had John Paul on my lap, and after a little crying, he fell asleep mid-flight, poor guy. Luke and Olivia had the time of their lives, they have no idea how lucky they are.
When we landed at the field near the orphanage, there was a huge entourage to welcome us. Somebody grabbed each of the kids, and they were gone before I could look up. They were so excited to see our kids.
After supper they offered a special mass on our behalf, and it was so sweet. Sister Florence said some very kind words about missionary work, and how wonderful and special it is for our family to be able to serve the Lord and serve the poor in this way. After the mass there was a special presentation to welcome us, and then the orphanage kids danced for us, and they served cake, and partied late into the night.
Poor John Paul was a little shell shocked because everyone kept trying to pick him up. Luke just ran with the boys, and I kept seeing flashes of him at various times. Olivia is very popular with the girls, and just ran and played all evening. Selah drew a crowd with her balloon animals, and Eliana and Emma found many friends.
The house we are planning to live in is not ready yet, so we are staying upstairs at the orphanage. It is fun to live right at the orphanage with all the children, although it is a bit uncomfortable to be living out of suitcases.
We’re looking forward to getting to know all the people here, and to begin our work at the St. Mother Teresa Clinic, and to many adventures. Please don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and our email list for updates.