We spent our first two weeks in Haiti living upstairs at the orphanage. It was a great period of immersion- living in close quarters with all the children really helped us develop relationships. Sometimes it was difficult for us and our children, because there were always kids wanting to talk to and touch us. But, it was really worth the sacrifice of space and privacy in order to have that time at the orphanage. We were able to attend nightly chapel time as often as possible, and our big kids had many late nights staying up with the teenagers to chat and have impromptu Creole lessons.
Several days ago, we moved into a nice little house that we are renting until the future orphanage boys home (which will first be our home) is completely ready. The children at the orphanage were so sad when they first saw us load up our things in a car to bring to the house. They surrounded us, and kept wanting us to stay longer. We promised them that we were only moving down the street, and that we would be back every day to eat dinner and play with them. They couldn’t believe it – I think they just expected us to leave for good! Sometimes they still ask us, “Are you coming back tomorrow?” It is so beautiful to see the friendships that our kids are making here. Even the Haitian teenagers love my little children, and light up every time they see them.
The move to a house has helped our family to have a little bit of space and privacy – we can now have a quiet family prayer time at night and our kids can do their homeschool work at home before heading to the orphanage to play in the afternoon. The puppy loves having a yard to explore – she especially likes finding a fallen coconut to chew on. We are only a short walk from the orphanage, so the kids can walk back and forth and we still have plenty of time visiting there. We had to accept a lot of help in order to move – the teenage boys from the orphanage carried beds and mattresses, the cooking ladies supplied our home kitchen with simple foods, orphanage workers helped us find bleach and ant spray and other essentials. It has been humbling to accept so much help. We have been given such a warm welcome by the orphanage kids, the staff, and everywhere we have visited.
Now that we are becoming more settled, we are craving a bit of routine and a way to fit into life here. Soon, Ryan will begin working regularly at the clinic and helping with administrative work there. It has been difficult to begin much work yet, because a fever has been working its way through each member of our family. Also, the internet can be very intermittent, so communication is difficult. Routine is often a challenge here – often days are spent waiting… for the internet to work, for transportation, or supplies. It is a different pace of life, and it takes flexibility and patience!
JP playing in the orphanage playground
Eliana loves making Andre laugh
Olivia can always find a girl to play tea party with