Monday, March 26, 2018

Holy Family Catholic High School- Safe, maybe not sound

The day began pretty early at the airport and almost everyone was ready to go and on time!  A little miracle in our own right.  As travel days go, things went pretty smoothly.  Flights were on time, students were exactly where they needed to be when they needed to be, and Mr. Dols was even treated to First Class from Atlanta to Haiti.  Although he enjoyed that stretch of the trip, the others in back thought it was a little bumpy, especially the landing.  Some poor guy spent the landing speaking to the bottom of the paper puke bag!!!  The airport in Haiti always proves to be bustling with activity. No matter how many times you try to convince people to not give up their bags, we always end up giving generous tips to those who help us.  At the end of the day, it is not that big of a deal!

We loaded the tap tap, our chariot for the week, and took off toward the guest house.  We were met by Christa our host for the week.  What a warm and friendly welcome.  After some initial rules- like no shoes in the house, if it is pee- let it be, you know, the usual- we met on the roof of the guest house.  There is a concrete patio that is beautiful and has a terrific view of the sky.  We took several deep breaths and took in the fact that after all our planning, we have arrived.  The excitement of the group cannot be contained.

We settled into our rooms, 3 girls rooms and  boys room and 4 bathrooms!  It is an awesome new building.  We are also the only group here this week, so we have the run of the land.  We had our first meal together which was basically walking tacos on a plate.  It was satisfying after the long day of travel.

All the students went to the yard next door to meet the neighborhood kids.  I will let Emily talk about that experience.

Hey its Emily!  After traveling all day through chaotic airports, we finally settled into the new guest house.  The excitement ran high from the morning on and built up rather quickly when we finally heard the announcement "The Delta team would like to welcome you to Port-Au-Prince".  We all sat down for an amazing meal that the nice ladies prepared for us before we got here.  Next, we had a meeting on the roof of the house.  The sun shining on our faces we listened intently to the story Mr. Dols told to us.  He talked about how we should go about having this experience we are on, as he so wonderfully put it, EAT THE STRAWBERRY, or rather to enjoy every second we have in the present.  Do not worry about the past, the home we left behind and the families we miss, or the future ahead, the water truck and the orphanages.  Embrace every opportunity!  We quickly jumped on starting our experiences together.  After dinner, we headed to the lot right next to the place we are staying.  Although we did take a few minutes to watch the baby goats before finally making it into the lot.  We were greeted by big smiles from the neighborhood boys who were playing soccer there.  Immediately, this little girl came running up to the group of us.  She wanted love and attention and no one was about to not give it to her.  Soon enough I found myself being taken by the hand and right onto the soccer field.  This game was intense.  Lots of tripping and falling but one thing above all else was the laughter we all shared together.  Many of the boys would ask us our names and then continue to repeat them over and over again to distract us from kicking in a goal.  I always knew my preschool soccer team would help me someday and that was today.  After successfully scoring three goals,  I found myself playing with this small girl that ran up to us just a few minutes earlier.  She could not stop smiling the entire time I held her.  Her name I later found out was Rebecca.  After about a half hour of holding her and swinging her I was covered in sweat.  She finally detached herself from me and headed to play with the other little girl in the lot.  But, just as soon as Rebecca left the smaller boys challenged us to arm wrestling.  Oh boy that was even more of a challenge then playing with Rebecca.  As we were leaving, it was harder to leave than I could ever imagine.  We had all created relationships with these children and teenagers in less than a few hours of hanging out with them.  I look forward to more nights just like this first night and creating friendships throughout the next week as well.

Also Hi Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Nick.  Love you and miss you and this is your letter for you to know that I somehow made it to Haiti without getting lost or losing any of my luggage :) I only left my carry on at the security in Minneapolis for about five minutes before I remembered I had left it in the line.  Be home soon, don't miss me too much!