Thursday, September 17, 2009

Haiti - Day Nine

This is the day that we leave the Mephibosheth House. We spend one last morning with the kids – Mary has brought balloons to make water balloons. Needless to say, they are a big hit. We have a last meeting with the staff, sharing our thanks and appreciation for their work. They express appreciation for our time with them.

We leave around lunch time and Joe drives us to a Haitian Art Gallery in Delmas for a shopping opportunity. We then make the trek to Petionville. Petionville is the wealthy area of Port-au-Prince. It is quite a drive from near the airport where we have been staying at the Mephibosheth House. It is more crowded with vendors on the streets. Traffic is more hectic. There is clearly more money here. We make a second stop at a shop where local crafts are sold. It is our one opportunity, other than duty free at the airport on Friday, to buy gifts or souvenirs.

We finally arrive at our hotel, our home for our last 2 days in Haiti – El Rancho. It is a hotel that most Americans would be quite comfortable in. We are thrilled because there is air conditioning. There is water pressure and hot water. There is a pool. There is refrigeration. There is a mattress on top of a box spring instead of simply sitting on a frame. Even sitting outside is more pleasant as we are higher in the mountains and the air is cleaner and the breeze is cooler. We’re relatively certain this is what heaven will be. We have free time before dinner. A few of us check email and shoot off a quick message or two. Others take advantage of the air conditioning for a nap.

This is the beginning of the re-entry process. When traveling to such a different culture from one’s own there is an element of culture shock – even if you are not consciously aware of it. Traveling back home, the same thing applies. There needs to be time to process and talk through the thoughts and emotions being experienced as we ready ourselves to leave this place. One thing is certain, no one goes home unchanged. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the experiences, they all work together to change you. We hope, for the better.

1 comment:

  1. Judy:

    Thank you for your chronicle of this mission. I cried over Valentina and you. I'm sure everyone there did, too. I meet you at the airport.

    Lee Walters