I can't believe how thrilled I am to be back in Haiti. I feel so much more at home here than in Canada. Wierd to say... but it's like that old TV sitcom, Cheers (yes, I was a bit corrupted as a child to watch this as a family show). Norm always loved going to the bar, cause that's where everyone knew his name. He was at home there. I could definitely say that of Haiti. There is no striving to feel like I belong, I just do. Despite my blazing white color and blond hair, no one here seems to even notice anymore. They are quick to embrace me, to be sincerely happy to see me, ask how all the kids are and hug me some more. Even the lady at the Natcom office where we get our internet and phone service. Love it. They do, however, always remark how I've gotten 'gwo', bigger, even if I have not gained weight, cause in Haitian pleasantries, this is a highly flattering comment- not one I particularly enjoy, but accept because I know they mean to compliment me.
This trip is going to go by too fast. I can already tell. I left the kids behind in Canada, much to their dismay and contrary to their begging to come along. We've all missed Haiti this fall, (although it has been one of the most beautiful Canadian falls we've had), but since they are still engaged in various activities, I could not bring them and I can only stay away from them for a short time. It's a new feeling to travel without the herd of kids in tow. I actually went into a grocery store in PAP the day we landed and DIDN'T buy anything! It was a rereshing feeling to be saving money, since I didn't have anyone to buy something for! No diapers needed, no special cereal or snacks... wonderful.
I traveled down specifically for the Grand Opening, but with James Roberts (our Canadian HA vice-president) and a team of electrical guys from Eastside City Church. I was glad to have Olive Ralph, Roy's (aka Papa Noel) wife, join us as well as Edna Vega also from ECC, so I was not the only female. Hard to compete with all those die-hard Roughrider fans. I did manage to force them all out of green and into their Haiti ARISE team t-shirts though before entering Haiti, even James! He's such a rebel at heart, but who can resist complying with a sassy, bossy female. :) So they are all working hard to get the elecrtrical worked out and installed in the new Tech School shops. We've purchased a new generator to power the shops and James and Bill went on a shopping trip to get all the supplies. And the team brought lots of stuff along in our bags.
We also have three great couples here long term- Wade and Marilyn Fitzpatrick are back as Team Hosts, Paul and Diane Sampson are here to work in the clinic and in the mechanics shop, and Laurens and Louisa VanVliet are here as our Agriculture and Goat Program Developement Coordinators. It is such a pleasure seeing God's provision for what we need in the way of skills and human resources. Laurens and Louisa are busy getting the grounds ready with landscaping, Diane is painting the clinic, Paul is working with the team and servicing all of our inverters, batteries and fixing AC units, and Wade and Marilyn are moving things around to prepare more rooms to fill with all of our guests coming for the Grand Opening. We have about 40 more people set to come Nov 10-14. Can't wait. It's going to be such a blast with some of our best friends and partners here with us to celebrate. So, we are all working hard, getting things up and going... I, of course, am making sure everything has enough money to get done and preparing for some artistic decorations, and taking lots of fun pictures as I go. Look, we have a new sidewalk going to the clinic!
Last word. I of course am sooo thrilled to be back with my amazingly handsome husband. I'm complete with him.