Returning to Haiti is a gift. There are things about life here that I treasure very much. This trip especially, returning was special. The thing about coming through the Port Au Prince Airport is that you just never know who is going to meet you on the end of that long walkway. Nobody? One person? A family? My dog? It's always a surprise. So how wonderful was it to be united with two of my friends and roommates. The same people who helped me leave so suddenly were the ones who greeted me as I re-entered the now familiar world of Haiti. Reunions are incredible.
And I was also quite aware of the almost comical differences between Haiti and the world I had left in the US:
Seatbelts, airbags, & defensive driving vs. crammed trucks, open windows, & chaos. Sometimes I think driving in Haiti is more like one giant game of Chicken.
Paying for gas with a debit card without having to talk to a person vs. riding in a taptap when the driver cannot count out correct change.
Airconditioned restaurants and organic vegetables vs. street spaghetti that somehow makes avocados, an egg, a banana, mayonnaise, hot sauce, ketchup, oil, spices, & spaghetti noodles taste amazing.
The quiet of closed off houses with central air vs. open air, noise from a soccer game outside on the street, passing motos, & the breeze bringing in the 20's-sounding music from the lady downstairs.
The obsession of cleanliness and germs vs. kisses from kiddos wearing no pants who want to hold your hand, play with your hair, and share your water bottle.
And there are memories that make me smile. An older lady in Jubilee breaking into a run to come and say hello. Getting tackled by a teenage boy who is grinning from ear to ear. Being run over by my not-so-little rottweiler, who then proceeds to follow me around. A little boy who went straight for the lips, no kisses on the cheek. Being reunited with our staff in clinic, & to hear that their prayers had been directed at me. Listening to a Dad hold back tears as he tells me of how thankful he is that he still has his son after we helped him get to a hospital in Port Au Prince.
Neighbors, friends, patients, pets, staff, roommates, community.
"Now if I'm walkin' through the rain
And I hear you call my name
I will break into a run without a pause."
The Avett Brothers