Monday, May 30, 2011

here are the haps in 2 countries ...

Joanna T. arrived to take care of the tribe in Port au Prince. Dr. Jen and Geronne are also there for reinforcement. Troy, Paige and I headed to Texas.

Paige will be in Tejas for a couple of weeks then head to the Land of 10,000 lakes for a while. We’re heading home to the tribe in PAP very soon. Our trip has been so productive and fun.

We had perfect travel out of Haiti to Florida and Texas. We mocked the unhappy complainers that were instantly annoyed with an imperfect situation or a short wait. Troy did his rendition of the video above while Paige and I snickered.  We're "that guy" now - you know, the big jerks that you should never complain about dumb things to ... especially not ten minute lines in beautiful temperature controlled climates. First world problems produce zero empathy from us.

Some acquaintances that recently left Haiti for good said they didn’t want to be “that guy” either but that they wondered if getting back to the USA might just be a little bit boring because at some point people that live in Haiti grow accustomed to having to fight to accomplish anything in life. It is not uncommon to have two or three confrontations a day while trying to go about your life and work.

For example, if I run to the nearby Deli Mart store (a smurf size grocery store) to grab a few staple items, I’m prepared for nonsense. It is not uncommon to grab the stuff I need and get to the counter only to learn that one of the items has no price, therefore I cannot buy it. I might attempt to argue that they look up the price, but that would likely be too logical. “No, sorry, you cannot buy it.” I might then say something like, “You do recognize your store exists to sell this and other items and if you don’t price it you’ll never make a profit from this item, right?” The cashier would then drill a hole through my head with her angry stare. When I hand over the cash for my purchase the cashier would examine each bill and hand back any bill with a small tear of any kind. I’d complain but she wouldn’t budge. She would then hand me change comprised of mostly ripped bills. On the way to the car three or four kids would come beg. When I refused to give them any cash they might kick my car as I pulled out. I would arrive home feeling like I had not only purchased a few groceries, but I had conquered the world in that I had not allowed myself to get annoyed or lose my cool as nothing was easy or simple at the expensive Deli Mart register. We really do grow used to this way of doing business. Negotiation and added conversation and communication is a part of doing life.

So we arrived to our hotel after our flights from Port au Prince and when the lady checked us in she was incredibly pleasant. I would go so far as to say she was delightful. She had the exact room we asked for at the exact price promised and when we asked what Internet would cost she said she’d just give it to us complimentary because the storms had caused some trouble and it seemed a bit slow. She asked how else she could help and she wished us a pleasant evening. She never gave us a reason to argue.  We conquered nothing. No sense of accomplishment. Where is the sport in that? We left her counter thinking, “ She was way too nice.What does she want from us?”

We’re enjoying hot showers and smooth roads and delicious Tex-Mex along with a few days of the oh-so-coveted married people away from kids time. Rawr. All parents of small children know that rawr means NAPS and 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep ...  And then of course there is the other 'rawr' that takes place without planning or plotting - just whenever you feel like it. It's totally fabulous I tell you. All of it!

I always have some reaction when I leave Haiti and land in the U.S. It is unexpected waves of emotion. It is not guilt. Back in the first year or two it might have been close to anger, it is not that either anymore.

I always just feel the heavy questions surrounding injustice and a deep sense of gratitude that we are so very privileged to know these two vastly different realities and worlds and to appreciate the depth of beauty and suffering in them both.

In Texas:
3 for the price of 1 - Troy's original package-deal (1998-2002)

In Waco with Britt and Chris

The real reason for our trip was not to engage in romance (that's the bonus) or to sleep (that's the bonus bonus). The real reason was to interview and HIRE these two talented people.  We're thrilled that Jimmy and Becky have agreed to bring their years of experience and education to Haiti to teach seven Hendrick and Livesay kids this fall.

I sat across the table from them in Heather and Aaron's temporary home thinking "How did we score these people?!?" They are a gift to both of our families and we're excited for the next school year. I know the kids are going to love them.

Jimmy has worked with high school students for several years and Becky has a ton of experience with elementary students. Please be praying for them as they plan and prepare to move  - hopefully in late August.

In Haiti:
Joanna and Jen report that the kids are happy and doing well. Sunday night they went to John and Beth's house to have pizza and visit the puppies.

Jen leaves Haiti in a couple of days, her time in Haiti always goes way too quickly for us. We love her and will miss her presence so much again. She hopes to be back before summer ends though, so we'll tell everyone to wait till then to get sick and look forward to her return.

Jen shared this with us ...

Happy Memorial Day Monday ... hope y'all get to enjoy some variety of rawr today too.