Saturday June 16th 2012
Bleary eyed and disoriented most of us stumbled around trying to figure out whether we were coming or going. A nice cool shower, a shave, and a fresh clean pair of clothes for travel, we were one by one getting ready for the long ride home. Our final breakfast together was filled with prayer, laughter and stories of the past week, a truly fantastic way to end this journey. As we gathered our belongings, purchased our last gifts, distributed passports and documentation, the anticipation of finally being on a plane home started setting in on us all. Loading up and pulling through the iron gates for the last time I was finally ready to go, ready to be home again. I had come to this country with a simple goal, tear down a building, with that goal complete; I found myself leaving with so much more, more than I could ever have imagined obtaining from this little tropical island and its people.
The airport was controlled chaos, people moving you here and there; the same issue we had previously upon arrival in country with baggage handlers reared its ugly head as we unloaded from our bus. John C took the front, Paul was in the middle and John G and I took up the rear of our group ensuring no one was separated or bags grabbed. A few of us purchased some last-minute gifts before entering the boarding area, while others just made their way upstairs. The terrace was crowded and hot but at this point no one cared. After an hour we loaded and were finally on our way. The flight was quiet and uneventful, (except for the reemergence of the corn muffin) most of us were quietly enjoying the in-flight movie, or sleeping.
Landing in Miami the winds were blowing very hard and our arrival was hair-raising to say the least! As we deplaned heading into the terminal there was an indescribable feeling that came with walking on American soil. There is something to be said about the freedoms we Americans enjoy on a daily basis. It takes experiencing the trials and tribulations of another country to fully grasp this immense gift we have been given, it is the reason people fight and die trying to reach American shores.
We all gathered for one last dinner together before catching the last leg of our travels home. During dinner every one of us was plugged back into society. 8 days with little cell phone use and an abundance of conversation, now with little more than 5 hours left together we all were texting, Facebooking and catching up with family and friends. Cody called his mom the minute we landed in Miami, giving her a short synopsis of his adventures. I called her sometime after that and relished in hearing her voice. I couldn’t wait to land in SF and see her face.
The 5 hour flight was uneventful and in the blink of an eye we were face to face with loved ones. Our dear friend Alisa (Maggie’s mom) drove her commuter van down to pick us up. When they pulled up curbside my wife was hanging a welcome home sign out the window! We all hugged saying our last goodbyes as Paul and Mason went their separate ways with family and friends. Climbing into the van sitting next to my wife for the ride home the whole trip seemed surreal. A years’ worth of planning, fundraising, meetings the anticipation of going and it was all over, done, we were home. Sharing our stories of adventure with Alisa and my wife Jacy the trip home went very quickly. My body was exhausted; there was a numbness that took over as we made our way to the house at 1 am Sunday morning.
Hot water! Hot water flowing over my body in copious amounts! Soap and a towel smelling of bleach; the sound of little Parker snoring while Jake sleeps quietly in the bunk above him, being home is grand. Slipping into a clean shirt and shorts, I stroll downstairs, peek in on Jessica then over to check on Cody finding him completely passed out, his dog Cricket (who he missed more than family) snuggled up to him lying under his arm. I whisper Goodnight son, thank you for coming with me on this great adventure, I love you. Then slowly close his door as Cricket raises an ear at the creaky hinges.
Climbing into bed, looking at my wife lying next to me sleeping I feel as though I may be the luckiest man alive; a nice house, a soft bed, a woman who loves me, food in my refrigerator, an awesome family, wonderful friends and a great job. When I left for Haiti my feelings were that of a married man with a wonderful family, yet I didn’t have enough, I wanted more, feeling as though with budget cuts at work, an increased workload (both at work and home) and a severely dwindling income our lives were becoming extremely difficult. Over ten days I learned what difficult truly was, I also learned how to be happy even content with my life in those same ten days. I learned from emulating my Haitian friends.
A Haitian is thankful for each day
A Haitian is thankful for the food on their plate
A Haitian is thankful for friends and family, willing to do anything at anytime or anywhere for someone in need
A Haitian is thankful for God’s love
A Haitian believes every little moment is a gift from God
A Haitian believes hardship instills belief and all hardships can be overcome with a willing attitude
A group of Haitians changed my life forever. I am filled with joy, love and appreciation for all God has blessed me with in this life. For that I can never repay them, I pray for the little group in Leveque and hope one day I can revisit this special place to sit and worship in a brand new church. A church built with love and devotion from many caring hands who know there are no obstacles that can’t be overcome with God’s help.
And to our church group; the nine of you are amazing human beings. You are all caring, loving, hard-working people who I am very proud to call my friends. We may not talk everyday, we may only see each other once in a while or only know what the other is up to through Facebook but there is one thing we will share for eternity. It will bind us till the day we leave this earth.
I love you all, thank you for the time of my life..