There’s a ziplock bag full of poop sitting on my shelf, and I wonder if it’s really only been 2 weeks that we’ve been back. Meds litter the countertops- children’s Tylenol, eye drops, Pepto, antibiotics, ibuprofen, and Gatorade packets creating a new medicine station. Wildaneise lays sleeping on the couch across the room. Yesterday it was Jantzy who fell asleep in the same spot after crushing his fingers in the door. Two days before that, Maria. Shaggy goes to switch the laundry. One more knock on the door. Water boils on the stove for macaroni noodles.
Ray and Bonnie are out for the month, their absence strongly felt.
We got back two weeks ago (May 31st) after stopping in the Bahamas, Port-au-Prince, and Pignon. We flew in MFI, the old DC-3 inching its way back to Haiti.. back to the kids we’ve come to love.. back to the humidity.. back to our class of 7.. back to the loud and the crazy.. back to some of the fullest, and yet most draining, days.
To call the last 2 weeks a whirlwind seems like an understatement. I carry a ziplock bag full- of Joshua’s antibiotics and iron supplements, of ibuprofen pills, of pink-eye drops, children’s tylenol and antifungal cream. And never, ever forget the tissues. To and from, across the compound, every morning at 8 a.m. and every night at 8 p.m. We fall into a rhythm, Shaggy and I. Our heads hitting pillows by 10 o’clock, our eyes awake by 6. Day in and day out, until it all starts to blur together.
With 16 children on eye-drops for pink eye, we’ve made countless runs to the sketchy, road-side ‘pharmacy’ in the last week. Every day a new name is added to the calendar hanging on the kitchen wall, one more ‘welcomed into the family’ (as the kids are saying whenever someone gets the dreaded ‘peesh peesh’). They welcomed me Monday, something that seemed inevitable.
The word ‘busy’ takes on a whole new meaning these days. More often than not, I am looking for ‘just a minute’.. but the interruptions seem unending. I count the 15 days we have left here, remembering there is grace for just this one. The busy, quite honestly, is exhausting. But there is a beauty with in it, for the way we’ve come to know these kids in a new way.
Our house is full– of kids coming for movie nights, the air heavy with the smell of popcorn.. and boys at the kitchen table, practicing their reading and math skills in the morning, a more relaxed version of school.. of kids, who maybe just need a quiet place for an hour to actually sleep in quiet.. of little ones coming to count the money in their envelopes and buy lollipops from our little shop we’ve acquired.
This afternoon I sat on the trailer out front, watching Stephen practice the motorcycle driving with some of the kids. Half a dozen kids hanging out, each waiting their turn. There is a parade of children wherever we go, even for the most mundane of tasks. Joshua and David (the orphanage’s two youngest) each hold onto either side of my shorts anytime I’m at the orphanage (making the fear of being de-pants-ed very real. Haha).
We went into Cap yesterday to go to the airport to pick up the mail. Because Hannah and Shaggy don’t know how to say no, we brought along 8 of the boys for a fun outing. They all enjoyed the ride, and we brought some snacks and music speakers to pass the time (it’s a 2-hour drive in, and a 2-hour drive back because the roads are so bad). While we waited to get the mail, we happened to see 2 airplanes take off. Talk about an exciting event! I’ve never seen 8 boys jump out of a vehicle so fast! Haha. It was a long day, but it was a day filled with much laughter and fun memories.
The time is so full and so busy, there isn’t much chance to think about how it is winding down.. as much as the crazy gets to us at times, there are moments that make us think ahead to summer, and how we are going to miss these kiddos. Having both Ray and Bonnie, and Lou and Deb gone makes us realize the relationships and sweet company we took for granted, and how we will be missing them too. We also never realized how many sick children and grandmouns (old people) there were until both Bonnie and Deb were gone.
In the distance, the dogs bark. Beside me, Stephen catches up on the ever-growing emails and to-do’s. I’ve a new-found appreciation for the mosquito net tucked around our bed, after Stephen and Abel killed a spider literally the size of my hand in the kitchen today. I’m trying not to think about the rat I saw scurrying in the rafters at the entrance of the house. When we left the orphanage after nighttime devo’s, all the children were still alive, no one was hanging from the ceiling fans, and we only had to take 2-ft long spanking sticks out of two of their hands.
All in all, we’ll call that a pretty good day.