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Working in Haiti, there are some really good days and some really bad days. There are really difficult decisions that we make regularly that will greatly affect other peoples’ future and sometimes we decide correctly and sometimes incorrectly. Sometimes, our kids and the people that we work with make really poor decisions and sometimes they do things that are so nice and caring that it even surprises us. The life that we live and the people that we work with definitely do not make for a boring existence. I say all of that to say that I got to spend yesterday being about as proud as I could be of anyone when I went moto shopping with Shinaider…It was one of those “this is definitely worth it” type of moments.
Before I tell you about yesterday and Thursday, it is important to note that a lot of work went into helping Shinaider get to this point. Most of that work had to do with Jess helping Shinaider save his money and not losing track of his goal of purchasing a new moto. As it happens often in our marriage, I got to be the one that was a part of the fun shopping day while Jess did the lion share of the work to get Shinaider there. She will be blogging about Shinaider’s journey in the very near future while I will share specifically about Thursday and Friday shopping.
I am writing this at the Port Au Prince airport while I wait to board my plane to JFK and then back down to JAX. I can’t wait to see my family, and as I sit here and reflect about my trip, one of my favorite things was purchasing Shinaider’s moto. He was so excited, and each day he came to my house to ask if we could go that day. Every day I had multiple meetings and he had school, so Thursday rolled around and we were finally ready to go. We left the house at about 3:00 and went to our first moto dealership. (Sidenote: When I say dealership, I mean really small building with motorcycles almost stacked on top of each inside a small room). Shinaider was very specific that he wanted a Dayun 150, but this dealership only had a 125. He was a little disappointed, but we decided to a different place, but the next dealership was about $50 more expensive than the first. We tried to negotiate to no avail, and we decided to go further into Leogane. With each dealership, and there were quite a few, Shinaider held tight to the idea that he had for his moto, but we just could not find the right one for the right price. I was really proud of him, though, because he was not budging from what he wanted. So we made the rounds in Leogane, came out empty handed and we decided to go back to the first dealership that we had visited.
We got there, and we asked again if they had a Dayun 150, and they again said that they did not. They did, however, say that they would be getting shipment in the next day. This was the dealership where the motos were the cheapest, and now they were going to have the one that he wanted for the price he wanted. Shinaider asked me what he should do, and I told him it was his decision. He basically had to either choose to get the 125 that day or come back out the next day and get the one he wanted. He decided to wait for what he really wanted and so we left the dealership to go back home with no moto.
The next day, Shinaider showed up to my house before school and after school to make sure we were still going. I told him we would leave at 3:00, after his lesson and after a meeting that I had that day with Gina. At 2:30, he came by one more time and then left to bathe and put nice clothes on for the purchase. The funniest thing is that even after coming to my house 4 times to make sure we were leaving, he was not at my house at 3:00. In fact, we had to go and find him down at the kids house finishing up a quick haircut because he wanted to look his best. It was really funny, but he was really excited.
We went back to the first dealership, and they had 7 new motos to choose from…all Dayun 150cc, the exact moto he wanted the entire time for less than 15,000 Haitian dollars. I had been holding his money for him, but I gave it to him before we entered the dealership. He immediately gave me the cash and asked me to count it out and pay for him, which I did. He then went behind the shop to get his moto ready and he asked me to come back with him while the workers got it all ready. Luckily, Lener was with us, and since I know nothing about motos, I asked if he was ok with Lener going with him instead (only 1 person was allowed). Of course, after about 30 seconds, I just walked back with them while nobody was looking and they did not say anything.
It was time to go, and Shinaider was thrilled. He was so nervous, however, that he made Lener drive it home for him and he rode on the back of it while I drove the blue truck back to the house. It was the perfect end to the perfect day. He came by our house later and our security guard, Beni, looked as proud as I was of and for him just like Lener had been all day. It was really cool to see our other adults getting behind Shinaider and being proud of all the hard work that led him to this day. His plan is to turn this into a business and rent his moto out to another driver who will pay him a set amount each week and keep any excess money he makes as a taxi. Whatever happens, Shinaider set a goal and waited years, but a couple of days ago he reached the goal that he set, and as you can probably tell I am really proud of him.