Today is my last day in Haiti this trip as I return to JAX at around 6:00 tomorrow evening. There is a very specific phenomenon that happens on the last day of each of our trips to ATN…Everybody asks for something! It is like everyone from our employees to our kids to random strangers (not really strangers but you get my drift) have suddenly remembered that there is this life altering need that they must have before I leave. I will name a few of them just for fun: Woodly locked himself out of his iPhone and needs my help, Milouse wants to go to French school for the summer, Fednel will “die” if I do not give him one of our puppies, Gueline “needs” a new pair of sandals for church, Fransline “needs” new clothes for the summer, Kervinson really wants me to put more games on his iPod, Kin Kin needs some money for a haircut, etc. (On a funny side note, Shinaider literally just knocked on the door and asked me for a few dollars because today is his Mom’s birthday. His was different because we hold his paycheck for him and he was just asking for his own money.) I could really go on and on, and much of what I am asked for are little things that would not make a difference for them anyway. For most of the kids it is a sign that they feel a little worried when we are not there. We have been there safety net for so long that they are still a little worried, even after these last 2 years, when we are not there.
There is also a sadness when I leave now. I am so excited to see Jess and the kids in Jacksonville, but it really is sad to leave here also. I have been having the kids come up to the house every day and just sitting and hanging out with them a little and they are growing up so much. Some of them have matured and grown way more than I ever expected. In fact, I texted Jess a little earlier today that I could not believe how deep Son Son’s voice is now. I could go down the list and name something that has changed about each kid just since the last time I saw them. Just a couple of days ago, I was talking with a friend of mine named Christian who works for KORE Foundation. The first thing he told me is that he almost does not recognize any of our kids anymore. He said they are growing so fast and it is so obvious that they have people who love them and are treating them well. He actually said they, “look like princes and princesses.” The bottom line is, and I guess this has to happen to everyone, is that they are growing and maturing and becoming young men and women. Even Mivinsley has calmed down a little.
Finally, I jus want to end on this note because it was fun. Our little boys (13 and under) had a soccer match today. They actually played against the girls’ team at 8:00 am today and it was a blast to watch. The little boys won 5-0 but it could have been much worse. These little boys are really good at soccer. The funny happened close to the end of the match. Our Maekin was one of the youngest to start and play most of the game and he did really well, but as the game was ending he had a substitute come in for him. His sub was none other than Mimi (Mivinsley) himself. He stood up, put on his yellow jersey and proudly started warming up by running up and down the sidelines. Everyone was looking and laughing because he was about 5 years younger than anyone else playing (other than Vageley but Vageley is much bigger). When stood up to enter the game everyone there (about 50 people) started yelling and cheering for him. I thought they were going to start chanting his name. I am not sure I have ever seen anyone prouder than Mimi was in that moment. He stuck his chest out and strutted onto the field and it was great. It was a great beginning to a great last day in Haiti.