Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Final Travel - Here we are!

Final Travel
Sorry I haven’t updated for a while, but it has been busy. This one is going to be long, but I have a lot to say!
The flight from Florida to the DR was really good, it actually landed early, at 2:25 am. Going through customs was easy, the only thing they said to us during interrogations is “that, customs.” Apparently I gave her the wrong form. One of the groups with us had a ton of luggage, and they just let them go through, bypassing the x-ray scanners because the customs people didn’t want to deal with it. It was a huge blessing because they were a group of doctors and the baggage was full of medicine.
The 13 of us then sat outside the airport in the open air lobby until 5:30 am. It was 72 degrees out when we landed! Next, we loaded into 4 taxis and took a 20 min ride to the bus depot, where we learned that the bus wasn’t going to leave until 12 which would cause a problem because we told Jamie we would meet him in Cap at that time. We waited until 7:30, and then 3 other guys and us were sick of waiting there so we decided to take a taxi all the way. This was much more expensive, but we were so ready to be there. We were kind of nervous because we had a large amount of money between the 5 of us, but decided it was what we were going to do.
At 8:30 our taxi finally arrived and we began the next phase of our journey. Right away I noticed that the gas light was on, but the driver kept going for 30 mins. I kept saying to myself, “there’s a gas station, we could stop at that one, what’s wrong with this gas station.” Finally he stopped and we found out that he had a propane tank instead of gas. He said that we were basically running on fumes and assured us that it was installed by a professional, but if we got in an accident we would all die!
Getting across the border was interesting. There were UN guards all over with their giant guns. Customs was a tiny window that you had to shove your passport and $25 through. There were so many Haitians trying to get in that the only way to get this accomplished was to shove your way to the front and throw your stuff through the window. There was no line at all.
Next step was finding another taxi to take us to Cap. Luckily there was another missionary there that was fluent in Creole so she negotiated the price with us. The other three men had to sit in the bed of the truck with our luggage for the hour ride in! We emailed Jamie at the boarder off of the Missionaries satellite internet to let him know that we were going to be somewhere else than we originally told him. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to email him, and were really glad we were. Luckily he checked it before he left so he was there waiting when we arrived! Otherwise he would have been waiting on the other side of Cap Haitien and we had no way of meeting him!
We then began the 10 mile trip back to COTP which takes nearly 45 mins. We were 48 hours late, but we finally arrived. I went to bed at 7:30 last night because I had been up for 32 hours and was exhausted. I slept so hard that I didn’t hear the dog parking all night or feel the second earthquake that hit Port (6.1 but a lot deeper than the first so there was not as much damage). I slept for a total of 11 hours. So glad to finally be here!

Our new Jobs!
Nikki: So far I love it here. I keep getting more and more responsibility which is great! So far today I brushed every child’s teeth, gave out snacks and vitamins, distributed meds to all the kids including ARV’s to the HIV positive children, picked out all the children’s clothes for tomorrow, shaved all the boys over 1 years head plus one of the yard boys, gave one boy food through a feeding tube and played with the children as much as possible.
I have learned that you can’t pick up a child without having six children climbing on your legs and asking you to hold them. I have always thought I have a small lap, but apparently it is it big enough for six babies to sit on! The kids love special attention and always want to be all over you! They are so cute.
There is one child here who has been in the process of being adopted for the past 3.5 years. His adoptive parents live in Bellingham, and today his Dad came in to take him home permanently. We hope to continue to be a part of his life.
A new baby was just brought in who is 2 weeks old. She has club feet and is tiny but super cute. She will be sleeping in our room with us while we are here and we will be in charge of her all day long. Quick update, as Nick and I were changing her diaper we found out that this beautiful little girl is a boy! Apparently she is a he, but he is dressed in a pink one-z, socks, and blanket. The mom even said that it was a she! (although in Creole there are no gender specific words so an assumption on our end was made) So now we have a handsome baby boy with us! He doesn’t eat well, so we have to actually squeeze the milk into his mouth. We have to get up every 3 hours to feed him.
The government is trying to allow kids who are in the process of being adopted to go to the US right away (it normally take 2 or more year). There is a possibility that 13 of our children will get to leave soon. We will only find out last minute so we are trying to get prepared. This could change at any minute, but we want to take care of everything. We have packed clothes for each of the kids and have been scanning and sending all of there adoption paper work to our staff in the US. This would be great, please pray that it happens ASAP. We have no idea when or how they will go. They might go on a UPS flight or some missionaries, but we don’t know.
Tomorrow morning someone is going to Port to take a bunch of supplies and is hopefully going to come back with children for us. The road is really unsafe right now, so they have to have police escorts on the bus for safety. They are hoping to bring back adults that are wanting to get to CAP to help hold the babies since we don’t have car seats. We have no idea how many we will get, we have heard rumors of 300, but probably around 10-15 is more realistic. Since Jamie and Jenny are in the process of adopting three kids, if the border opens, Jenny will leave with them. This will be hard since they are already so short staff and are going to be getting way more kids in. Things have been very hectic here since the Earthquake.
Every time the kids see Nick walking by the baby house they point and say Papa Nick! They like him. He is holding “our baby” and is such a natural!
I am glad that we have worked on our Creole as much as we have. We can recognize a few words and say a few things, but not much. I need to learn more baby words, bottle, diaper, etc. We feel very safe here and really love it! We are definitely needed and it’s going to be hard to leave!
I have been mostly working on learning how the systems of the orphanage work. They have a well which provides good water and a very nice generator which runs twice a day and charges two huge arrays of batteries that provide power for when the generator is off. There is another guy here that has been doing some maintenance for the past 2 weeks. He is sharing a lot of knowledge with me, which is very helpful!
Last night I spend quite a while playing with the kids in the baby house. They all play together so well and are so excited that you are there.
Today I mowed the lawn, cleaned the shop, worked on some shelves that we are building, put in a door jam, and most importantly held the new baby for a few hours. The days are long, the mosquitoes are thick, the weather is hot and muggy, and the babies are so precious. We feel blessed that we are here and are excited for the days to come!

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