My alarm went off at 3:45 am.
I showered and was out of the house at 4:30.
I was at the airport at 5.
Then came the first hitch.
If you read my blog you know that about a month ago Danny and Leann Pye unexpectedly lost their 3 year old little boy Jabez. We had a tombstone for his crypt that someone had graciously given them. I called the airline on tuesday to ask if we could carry it on so that it would not get broken in transit. They said no, that even though it was just a 2' by 1' slab and was beneath the weight requirements it could be "used as a weapon" so we had to check it. I then asked if I could check it in a plastic box, verifying that it would be acceptable even though there was a box embargo. They said that if the box opens like a suitcase and has hinges then we could take it.
So we check in and the lady says we can't use the boxes. I ask about the tombstone and the airline manager on duty says he will get us a waiver to carry it on! We buy three duffels from the airline and move everything from the three boxes and finish checking in. We are thrilled as we walk to security because we are able to carry the tombstone (which was the original desire) and we are off to Haiti!
Security won't let us through with the tombstone. We pull all of the stops and sympathies and stress the importance of this item getting to Haiti. The airline manager comes to help and says we can put the tombstone in one of our boxes and he will get an over-ride...WHAT?!?!?! Except our boxes were taken by the friend who dropped us off and we had 15 minutes until we boarded at this point. The airline manager is somewhat devastated at this point, he feels for us, recognizes the importance and offers to take one of us to a storage room to see if there is a "bag that can be borrowed." Stephen heads to the inner-workings of RDU and calls to say there isn't anything. We were crushed. Crushed actually doesn't describe it. Really, we felt of all of our stuff this was the most important thing to get there. We call Nick and he comes to pick up the tombstone, and we board.
That was the last and only hitch of the day! We arrive in Haiti and I have to admit, I was giddy but also it was oddly and unexpectely familiar. This country I had never set foot in smelled, looked and felt like my last home. It brought up some emotions I didn't know were there, and I found myself comparing everything...which might have been an annoyance to some of my traveling companions.
We had a blast this afternoon getting to know the kids, we laughed, sang, and giggled some more, mostly because I know very little Creole. I can say about three phrases...not nearly enough. I have found however, that my Swahili is fully there in my brain. I am fighting the urge to bust out the swahili magic and see if it works here. I am sure it won't.
So then I squash the swahili, and my brain goes to the next option, spanish. And come to realize I still have that there too. But it doesn't work well here either!
And I have to say, I am incredibly impressed by what I have seen and experienced so far. The next few days are going to be awesome and I promise, I will be better at taking pictures, I didn't even pull out the camera today.
Haiti is awesome. I am honored to be here. I look forward to sharing more with you.