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Day 4

October 28, 2010

In what seemed to be a miracle, on Thursday morning, Pastor Moise appeared a mere 10 minutes after our designated time. He was alone and we drove up into Petitionville to pick up Waner. After yesterday’s side trip, I had no expectations about where we might end up today.

We went the long way around Port-au-Prince to the airport and ended up back at the New Life Children’s Home. They arranged to return at 3:30pm and left me with Fran.

I was led to a large building that is meant to be a church, but right now, it is serving as a storage facility. Huge barrels of supplies were piled up. Fran suggested that I separate them on to the benches in the building. One bench for little boys, one for bigger boys, one for little girls, one for bigger girls, then adult woman and adult men. In particular, I was to keep an eye out for underwear which was always needed.

I started work. After a little while, working alone, I pulled out my ipod and separated clothing with bopping along to Ben Folds and Dan Bern. The metal roof made the room baking hot and I was soon sweating despite the fans.

After several hours, Fran came into check on me and insisted I take a break. She told me a little about how they ended up there and their plans. They had kids going to school and so many special needs children and adults. Until the election everything was on hold, but they were hoping adoptions would open up again. At least they would then be able to hopefully find homes for the younger kids.

Then she said she’d send along a few girls to work with me when they finished their homework.

For the last hour of the day, three teenagers joined me. They spoke English but were very shy about it. When I tried to talk in French, they just giggled at me, so I gave up and went with English. Anytime I spoke, they repeated my words, trying to get the pronunciation just right. Fran had warned me that they would spend a lot of time trying on the clothes, but they didn’t. They were such great kids. They made quick work of each barrel and then would call me to open a new one. It struggled not to cry as I thought about how sweet these kids were. Already teenagers, adoption was unlikely for them and I just wanted to sweep them away to Philadelphia where they would have a chance at a real education and college.

Instead we continued to separate the clothes until Fran said we were done for the day. Each girl got to take one item. I’m pretty sure they all chose shoes.

My crew arrived soon after to take me home. We went the long way again and picked a woman up along the way. Night fell quickly and it was a little unnerving to be driving the pitch black streets. They were jammed with traffic and my eyes burned from the exhaust and the smoke from cooking fires along the roads.

I arrived home late enough that I didn’t have too long to wait until dinner at the hotel restaurant. I was starving from the long workday and went with the salad bar with a fantastic carrot soup. I went with salad because I literally couldn’t imagine waiting another 10 minutes to eat. A bottle of Prestige was the perfect ending to my day.

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