May 29 Cabaret - the orphanage
It's Haiti and we need help. Heading out of Port au Prince, we break down. Long time at the side of the road fiddling with the battery terminals and electronics. Ironic that Haitians are moving quickly in all directions all by themselves, but we aren't going anywhere. A miracle turns the engine over but we crawl with almost no power for miles, then run out of gas. The driver hadn't filled up or tuned up, apparently. It's hot and discouraging, especially after the team's 24 hour flight delay to get here. But spirits are buoyed by a little humour and faith that we'll get there eventually. We do, in due course.
Things seldom go all right in Haiti. Patience and lots of plan Bs are essential. And often so many resources are required to do so little. 13 people lost 10% of their mission time because a plane caught fire at Port-au-Prince airport, backing up everything. 13 people were held up a whole day due to faulty transportation. 12 day's of plans have to be compressed into fewer than 10 and precious donor dollars were depleted. And like Haitians, everyone gets hungry, tired and thirsty.
At the Welcome Home Children's Centre orphanage the volunteers quickly fill in the balance of the schedule with giving out cloths, colouring, games and reading stories. Lunch of beans and rice, bananas and water restore some of our energy. The children start singing; the girls lead and boys are coaxed to join in. In the heat, and during a lost hour, these angels silence any doubts about working for and with Haitians in Haiti.
The van is being worked on at a mechanic's and won't be ready for the 2 hour drive back to the city before dark. Another vehicle is commissioned. In Haiti, all things can be fixed in time, we hope. And after all, the children were never aware of the logistical complexities befalling their surrogate parents. They were happy with sincere attention and love, a few gifts and relief from boredom of the hot, early summer afternoons after school.