2010 Haiti Journal #3 January 16, 2010
Saturday. 11:30 p.m. In route to Boca Raton, Florida.
A day of miracles.
When we tumbled into bed this morning around 2am it was the first time since Wednesday that we had been in a bed. We hardly embraced a 7:30 a.m. wake up call. But Anthony Bone was on the job, so off we went. We met him the night before as he “pulled a double” by working the bell hop station. He normally supervises in housekeeping. He convinced his boss to have us speak to the staff this morning. After Paul gave a little explanation of how Children's Hope regularly goes into Haiti with medical and school supplies, I spoke for a minute. Since most of the staff are from Haiti originally, I used my very limited Creole which made them laugh, I told them the phone service in Haiti is picking back up, which made them smile, but when we spoke of the tragedy and mentioned the Hatian saying that through solidarity many hands make the burden lighter...they cried. Then, one by one this staff of 100 of the most underpaid, undervalued in our society came up and kissed my check while they each pressed a few dollars into my hand...some with more, some with less...after I had cred, hugged and kissed more than I ever had we floated up to our room.We didn't expect one dollar, and we ended up with a total of $1,359.85. I think the 85 cents were my favorite.
Back home, when we heard the news of the earthquake, we knew we had to cancel our vacation plans and book a flight on a commercial liner for Haiti. Then we heard the airport closed, then our tickets were canceled by the airline. We were offered a free ticket on a private jet going to Haiti...we headed out to Florida. Then our private jet fell through, but another miracle: “Clean the World” founder Shawn Siepler offered us not only free nights stay in two hotels, but also free passage for our shipment of supplies but two free seats on a small 4 passenger flight to Port au Prince tomorrow morning. Again, we are off. Right now we are in the back sear of a truck headed to Boca Raton tonight, and plan on flying out tomorrow on what Paul calls the Roberto Clemente Airlines. Which got a chuckle from the folks who volunteered to drive us five hours tonight to get us to the airport (and wouldn't even take gas money).
Little Miracle #3
Later that day we were standing on the street of Orlando near our hotel when a car honked at us and pulled over...a tiny shy woman in a maid's uniform came over, hugged me and slipped nine crumpled dollars into my hand, smiled a bit, and silently slipped back into her car.
We won't get to Port au Prince, Haiti until noon tomorrow, and yet miracles are happening already. If anyone was ever tempted to give up on humanity, they should remember another Haitian saying told to me by Junior Mesamours, “God will never give up on us, even if we give up on ourselves”.