Haiti is different. Arriving yesterday felt like arriving for the first time in a new place. Sure, I can always expect the staples- a mob of people outside the airport, wobbly wheels on the large trucks ahead of us, and trash everywhere. Yet many things caught me off guard, starting with the people walking onto our plane.
 
An eclectic bunch, our plane sat everyone and my eyes were drawn to several things: men dressed head to toe in extreme khaki on khaki cargo safari gear, elderly Haitians that obviously were new to the whole riding in planes  experience due to their complete misinterpretation of the “fasten your seatbelt and remain seated” sign to meanwander about freely whenever wherever," white teenage girls with braided hair and giant white pillow in hand seemingly heading to a sleepover, and to be sure- many a fanny pack outwardly flaunted around the waist. It makes me kinda wonder if I know what I’m getting myself into either…

We arrived at PAP to be taken by bus to a new hanger for immigration. The airport itself has seemingly traded its plethora of planes lining the runway six weeks ago for large organized military tent villages stationed on the grassy knolls between the runway and airport. There is no customary belt anymore in this international airport to display our luggage in a calm orderly fashion, only men taking luggage off the carts quickly pulling up and throwing it through small half doors greeted by other men who then place the luggage in the middle of a mob of people hunting for their belongings. 

We’re lucky; we find all our bags and are one of the first out the front door of the airport. We find Charles waiting with his blue truck. The white man with him sitting shotgun tells us of his plans to build a food market for Charles supplied by farm lands he wants to buy near the border of the DR. As exciting as that sounded, I couldn’t help but to zone out taken aback by the tents in PAP. From the time we leave the airport to the time we reach our campus, I am stunned by the overwhelming number of tents I see. From these miniature house-like US military tents to the rows and rows of sheets and sticks, it looks like everyone lives in a tent. My initial marvel of the ingenuity and survival practices of the Haitian people soon turns to concern.

Hurricane season is fast approaching.

Before we know it, Jay, Diana and I are home. Before crossing the bridge to enter through the gate, women come out and greet Diana. They instantly notice her short haircut with faces glowingof approval. They tell Jay he looks bigger. We enter and begin to see our old friends. Many ask, “Where’s Zach?” to which I reply that he is engaged and with his fiancé. This response usually induces the same physical reaction from Haitian women who are married. It begins with raising both hands to either side of the face followed immediately with a downward clapping of the hands into resting position on the hips with elbows out like chicken wings. The head is then flung forward with mouth agape followed closely by excited laughter. I can’t blame them; I basically did the same thing when I found out too.

I see the boys and they see me. I instantly here them start singing, “Jer-ra-me, Jer-ra-meeeEEEE”, over and over. How could I not love these boys? Love begets love and they love me well. 

I move into my old room, without a roommate for the first time. It looks the same but feels different. In the 6 weeks since I have been gone, one new addition particularly brightens my bare white walls. 
Picture


A poster of a unicorn running out of the crashing waves onto the beach with a shell laden necklace under a haze of twinkling stars. 

I rest in my bed. It’s hot… but not that bad. I’m back in Haiti and just like that, the rollercoaster I was on that began as abruptly as the earth moved two months ago has ended. Still, as wild as it was, I am acutely aware that moving back here to Haiti is like stepping off one rollercoaster and right back on to another.

Buckle up.
reina
03/14/2010 06:37

thanks jer-ra-meee for this entry -
and for letting the world into your heart...letting us see the reality of the hard on this planet (somehow - i feel like haiti maybe is the clearest picture of the damaging hard result of the fall)...but also, letting us see where Christ is coming to redeem (12 orphan boys who, after being abandoned by parents, actually know what LOVE is!) once again - you have brot fresh tears to my eyes, attached to a re-awakening of my heart by your honest and poignant words of real joy amidst such brokenness, confusion, concern, etc. truly a joy that only our God could bring. deeply grateful, maye

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Trip
03/14/2010 13:19

Hey, thanks Jeremy... you do a good job on your blog... much better than I (cuz I never write anything!)
Just curious, although the airport scene gives some hint, what's your sense of the security situation in PaP?

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Ethan
03/15/2010 04:50

I love this, Jeremy. I can't imagine how you felt and how the boys felt when they saw you guys. Did they know you were coming? How is Tiwil?

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03/15/2010 16:32

once again... i came back to your blog today and i am so excited to know you are back in haiti!! the lord will redeem, the lord will surely redeem... can't wait to hear his story play out through your life.

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mom
03/16/2010 07:50

Another good blog. I am still amazed at how you can put what you see into such vivid words. I feel like I am there, too. I am sure that those boys were really glad to see all 3 because of the love you bring to them that no one else can. Bless them and you. God is surely in that place. Love, love

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Grandmama
03/18/2010 15:00

Jeremy, it is just great being with you through your blog(better however in person) Just know we think of you every day and pray for you. We are all so proud of you for the good work you are doing in Haiti with your precious friends, Jay and Diana. We love you so much.

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