There were just a handful of us left with the staff and the children on Tuesday morning.I believe the hiking team began their ridiculous 10-12mile hike up to an area in the mountains where Dr Franco was born. I originally had planned to go with them and take Kendalyn with me, but Amy and I decided that it might be best for us as a family to spend some time together just being together.
As you may know, Amy had just completed her BSN at Southern CT State University with 29 other students (four of whom were with us). The program they graduated from was a full BSN crammed into one grueling year. So, Amy had spent the previous two years in pre-requisite courses that she needed to be accepted to the nursing program in the first place.
When we arrived at Kaliko we were the ONLY ones in the entire resort. As you may recall, there weren’t any sane travelers headed to Haiti during that week because Hurricane Irene was off the coast of Haiti and the weather was uncertain at best. When the weather got better later that week (because Irene came to New England instead – how ironic!) more people came to Kaliko to swim and relax so our kids met several other children from Europe, different parts of the US and Haiti.
Meanwhile, while we were relaxing at Kaliko, the Hiking Team lead by the fearless Jon Cooke. They made it, but from what I heard later… there were several points that some on the trip wanted to quit because the rain was so terrible from the Hurricane’s peripheral storms, but each of them shared how meaningful the trip was and how blessed they were to meet so many people and to be able to teach God’s word to so many. I’ve recently heard that Jon’s planning another hike and apparently this one might be twice as difficult. If you’re interested, I’m sure you can get the details from him.
We arrived back later that week in enough time to wash some more clothes and pack up to get ready for home. However, what we learned was that because of all the cancelled flights due to the hurricane the earlier in the week, the entire air travel system in Haiti was now backed up so much that hundreds of people were waiting outside the airport for hours at a time just hoping to get on a flight back to the states.
To make a very long story short, the ten of us that had tickets to go home were able to finally get on our flight as originally scheduled, however, it took us 8 hours to travel about 100’ (no exaggeration) – navigating through all the lines and paperwork.
All in all, it was probably the craziest thing we’ve done so far… but we’re already dreaming up more adventures to come in the next several months. We don’t know when or where we're headed yet, but stay tuned.
The trip was incredibly valuable for our family for a few reasons –
First, Haiti is a wonderful place in many ways… and it is a hurting place in so many other ways. We are so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to serve with the team we were with and to get a little bit better understanding of Haitian culture, expectations and how Haiti “works” in general. That said, I am not going to go into any detail here, but as “in-need” as Haiti is… we are trying to discern how best to help. We’re not sure what that looks like exactly yet. We know that Dr Franco and GO Haiti have been woven into our lives through Divine orchestration, but we’re excited to see how God may help us refine what we do and how we serve while stewarding our time and resources in the best way possible.
Second, this was a great reconnaissance trip for us. Amy and Sasha got the distinct privilege to go first in Jan. 2011, but I had never been. So as we prepared to go all together in August there were so many things that a video presentation can’t tell you. Haiti is unique and you can’t really grasp the experience, people, daily obstacles, daily victories, and needs until you spend time there. So this was a great way to help us assess what our next steps to help, may be.
Third, I don’t know if we realized how powerful this trip would be for our whole family. We have been “kicking around” the idea of serving together as a family for some time now… but until this opportunity surfaced we weren’t exactly sure what that might look like. Honestly, we had several people –including close friends and even some family – discourage us from the thought of taking all of our kids and going to Haiti to serve together. I know for sure that our friends and family want the best for us and want us to be safe and healthy – I know that what was shared came from the best of intentions. However, Amy and I have come to a couple conclusions that are the biggest factors in leading our famly together.
- What are the most important things to protect our kids from? Why?
- What kind of people do we want our kids to be… Really?
I’ll write more on those two thoughts later… but our American culture (even The Church) spends a lot of time protecting our kids from a lot of things while managing their lives to go to just the right school with just the right academic record with just the right sports accolades… and look at the results. In our minds, generally speaking they’re not all that great. We’ve become an extremely “P.C.” and self-absorbed society, anxious for a bailout and stepping on others to get whatever we can for free.
We want our kids to do great things… and while we will never “cattle chute” their every move… we will do everything in our power to give them opportunities that will stretch and challenge their bodies, minds and hearts to love, honor and serve God – and make a huge impact on their world – whatever that looks like and wherever that may take them.
We don’t do it right all the time as parents…and there are dangers in life… but think about it… would you rather die after protecting yourself from the worlds’ greatest adventures… or die in the middle of one? Until next time…