I awoke to little faces pressed against my bug tent, whispering my name and then dispersing into quiet giggling. Klarissa and Otelson are two of our live wires who never seem to slow down and they were the first to wake this morning, unable to restrain themselves from sneaking out to see us any longer. Our whole morning was an absolute circus, in every sense of the word! It was crazy and busy but hilarious all the same. When everyone was awake, Mom and I made up bowls of dried fruit and assorted granola bars for all of the kids and coffee for all the adults. The kids were into everything. EVERYTHING. What should have taken us 45 minutes tops to get ready took us over 4 hours. Lol! Every time we turned around, there was some national emergency or problem, half of them leaving us laughing hysterically. Finally, Mom thought of the bag of balloons she had brought from the orphanage and passed those out. It gave us a few minutes to run into the bathroom to finish getting ready. We are both standing at the sink brushing our teeth when Dina (age 13) shows up at the door, her face white as a sheet... literally. She had sneaked into my makeup bag and used my foundation all over her face and neck! If you know me, I'm the palest of pale so my makeup was NOT made for little Haitian girls! She was so embarrassed but needed our help because the more she rubbed at it, the worse it got! Then the whole thing turned into a party. We had 11 kids all wanting to partake in the joys of Beth and Krystle's cleanup supplies. They layered on the deodorant, sprayed body spray until we could hardly breathe, rubbed face lotion all over, and finally the girls got makeovers by me because they could barely contain their curiosity over all of it. Klarissa found Mom's coverup and thinking it was lipstick, smeared it all over her lips and came crying for us to fix it. The boys had blush all over, the older girls thought they would brush mascara through their eyebrows, and then we finished the whole event with a final round of deodorant and body spray. They were the nicest smelling children in the whole country of Haiti!
Just as we were getting the children loaded up into the car, Christianne and Naromie asked if we could please do this again this evening. They had huge smiles on their faces and said it was no problem to have all of the children and everyone had so much fun. So, we told them we would! Back to the orphanage we went for part of the day so the kids could do their chores and we could pack up all of the suitcases and American storage room. Mom and Robinson went out to buy hot dogs for the evening since we hadn't been planning on feeding everyone and I played board games with the kids while they were gone. Before we knew it, we were headed back for another fast paced evening at the mission house. We gave the kids bags of goodies we had brought from home for them. Bouncy balls, bubbles, balloons, etc. It kept them busy while we hurriedly packed our bags. The last movie of the trip was started and Mom and I cooked up dinner for everyone. There had been a small misunderstanding in language translation and we had not realized that all of the adults would be leaving for prayer meeting all evening, leaving us alone on our last night with all of the children! Thankfully, Claudy showed up and helped watch the kids while we finished things up.
If Klarissa gave us one kiss this evening, she gave us 50. She walked around declaring in very clear English 'Good Morning! I love you!' and kissing us on the cheek. I got my shower and was trying to make myself presentable for coming home tomorrow but was just feeling terrible about myself. I walk out of the bathroom in my pajamas, hair wrapped up in a towel and Klarissa stopped dead in her tracks with an expression of pure shock. 'Woy!', she said. 'Ou bèl, Krystle!' Or 'You are beautiful, Krystle!' Melt my heart. She was so sincere in her proclamation that it makes me wonder if children see us more clearly as who God made us to be. She doesn't see my mosquito bitten legs, broken out face, frizzy hair or body image issues. She sees my heart and the love and adoration I have for her. She is not constrained by worldly or physical looks and things, she sees true beauty in the world. I pray I learn to see with eyes like hers.
I was so proud of all of kids as we started settling down for bed. There were some tears and protestations that we could go to bed but they were going to lay awake until 3 so they could see us before we left. I can only imagine how hard it is on them each time we appear in their lives only to pack up and leave again. I know life is different when we aren't here. I got down on the girls bed to give out hugs and kisses and snuggles to all of them. Iftha was crying so hard. She asked me if I ever cry after I leave them and I told her I cry all the time because I miss them so badly. In the Haitian culture, children are encouraged not to cry. There is so much to cry over in their lives that I think they would never stop once started and so they just ignore their own pain and try to keep it inside. I'm a rebel and want them to cry if they need to and not feel ashamed. I have done this so many times now and it will never get easier. I remind myself that if it wasn't this painful, it wouldn't be worth it. To love deeply is to feel deeply and anytime you love someone in that way, there is almost always pain involved. It is a packaged deal. And I am more than willing to take it. My ultimate goal is not to just take care of their physical needs but get each and every one of them to Heaven. God is working in the hearts and lives of 12 beautiful children on a small island, in the middle of the ocean, and I am honored to have a front row seat to witness it all. Prayers for our journey home tomorrow. Blessings from St. Marc, Haiti one more time.