My Brother Bob’s Visit

On December 1st we had a historic visitor…our first family member to visit us here in Haiti.  While we have had many visitors (service teams, work teams, US dignitaries reviewing our AIDS program) having someone come just to visit us was a real treat!

We had told him that one of our staff members would be the one picking him up at the airport in PAP (75 miles or 2.5 hours to the east of us here in FDN).  But as the time grew near we decided that we would go and pick him up personally.  We took Matthew out of school and made the journey to PAP.  He was very surprised to see us.

During his 10 days we tried to give him a varied experience.  We visited the Nigerian Formed Police Unit (part of the UN group here) in PAP, had a brief visit with the TBA in the same day from Jamaica (my brother is the TFS in the Central) and then drove out to FDN.  In our area we walked the rural paths in FDN, went to the open market (me in search of material to make new uniform skirts), enjoyed a half day at the beach, went to the harbor town of Miragoane to buy staff Christmas gifts (Bob helped keep tally of my purchases and was able to quickly calculate my savings when given a discount for volume purchases) and attended a typical Haitian wedding of one of our staff members.  We put him to work as well:   he preached in the FDN corps, played 1st cornet in our band, did devotions for the patients one morning, did devotions for the kids at Bethany Childrens’ Home, verified totals of charged prescriptions, helped me do the final check on moneys coming in from the cash register (kind of like counting kettles…this was challenging for him since we operate in “imaginary money”, dividing the actual currency “gourdes” by 5 to get “Haitian dollars”…hard to explain…) and the most fun…playing with Matthew.

He has returned to Chicago, very grateful to ride once again on well-paved roads and not have people honking all the time.  Here is his new list of things he is thankful for that he shared with his staff on his return:

hot water
running water
electricity
asphalt
roosters don’t live in my back yard
air conditioning
ice
flush toilets
free education
health insurance
accessible gasoline
God’s calling to those like Vi & Felix and many I met to sacrifice comforts to serve in Haiti and elsewhere
television
family
good public transportation
trash service
law enforcement
literacy
eyecare/glasses
banking
good staff
stable government
safe drinking water
libraries
reliable postal service
single currency
grocery stores
rules of the road
shock absorbers
padded pews
washers and dryers
carpet
microwaves
butchers
bread that doesn’t spoil in a day or 2
doorbells
French classes in High School

Bob, thanks for coming!  We really miss you!

If anyone else would like to come, the guest room is waiting!

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7 responses to “

  1. That is wonderful! This just made me smile ear to ear and yet tears to my eyes:) Loved the pictures too, looked like he had a great time! I am impressed that you make uniform skirts. They are so expensive to purchase! Please give my love to your family. Praying for you:)

  2. What a fabulous treat!  I know we are sooo happy when family comes to visit.  I caught the reference to the skirt material.  We are searching out the “right color” for our new uniforms also.  Sounds like you have lots of happy memories from your visit.  Hope that joyful feeling lasts all through the Christmas Season and into the New Year.  Blessings, clc

  3. Great story and good to hear of the time with family.
    We are settling in with the appointment.  The kids schedule has been managable and we’ll see if there are changes when Nathan switches schools next month.
    I’m not in Rotary as the DC takes that role.  Congrats on the opportunity at the club.  All of those duties should be outlined in the Rotary material.  If you do not have anything local, there is usually info online via the rotary website, district websites, etc.

  4. Glad you had a good visit with your brother.  Loved his I’m thankful for list.  Just curious, but why doorbells?  I guess our government may not seem so bad, when compared to others??  Loved the slide show, too.  Matthew has gotten taller!

  5. @clcizme – I’m replacing the skirts I have now…I’m holding out on getting a matching tunic made since I’m praying that before 2013 the change will be recinded or I won’t be here…In my opinion the full gray uniform with blouse will be way too hot to wear when the corps don’t have fans let alone AC!  I don’t mind wearing the whites on Sunday at all!  But then again, “they” didn’t ask me.

  6. @junkytreasure – Door bells because we don’t have one.  Everyone uses whatever they can think of to rap on our metal gate.  The finance staff usually use the plastic pitcher that sits on our water barrel outside of the door.  I’ve gotten so I know their “knock” and respond quicker when I know its for me.  We actually bought a musical door bell but it didn’t have a volume control and it sounded way too loud and obnoxious.
    Skirts: They are the only uniform option in the Caribbean.  Also, most women wear skirts and it’s considered the “proper, Christian” attire.  Women wear skirts and dresses even when riding a bicycle or a horse/donkey/mule.  Bikes are a bit tricky, getting on them and then keeping the skirt from blowing up in your face.  We also still wear hats on Sunday…those women without hats will find some hankerchief to put on their heads, especially if singing in the songsters or doing something from the platform.

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