Greetings from Fond des Negres!
I have just gotten back from about 10 days in the states (FL, NC, VA). I went up for my Dad’s 80th birthday and Diane and Joe’s 10th wedding anniversary.
I started with a lay-over in the West Palm Beach area. I was able to have dinner with two of my aunts and my cousin, Buzz, who is a UM pastor in KS. I haven’t seen him in ages and he just happened to be down to visit his mom. I also got to spend a little time with my cousin, Leslie and her husband Brad before hurrying back down to Ft. Lauderdale for my flight to NC. I had about a week with my parents in their lovely home.
My youngest sister, Diane, organized a family and friends get-together in Galax, VA in cabins along the New River trail, one of the “Rails-to-Trails” projects. We spent a nice long week-end together, including opportunities for walking the trail, horseback riding, canoeing, kyaking, biking and just sitting around enjoying the fall weather and each other’s company. All of my sibilings and spouses (except Felix) were there and my dad’s brother from New Hampshire was able to make it.
My return was fairly uneventful. However, I was delayed in Greensboro, NC by 40 min because Atlanta wasn’t able to receive us. When we landed, I found that I had missed my connection but they had booked me on the next available flight to Ft. Lauderdale which left at 7 pm. I got in to FLL around 9 pm and was met fairly quickly at the airport by one of the staff/soldiers of the SA there who took me to the SA guest house for the night. He came back at 5:30 am so that I could make my 7:50am flight arriving around 9am Haiti-time. All luggage arrived safely in FLL and finally in PAP. Felix had a flat tire on the way in so I just waited for him inside the airport (baggage claim area) until he called from outside.
Our three visitors (Briana and Elyse and Taylor from Chicago) were waiting for us at the PAP children’s home. I hung out with them there until Felix was able to buy and mount four new tires for the vehicle. We left PAP around 4pm and got home Tuesday about 7pm.
Wednesday I took them to our beach and then in the late afternoon two of them went horseback riding. Thursday, Felix, I and the girls went to Les Cayes (about 1.5 hours west of here) to go by boat (45 min) to Ile a Vache, an island just off the coast of Haiti. We visited an elementary school (320 students) and then had a chance to visit one of the nice hotels there and use their beach. After we got back to Les Cayes, we ate dinner at a local restaurant and then Felix made a 15 min presentation of our AIDS program at a conference for about 150 local pastors. We got back to FDN around 8pm, tired but content with the day’s experience. Friday they slept in a bit and then I gave them a tour of the SA school, childrens’ home and corps. By this time it was time for them to pack up and head back to PAP, traveling back with our staff transport vehicle. It was a short visit but we packed a lot into it.
Now, it is back to work as I have a big budget revision to work on this week-end so the funders can have it Monday morning. Felix is heading to PAP Saturday morning to get some work done on the clinic truck and to take in our AIDS Relief finance report.
Pictures to follow when I get a chance to download them from the camera.