I google “animals in Haiti,” “birds in Haiti,” “snakes in Haiti.” and “Haitian culture.” I immerse myself in Flickr‘ed blue and red and green and pink gingerbread architecture and cough from dust rising in YouTube videos. I wonder if I’ll have to eat goat.
I comb through friend photos, stalk pages of people I don’t know hoping to find a public album. I drink in the faces of the children, try to memorize their names, try to imagine what that first meeting will be like.
I read stories about the sights and smells, pack extra tissue for brimming, and make a note to tuck in some toilet paper. I count bottles of hand sanitizer and remind myself not to nibble on my cuticles or rub my eyes like I’m prone to do. My sister told me about a young girl who got an infection and went blind because she wasn’t fastidious about her contact lenses while in the Dominican Republic. I haven’t studied my Creole like I should have. I hope I remember to take my malaria pills. I’ve stocked up on Pepto and Kao. I’ve filled a prescription for Cipro.
Lord, please don’t let me forget my passport.
Don’t let me forget to pay the bills due before I return.
My daughter teases about my not being able to come home, that there’ll be some sort of solar flare and power loss, and I think a part of her might be really worried. I remind her we operate on Bible time, not the Mayan calendar. But I try not to think about the itty bitty plane I need to fly in or whether or not there’ll be an earthquake or whether I’ll be cut off from home and whether everything will run smoothly and everyone will stay healthy.
I have 48 hours from the time of this posting to be ready to leave home for 12 days.
Can one really be fully ready for anything except Jesus’ coming?
The first two objectives for the trip are to let God govern our days and plans, our every moment, and to be fluid and flexible.
Our pastor talked yesterday about Christmas being full of surprises, about God being full of surprises.
I’m expecting to be surprised.
My dream has always been to visit Africa. I wanted to go over my birthday next month and meet our sponsored child. But my husband didn’t think it was the right time, so I pouted a bit and then went with the flow, rested in the letting go. I’m pretty sure it was the same day Tami sent the email asking if I’d help take Christmas to 270 orphans in Haiti.
And the town’s name?
A change in my plan for God’s plan.
A reminder of how God changed our plans once before with an unmistakable name.
“Once a nurse, always a nurse,” they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I’m a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” That’s how I want to live. And I’m still learning how to be. Still.