To see a slide show of the highlights visit our facebook page. To sum it up short, but very sweet.
Saturday we were supposed to arrive at 9am but of course we had a little snag. As we were boarding our plane to PAP, one of the passengers opened the emergency exit, which deployed the slide. The plane was now inoperable. AA found another plane and gratefully we were only about 2 hours behind schedule. We were picked up from the airport and went directly to the orphanage. Thanks to Amy Nelson and her generous friends, we were able to give every child a new sheet set and a pillow. The kids also each received picture Bibles thanks to Jim & Teri Dykhuis. It was a nice way to start.
We took a few of the older kids from the Garden and some of the Graduates shopping. We wanted the kids to pick out the snacks that would go into their gift bags. As always it was a blast just hanging out with the kids. In the van Manouchka was playing the Destiny Child’s song “When Jesus says yes, nobody can say no”. The girls and boys tried to out sing each other. It became our theme song.
Sunday morning we went to the Garden to spend more time with the kids. At lunchtime we returned to the Morquette’s for the big meal of the day. Late afternoon we were heading to their church for a Christmas concert. It was a first time for me. All the kids from the Garden met us there and it was beautiful to be able to sit in church with the kids and listen to “The First Noel” in French and other traditional and unfamiliar songs. They ended with the same tradition that CCC does with candlelight only it was to “O Holy Night”. It made my Christmas. Prior to leaving for Haiti, I always struggle to get into the Christmas Spirit because it’s such a busy time and I’m preoccupied getting ready for the trip. But that evening put me in the Christmas spirit. It really felt like Christmas Eve knowing that the big party was tomorrow. There was no place I’d rather have been.
Monday the big day was pretty low key. We knew the kids wanted to perform so we kept the agenda pretty simple and flexible. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned (what a surprise) and by the time we handed out the gifts it was getting dark. Most of the little kids dispersed and brought the gift bags into their rooms so they could see them. And because it was so late, we had to leave right away. That was so disappointing to me because I really didn’t get to see them open their gifts or even say goodbye to many of them. For the ones that did say goodbye it was heartbreaking. There were many tears shed on both sides. It was a rough way to leave.
The next morning on the way to the airport we stopped quickly at the Garden to pick up something we forgot. Pretty much nobody was around, except for Wolf. He was playing with a monkey he had received from the party. The smile on his face was a gift I sorely need from God.
I’m very excited about the group gift this year. My husband suggested we finish the kid’s basketball court. Currently the ground is dirt with rocks. It has a wall that is falling apart and is jagged and uncomfortable to sit on. I got the estimate while I was there, and of course it’s the amount of money I had left from your sponsorship gifts! After it’s completed, I’ll share some pictures of the before and after.
This year seemed extra special to me. I don’t know if it was because it was my third trip since July or what, but the kids seem so appreciative. They we extra loving and gave back so much to us through their performances. Dr. Morquette says the Christmas party is the day they wait for all year.