Monday, Dec. 3
Even though there weren’t any animal noises throughout the night, I didn’t sleep well and woke up before 5, probably since it was our last night before traveling home. We all woke early and ventured to the roof to watch a gorgeous sunrise.
We had toast and fruit for breakfast and left for the airport around 7. Saying good-bye to Patrick and Robenson was harder than I expected – they’ve become good friends to all of us this week. Tons of Haitians surrounded us as we got out of the van at the airport, trying to sell us last-minute cheap souvenirs. We had to go through security scanners 3 times, and our passports and boarding passes were checked at least 5 times. Two people did get their peanut butter (flavored with hot pepper) confiscated from their carry-ons, but otherwise we made it through without a hitch.
Flying in to Fort Lauderdale was such a culture shock from where we’d been – from above it looked as though every house was a mansion with an in-ground pool, and the streets lined up so perfectly. We went through customs and grabbed our bags, but my bag was flagged. I still had the mango Kinsey had given me a few days prior, and there were fruit-sniffing Beagles in the airport that detected it. I had to go through a separate “agriculture” line, where my mango was confiscated. The man was actually very sweet, saying, “I’m sure you just forgot, but next time be sure to declare any fruit you bring into the country. You could’ve been charged $300, but I’m not going to fine you.” Um sure…I forgot…that’s right! I’m normally the one who never gets in trouble for anything, so I was a little embarrassed. Luckily we had a 2-hour layover and I didn’t hold up the group too long.
We all started making phone calls to loved ones, and I talked to my husband, sister, and parents briefly before grabbing a chicken salad sandwich. The flight to Chicago seemed like it took forever – we were all so ready to be home. When we landed at 4:30, it was already dark and gloomy outside. We had a quick layover there and boarded a tiny plane to Kansas City.
Curtis and I had a good conversation on the way home about ways our church can hopefully continue to support Haiti and the water project, which really helped pass the time. I kept envisioning my husband waiting for me when I arrived, with me jumping into his arms when I saw him. When we finally did land at 7:30, several others had their families waiting for them, but Jerod was nowhere to be found. As I started to call him, I saw him exiting the bathroom. I guess not everything happens as you imagine, but I was still happy to see him. It was the longest we’d been apart (and not talked) since we’d been married. One last hiccup before we made it home – none of our luggage made it to Kansas City. Apparently it was sent through Dallas rather than Chicago, so they delivered it to us the next day. After spending a week with my mission team and growing so close to them, it was a little hard to go our separate ways. I know we’ll always have a special bond, and I hope that our friendships continue. I’ve grown in so many ways from this trip. I appreciate what I have in life, I try to be more patient and friendly toward others, and best of all, I feel closer to God.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog posts about Haiti. Please feel free to leave your comments below.