Friday, April 29, 2016

The Trip that Changes Lives, Part 3: The BIG Day

Finally, after three and a half days in Haiti, we were able to meet our sponsor children!  Before I went to Peru when I read the schedule I thought, "Why do they make us wait until the end of the week to meet our children!?!"  As one of the men on our trip said at the evening debriefing on the day we met our children, "Thank you for having this be the last thing in the week.  I am emotionally drained and would be of little use tomorrow!"  Obviously, there is wisdom and experience in the schedule making!

The morning we were to meet our children found us finished with breakfast and ready for the day much faster than any other day of the trip.  Even the people who were always the last ones to arrive for anything were ready early!

We were to spend the day at our hotel, enjoying the grounds and pool as we played and chatted together with our children.  So, we all gathered in the area around the pool to wait to meet our children.  We were called one by one to meet our children.  Our beloved Jim and Rita were the first to meet their girl.  (A long and fun story behind the reason we elected for them to be first.  Maybe another time!)

Just Nikki and me left!

As each person/couple was called I felt like the participant on one of those reality shows where someone is voted off the show or chosen as the winner.  Nikki and I were the last two.  Then she was called and there I was waiting while I watched everyone playing with and talking with their children already!

I kinda wanted to hold her hand all day!

But, oh, what a joy awaited me!  I finally got to meet Shnaida.  She is now a beautiful 17 year old.  I started supporting her when she was 6 years old!  There she was in her lovely red t-shirt and denim skirt with her hair braided and piled on her head in an amazing arrangement and gorgeous freckles on her nose.  Her smile melted my heart.

Isn't she lovely?!

She is as shy as I imagined her to be, but friendly and open.  A project worker who knows Shnaida well came with her.  She was also friendly and had a great smile and spirit.

Doing origami together

We sat and chatted for a while, exchanged presents and did some origami.  I had wanted to give her a nice Japanese fan, however, they are very hard to find in the winter, even at the hundred yen store!  But, I did have a bamboo fan kit which could be decorated, so we decorated that together.  I made one side of the big fan for her and she decorated the small one for me.

Our decorated fans

As we played and chatted we talked about many different things, school, family, life.  I encouraged her to be sure to find a husband who loves Jesus.  Because her heart is so kind and beautiful, I know she will be able to do this!  She said that she'd like to find a job where she can help others.

We spent a little time in the pool playing with a beach ball.  It was her first time in a pool.  We didn't swim, just walked in the shallow end and played with some others who were in the pool, too.

Lunch was a little quiet.  We were all focused on eating, processing what had been happening all morning, and maybe our translator was a little tired, too.  After lunch I brought out a few more gifts, including some things others had given me to give to Shnaida.  We tried out the chopsticks without a lot of success!

Quilt from the ladies at West Center!  Don't know if she will
ever need to use it for sleeping...

We finished the day together in prayer.  Shnaida wanted prayer for her family and the project worker for the children at the project.  It was a sweet, holy moment filled with love and joy.

One last selfie

What precious memories!

In the car on the way home.  Wonderful day!

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