After finishing up our clinics and work at the orphanage on Tuesday, we said our goodbyes to the kids and staff which is always a hard piece. When you enter into their world and their pain and connect with them on an emotional level, you become bonded, even though you don't speak the same language. The kids cry and hold on to you and you see their broken hearts after they have enjoyed your hugs and attention for the last week. Even the staff and helpers show the sadness that they feel about losing our company and our presence, asking when we will come back so they have something, anything, to look forward to.
Wednesday was a relaxed morning at the hotel, with a later breakfast and departure time than we had enjoyed all week. We said our goodbyes to the friends we had made and boarded the big yellow school bus and set out for Port-au-Prince. While we were in route, we got a message that American Airlines wanted to bump us to the next flight leaving a few hours after our scheduled flight and would give us some travel vouchers to make the change. After some phone calls with the airline and taking a vote, we agreed, as it was only going to get us home about an hour later than planned. We dropped off the 2 Drs. Koh that were flying to New York and decided to take a little driving tour around while we had a little more time to kill.
Those in our group that were here in March thought that things had improved, but there is still so much devastation. I wondered what kind of home or school or business it was, and what precious lives were still buried under the rubble. We saw a young girl being pushed around in a wheelchair because she no longer had legs, and I imagined how difficult it must be for her to get around on the bumpy gravel roads. We drove around and we watched life. Even there in the city, life in Haiti is lived primarily outside – Moms were out washing clothes in a pan outside their tents, cooking a meal over a little charcoal fire, kids were running around that should have been in school but either had not the privilege of attending, or maybe their school was destroyed in the earthquake and they have no school now. I wondered how do the children find their tent home among the hundred others that look the same?