Saturday, August 18, 2012

Matthew 25 and Maison Fortune

We arrived quite smoothly into Port Au Prince yesterday morning. The 1 hour and 45 minute flight was quicker than it took for us to get from Port Jefferson, Long Island to LaGuardia airport. Upon arriving in PAP, we needed to gather our bags and make it through the aggressively eager porters to find our ride. This time, it was surprisingly calm and uneventful. We were met at the doors and whisked through the travelers to an awaiting Matthew 25 vehicle and Ricardo, a familiar face. Within 20 minutes, we were at the traveler’s lodge.
Matthew 25 is the place that I wrote about 3 years ago. A tent city was erected in the soccer field next to them that at one point, immediately after the earthquake, hosted 2000 people. Today it is being used for a different purpose – the local soccer championships! So wonderful to see life back to normal.

Nancy, our friend at Matthew 25, says that the big success story here is a young girl named Reginette. She lost part of her leg in the earthquake and was part of a video that Dina made our first year here. You can see the video here. Today Reginette works at Matthew 25 as part of the housekeeping staff. She is a straight A student and says she wants to become a journalist. Most importantly, when she started working here, she was very shy and reserved. She was 13 when the earthquake struck. Today, Nancy says that she plays Uno and Sorry with the staff and is coming out of her shell. She was all smiles for us as we showed her the video of herself.  She uses the money that she earns at Matthew 25 to pay for her school books and to support her mother at home. 

Having arrived a day ahead of our departure for Hinche, we did some much desired exploring of Port Au Prince. We went to the outskirts of the city where they make the metal art that is signature Haitian. We ate at a local restaurant – fritay, which means fried. They sell fried meats, plantains, potatoes covered in pikliz, which is their spicy coleslaw. We also stopped at the Italian hospital, St. Damien’s, looking for my friend Esther. We found Anise instead and chatted in our very rusty Creole.
Today we arrived in Hinche at Maison Fortune. The girls remember us and remember my name!! Dina, Ami, and I went over to the girls compound and were immediately swarmed by children. We were surrounded by about 12 girls each. Ami ended up being covered in glitter and admired for her tattoos. Dina started writing down the girls’ names and pretending to be their teacher. I practiced my Creole, while the girls told me their names in English. I showed them photos on my iPhone which prompted them to gather even closer. If I have your photo on my iPhone, you were a star in Haiti today. I called Dina to rescue me when my swarm was nearly on top of me.
We are so happy to be here. The children are a year older, they have learned more English, we have learned more Creole. We can already see the power of continuity on their smiling faces.
Donating 10 pairs of shoes to the orphanage

1 comment:

JOY said...

So glad you all arrived! Your smooth and uneventful arrival indicates it's going to be an amazing trip (isn't it always?!). Love you Maria!!
The Gilpins