To start off, this past Friday was Mother's Day here in Haiti so church turned into an all-out, 3 hour celebration. It started off with normal praise and worship and somehow turned into a Haitian game show, complete with catchy music, cheering and dancing up and down the aisles. Granted, it took me until about thirty minutes into the game to understand what was actually happening, but once I caught on, I realized that this Bible trivia was going to last a long time. About an hour later, the game was wrapping up and all the mothers were called to the stage for special recognition. Imagine my surpise when all of the Hope House children tried to pull me on stage with the rest of the moms, claiming that I was their "manmie" too. Let me tell you, there aren't many greater feelings than that!
After church many of us rushed upstairs to start making food for our big day. Since it was my last weekend with the children, I planned a special beach day for them, the mommies and the supervisors to show them how grateful I was for allowing me into their family for so long. With the help of many people here at the mission, we were able to make a picnic lunch for over 100 people, get changed for the beach and load all of those 100 people (sixty of those being crazy, excited children) onto a bus headed for the beach in just over thirty minutes. I don't think I officially caught my breath until this morning!
What a wonderful time at the beach! I don't think I can even explain the sense of joy I felt to watch the mommies dip their toes in the water and the kids jumping in the waves, completely carefree for a few hours. Even the bus ride home was filled with excitement. Although we had at least four people in each seat and the aisles filled with supplies and people, it didn't stop the kids from singing and dancing the entire way home- what an amazing ending to an amazing journey! After all of the minor setbacks, frustrating days and change of plans, it was such a treat to spend some uninterrupted time together.
Thank you to everyone who helped make our beach day a success and also to everyone back home who has supported me throughout this time!