I love the children. I don't mind waking up to their cries at night and I love to hear their happy laughter during the day. I love to hold them when they are sick. I love to cuddle them when they're not. This life is fun. Of course there is always the other side of the coin. I shared about that "other side" earlier this month so this post will be ALL positive.
Like I said, today was fun!
The plan: a trip to the hospital with 3 precious babies.
The goal: three TB tests, two chest xrays, one poop test, one urine test, one CD4 count, one doctor consult, and a rendevous with the American doctor we saw on Tuesday.
I took off early in the red machin with 3 babies. One in a car seat, one in a Bumbo, and one in a little chair that probably served as a car seat sometime in the early 1970s. The two babies and one big kid (age 2) looked so sharp in their nice clothes and freshly braided hair that I had to take a picture. I so wish I could share the photo! The four of us drove in to the next village to pick up what I thought was going to be one person, the nanny that was going to help me take care of the babies. Just four extra people later, we were off towards Milot hospital. Transit time was increased by a few minutes after we attempted to travel down a road that I'm going to have to officially proclaim: impassable! Rendered such by one too many a heavy rainfall. When we had to turn around half-way through what we call "the sugar cane shortcut" the ladies all apologized profusely for having led me astray. They would have easily passed by moto or on foot (the two main methods of transit) and hadn't considered the difficulties the truck would present. After I turned the truck around and headed back the way we came the women joked with me about the gwo chofe (literally, big driver) I'd become. Back in April Jamie taught me how to drive the truck, which has a manual transmission, and it was some of these same women who were with me on my first solo drive. I just barely made it through that same route without getting stuck in the mud. Let's just say it was a wild ride for my passengers. As it goes, I'm usually able to judge my driving by the number of people that breath out a "Mesi Jezi" (Thank you Jesus) when we arrive at our destination. Total for today's drive: zero!
There's something special about traveling in the company of Haitians when I'm the only foreigner. I actually love it. Not that I don't love hanging out with my fellow missionary friends. but I learn so much from the nannies when its just me and them, speaking Creole, talking about life in Haiti. Which brings me to the highlight of my day.
We were sitting outside of the laboratory waiting for my big kid to pee in a cup. I needed him to pee and poop sometime in the next 4 hours as laboratory results are returned to the doctors at 3 PM. I knew 3 of the women and we were surrounded by some other adults who were simply making the best of the long wait by reclining on otherwise vacant laboratory benches. They talked to pass the time. They shared stories of faith, hardship, and humor and although I didn't say much, I laughed with them. Amongst it all I heard a statement that made me smile.
I had just stopped paying attention when the conversation turned to me. Even though I frequent the hospital I still stick out like the white person I am and I can tell people find it curious to see me walking around with Haitian babies draped around my neck, nestled on my hip, and clinging to my skirt. In the same way, this particular group of waiters was wondering about my nationality. One of our nannies answered their comments with what sounded like pride and certainty, "Li pa American, non, Ayitien li ye." She's not American. She's Haitian. Period.
"Ohhhhh.... you're Haitian, are you?" said the waiting woman.
I tried hard to conceal the huge smile on my face when the waiting woman looked at me and nodded with approval. It felt pretty special to hear those words coming out of this particular nanny's mouth.
Later I heard the waiting woman tell another wondering woman that I was Haitian.
Maybe next time I'll correct them but today... I think I'll go on being Haitian.