Sunday, March 25, 2012

Haiti: Pati De (Part Two)

Much to my pleasure, I successfully refrained from buying anything for my kids for Christmas.  Not a single, solitary gift.  But, I still couldn't stop thinking gifts.  I racked my brain trying to think of something meaningful to take to our hosts, Beaver and Kathy Brooks.  But what?  What do you buy people who are already wealthy beyond their neighbors wildest expectations.  What could I bring to someone who sees hungry, distended bellies daily without seeming like a) I am completely out of touch with their daily reality, or b) I am a classic first world snob who can't help importing my materialistic mindset to a culture that has so far escaped Christmas = overspending.

Honestly, I tried to ignore the idea that I should arrive bearing gifts...but I also tried to put myself in Kathy's place.  Yes, all her kids (sans one) would be there with her and that in itself is the most precious gift a mom can receive; but even so, I'd still want Christmas morning to be somewhat different than all other mornings.  I finally settled on stockings filled with a mixture of goodies and necessities for the guys.  Alyssa and a friend went shopping for them.  I guess they figured all single 20ish aged guys need socks, gum, goldfish crackers and...oh, I can't even remember what else.  Victoria and her friend Lily had been accumulating gift for Rebecca for months, so I knew she was already well taken care of.

I still found myself wanting to do something special for Beaver and Kathy.  I asked around and no one who'd been to Haiti could offer me any direction.  Being left to my own devices, I prayed.  Novel thought, I know.  Should have done it weeks before rather than on December 22, but there you have it: a perfect illustration of how I like to rely on my own wits rather than the voice of the Lord.  Thankfully, I felt God whispering an idea, a Kindle.  A Kindle?  In a third world country?  Would they want one?  Is that just too much of a luxury item to own in a country where few can read and even fewer can afford to buy a book?  Do they already have one?

I asked around.  Victoria said Kathy owned a Kindle.  Taylor, their son, said they didn't.  I couldn't come up with anything better and so bought a new Kindle Touch and an Amazon gift card to get them started.  My thinking was, shucks...even if they already have on Kindle, there's three readers in the family living in a country with no libraries.  I despise sharing my Kindle so they, if they are as selfish as I am, probably would love to have another one too.  I then told Patrick I had bought Beaver and Kathy a Kindle...sort of an "it's easier to ask forgiveness than get permission" kind of moment and so my Christmas shopping was complete.

Medical Supplies - a gift from Patrick's staff to take to the Brooks
Armed with my gifts, the 300lbs of lined paper for the journal maker and countless other supplies, we packed...and packed...and packed.  We weighed bags, redistributed goods, and reweighed and then reweighed again.  After hours and hours we finally thought we had 2 bags per person, totaling 80 lbs between the two bags with no single bag over 50 lbs as per the directions at the Insel website.  Yes, it's true...Insel Air still allows two free bags for each passenger.  Each Eades packed in a carry-on so that we could take as many supplies as possible in the luggage.  Everything was labeled and ready for the drive to Miami.  Let the fun begin!
More gifts from Patrick's staff for the ladies who make jewelry in Jubilee Blanc.  Add in the paper for the journal man, 20 sets of sheets, bags and bolts of fabric that Kathy requested and I collected for the newly formed fiber arts guild, and the gifts for various Haitians that started pouring in from friends who had been to Haiti and we easily maxed out our 480 lb. limit for our luggage for the six of us.

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