As much as I loved the Oloffson, I couldn’t really see making Ysmaille drive me back and forth across town, especially now that I knew RAM was playing its usual Thursday night set, so I checked out and moved a day early to Visa Lodge.  Once in my ridiculously palatial room, I plugged in the thirteen laptops I’d lugged in my luggage, since we were scheduled to hand them out at 3pm to Cité Soleil children at the Restavek Freedom school.  Luckily, my room was absolutely full of plugs.

An unexpected twist was that Joan Conn, director of Restavek Freedom, and Jeanie Haas, our good friend from the Nicaragua pilot, were having lunch at Visa Lodge as we showed up.  More than this, they wouldn’t be able to make it to the partners dinner later that day, so I decided it would be better to reschedule our trip to AMURT to prep the remaining laptops we’d need for Cité Soleil.  Instead, Ysmaille agreed to drive there and pick up ten laptops while I had lunch with Joan, Jeanie, and their friends.

Always a fine balance between talking mission and doing drudge work. The tedious stuff keeps me grounded, no doubt, but sometimes sales is the better choice.  During lunch, we get a call from Caroline, who represents Acacia School, the new partner that replaced JP/HRO.   She had thought the partner meet was a two and was almost at the Visa Lodge.  “Sure, stop by and say hi, though we’re headed to Cité Soleil soon afterwards.”   As lunch goes on, neither Caroline nor Ysmaille have made it back.  Apparently there was an accident or something.  Guess we won’t have enough laptops for the kids in Cité Soleil, but it’s time to go!   We meet Caroline on the way out.  Hello and goodbye!

We’d made it partway into Cité Soleil before I remembered the reality of where we were.  Looking out the window I forgot logistics and took in street scenes, though of course felt awkward taking photos.  Here’s one from the highway:

At the school we find out there’s a church celebration, so there’s no kids!   Guess that solved the laptop problem.  I give a laptop to the Father to try to lure some of them to come back and sure enough he manages to bring a half dozen kids for a short class.  There’s really no reason sweating details in Haiti.  One potential disappointment (not enough laptops) gets squelched by another potential disappointment (not enough kids).  It’s all good.  High acceptance, low exectation.

The kids are bright, and grateful.  This time I let them figure out how to open the laptops themselves, which took pretty long, but when one of them figured it out, they were very pleased with themselves.  Jeanie and Joan had a blast watching the enthusiasm of the children.  I was pretty excited about the two new mentors that I met.

Back at the hotel, I settled into a lonely evening feeling awkward in my impossibly posh hotel room.  Visa Lodge is the place where you stay if you don’t want to experience Haiti.  It was very different from my earlier stays.  I started asking around for a cheaper, less ostentatious place.

Oh, and yeah, the partner dinner was canceled.  Sarita was sick, and with Restavek and Acacia not coming, I told Benaja to stay home.

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