I was not present when the scheme was hatched. Two people who I thought loved me came up with it. My own wife and brother. Before I knew what was happening, an email from Delta Airlines popped into my inbox. Ken had used his miles to buy us roundtrip tickets for my birthday.
Now a trip to the Caribbean in the middle of the worst winter in the history of Utah winters isn’t of itself the sort of thing I’d normally be uncomfortable with. But you have to understand that I’m not much of a roughing it sort of guy. If trips there are to be, then trips to London, Paris and New York, pretty please.
But I’m pretty sure none of those cities have airport designations of PAP. It could only mean one thing: I would be winging my way for my birthday to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. From there, we would be making our way into the heart of the country to a village called St. Marc. We would be staying at the orphanage where we’ve been trying to raise funds to get some new classrooms get built.
In other words, about as far from my comfort zone as is humanly possible. Maybe just a titch beyond, even. The abstract concept of a place I’ve been learning about recently is about to get real real. And real quick-like. Time between learning about the trip and taking it is under two weeks.
In the days since, I started to warm up to the idea. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and putting together videos about this place that some of the finest humans we have on this planet call home. A place where we hope something miraculous will take place over the next few years, as children who had been facing the longest of long shots might actually have a decent shot because they will acquire fluency in the English language, which opens up opportunities that can help them break the poverty cycle. But so far, it all remains in my head a fairly abstract idea. I’m taking a camera and a notepad. I’m hopeful I can go and get more of the real flavor of the place to share with others.
In the meantime, it’s shots for this and shots for that, pills for this and… well, so far just the one pill prescription actually, hitting the local thrift shops (speaking of trips outside my comfort zone!) with Suzanne on date night to forage for kid shoes that are in decent shape and picture books and fun DVDs, going for the first time in my life to a place where the outdoorsy people go called Cabela’s (sp?) to pick up some outdoorsy clothes (mine are all of the indoorsy variety), and dusting off a passport. Oh, and let’s not forget my decision that I needed to get into tip-top shape (a week of shoveling snow was nature’s way of pushing me) and drop 10 pounds in 10 days (these two things are as likely as kind word between the Left and the Right on Facebook these days) and to try to wean myself off of 18 gallons of certain diet beverage that shall remain nameless (aiming to get it down to 9 gallons – this is slightly less likely than the weight-loss thing). These things are all colliding in just the funnest possible way. I need a nap.
Definitely about as far from my comfort zone as is humanly possible. But I suspect that once again I’ll be reminded that that’s where all the good stuff that ever happens happens.