Thursday, June 18, 2009

My First Shoeshine

The day I left Port-de-Paix, Haiti, was an emotional journey. I spent the last hour or so in a room alone with Stephanie. We talked, prayed together, and sobbed through our goodbyes. I was still ill and, combined with the emotional drain, I was totally depleted of any energy.

I climbed into an SUV for our trip to the Port-de-Paix airport, along with 3 pastors. I was certainly in good hands! ;) As Keith and I were dropped off at the airport, the very kind Pastor Andy looked me straight in the eyes and told me that Stephanie was going to be just fine. I was so thankful for his kindness but had to jump out quickly before bursting into tears. You know the law of tears... once you let 'em loose it's hard to keep them from continuing! We got checked in at the tiny little airport and then were sent behind the building to the "waiting area". Never before had I seen such a beautiful waiting area. It was outdoors and looked like a little spot of paradise! While we were outside waiting a young boy approached me (I'm guessing he was about 11 years old) and asked me if I would like my shoes shined. I politely told him no thank you. I was so wrapped up in my own exhaustion and sadness that it did not occur to me that this little boy is probably in great need of the money for food and is only seeking work. As he walked away it hit me and I wondered why on earth I would have told him no. Then I looked down at my shoes and thought "YIKES!" they were caked with mud from walking the wet dirt roads.

After quickly asking Keith how much I tip for a shoe shine I went after the boy. He sat down and spread out his supplies. He took off the first shoe and I had no idea where to put my bare foot until he put down a rag and motioned for me to put it there. Honestly the ground probably would have been a cleaner spot to put my foot down, but the little boy's act of kindness was heart warming. The shoeshine boy was quiet and shy so did not speak much to me. While watching him work another boy came over to chat with me in English and Creole. He was so cute~ wanting to know what it is like in America. I enjoyed chatting with him and hearing about his life in Haiti. The shoeshine boy continued to work on with my shoes. When he was done I was blown away. They looked better then new! They were spotless and shiny black! I tipped him generously and told him what a wonderful job he did. He was all shy grins. I have been home now for a month and my shoes still look better then new. Every time I look at them I think of the sweet shy boy making it on his own and say a prayer for him. He has likely forgotten about me but he will remain in my memories forever. There was just something so special about that little bit of time with him.

1 comment:

The Haiti Lady said...

Isn't it amazing the number of people that touch you while you are in Haiti, if you just let them.
Lov eya,