Friday, December 28, 2007

Witchner arrives in Massachusetts

Witchner arrived in Boston at about 7:45 last night. He left LesCayes on a Tortug flight to PAP, then flew from PAP to Miami where he maneuvered the customs and immigration lines all by himself. He found his way down the long corridors in Miami to his next gate and arrived only an hour late (not too bad for American Airlines) in Boston. He arrived dressed in a suit and tie, and not looking the least bit frazzled. Amazing!

It's clear that many people supported Witchner on his trip to the U.S. The suit he was wearing was given to him by Pastor Guy as was the suitcase he was using. Other people contributed spending money, a carrying bag, a winter hat, and I'm sure we'll hear about more generosity. Haitians are very generous. His aunt and brother phoned him from Haiti to make sure he arrived safely. The winter coat in the photo was given to him by Hosea J0nes from College Church.

We had a surprising experience at Logan: While Paul and I were sitting in the terminal and reading as we waited for Witchner's plane to arrive, Dr. Paul walked up to us. We were so surprised to see each other! He was on his way back to Haiti through Miami. He sat down and we had a nice chat. After about 20 minutes he got up to leave for his gate. It turns out his gate was the same gate that Witchner was coming into. So, about 30 minutes later, here comes Dr. Paul again, walking Witchner from the gate to the terminal exit for baggage claim where we were waiting. He very generously gave Witchner his own fleece jacket (which Paul and I will return to him in February.)

Cultural shifts: There will be many living-in-the-USA experiences that we'll have to explain to Witchner. We take so much for granted, that it's hard to know where to begin. At the airport we began by explaining where to throw the garbage as Witchner stood at the carousel holding an empty Pepsi bottle. In Haiti there are no garbage cans; it hadn't occurred to me until that moment that he wouldn't know to look for them here. Simple, but definitely different. Other things we explained before going to bed: hot and cold water taps (there is no hot water in Haiti), an electric blanket (no it won't electrocute you, it will make you warm), walk carefully on the snowy driveway, the internet is on 24/7, and how Americans love their pets (we have two cats and a birdfeeder).

I'm sure today will bring many more surprises -- right now Witchner is still sleeping. I think he has a lot of catching up to do.

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