Downtown Port-au-Prince, riots and crying babies

When our big, burly haitian driver got scared enough to wrestle with the gear shift and squeal off down the road, I knew it was time to get worried.

But let me not get ahead of myself.

I’ve been enjoying some sweet time with my boys. Lovence playing in the pool (my how my boy loves water!), Laurentz sticking matchbox cars in a plastic cup, and then taking them out. Sticking them in, taking them out. Eating meals together.

Good mommy stuff.

Today was the not-so-fun mommy stuff. We had to take the boys to downtown Port-au-Prince to get their blood drawn for the adoption paperwork. When we first arrived at the clinic, they were closed because of a scheduled “Manifestation.”. “Manifestation?” I asked, imagining a parade, a dance or some type of street fair.

“It’s a protest,” Miriam replied, “A riot.” She went on to tell me that riots are very dangerous in Haiti. But no worries. Turned out the clinic would be happy to open up after the madness passed by. Just come back around in a bit.


Miriam had another errand to run so we headed down a few streets, around a few corners and pulled up close to a building. Miriam, Lovence, Familisse (Lovence’s nanny) and another gentleman all got out of the truck. I was left inside with our strong driver Donalso and another sweet nanny. Donalso stepped out to go grab a bite to eat, leaving the truck running. It seemed to take forever. I kept my head down and tried not to imagine someone jumping in to the driver’s seat and racing away with me, Laurentz and the other nanny. I even envisioned my escape route should something like that occur. Jump out with Laurentz. Stand there and look street savvy and really, really tough.

Touch my child and I’ll beat you.

That kind of tough.

Lots of people and cars and honking and craziness kept unfolding all around me.

Oh, Jesus. I prayed. Stay close!

Finally, Donalso climbed back into the car with his lunch from a nearby vendor. We sat there a few more moments when there was a sudden rush of commotion. A whole crowd of people started running past the truck from behind, looking anxiously over their shoulder, pushing and shoving one another.

The older nanny beside me (who I was told later never panics), panicked. “Alle, Alle! (Go! Go!)” She said, hitting Donalso on the shoulder. Donalso tossed his food to the side and had trouble getting the truck in gear. “Alle, Alle!” she said again.

Donalso finally got the gear to catch and tore into the running crowd. He quickly pulled away from them and turned down several different streets.

We left behind Miriam, Lovence, Familisse and the other gentleman.

There I was with two wonderful haitians who didn’t speak a bit of english. I didn’t speak bit of Creole. I wanted to ask what happened, what we were going to do, what next.

Instead I held on to Laurentz and prayed this would just make a cool story. A nice blog. A faint, distant memory. Nothing more.

We took the long way, but eventually worked our way back around to where Miriam and the others would come out. The crowd had thinned by that point – no running, no screaming. Finally, Miriam came out. “Boy,” she said as she climbed into the truck, “that gunshot really scared Lovence.”


Oh my, gulp.

Heart still racing, we pulled in front of the clinic, which was now open, and brought the boys in. It was horrible holding Laurentz’ little arm as they stuck the needle in. He let out a few gut-wrenching wails and then tucked his face into my shoulder. It was much harder for Lovence. I found myself near tears as I listened to him cry and cry and cry. They had a tough time finding a vein. I wanted to run in, “Can’t you take mine instead?”


By the time we bundled them all up into the car, we’d already had a full day’s adventure. We drove back with just one quick stop to purchase a roadside rooster cage (don’t say those words often), and headed back to New Life.

On the way, Miriam turned and looked at me very seriously.

“Have you felt the lumps on Lovence’s back?”

My eyes opened wide. “Lumps?”

“Yes, and they’re getting bigger.”


“Yes,” she said. “And I know what they are.”

Horrible thoughts went through my mind in a flash. Oh no!

“What?” I asked.

“Are you sure you’re able to handle it?” She asked, very seriously.

“I think so.”

She looked at me for a minute or two. “They’re wings.”

She started laughing. It took me a moment to get it before I started laughing. “Cuz he’s straight from heaven,” she added for good measure. We laughed some more, tears squeezing out of our eyes.

It was just what we needed after the madness of downtown Port-au-Prince, riots and crying babies.

A simple reminder of what it was all about.

Babies from heaven. Sprouting wings. Good, hearty laughter.

Thank you, Lord.

Lovence in the pool!

Eating some food all wrapped in a warm towel

Laurentz with his plastic cup and cool cars

A bit of Port au Prince

These weren’t where the crowds were, but gives you an idea of the surroundings.

7 thoughts on “Downtown Port-au-Prince, riots and crying babies

  1. Ok, Elsa, I must say I had lumps in my throat reading this one, tears in my eyes, and than joy in my heart! Thanks for sharing the journey with us. I can’t wait to squeeze your angels (and you) and share a load of cars and tracks with them as we are saving our hotwheels and tracks for them.

  2. Oh Elsa, I don’t know which little angel is cuter. Such sweet smiles and I bet their hugs are even sweeter. God bless you all and get home soon and safe with the boys. Luv, Donna

  3. Just another reminder that the world doesn’t look like what’s out our front doors. The neat thing is that God is there in Port Au Prince too. He takes care of those precious boys while you’re away, and it’ll all be complete before you know it. And look at it this way, you’ll have many great stories to share with your grandchildren. 🙂 Keeping up the prayers.

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