It was strangely familiar to walk off the plane and onto the tarmack. The heat hit my body the moment I touched the ground. I walked toward the building knowing my life was about to change in a whole lot of ways. I made my way through immigration and customs and followed the winding ramp down praying I would see a sign with my name on it. I recognized my driver Edward immediately.
The drive from the airport also had a sense of familiarity. The heat, sights and smells were reminiscent of my time in Haiti. At a stop light our car was approached by a man in a wheelchair begging for money. A young boy tried to clean our windshield for a small fee. We continued down the streets seeing trash, people , barbed wire and many small buildings full of people selling their wares.
We checked in at Rye Manor and dropped off my bags before we proceeded to the children's home. I was greeted with hugs and smiles from the children. They all wanted to be held. Each of them a beautiful treasure - deserving so much more, but making the best of the hand they had been dealt. I adored them all, but quickly found a favorite to share a few moments with before heading to Mercy's grandmother house to pick her up.
We left the home and drove down the bumpy roads to Mercy's grandmother's house. Passing people and buildings, unaware of where we were going or how far we would have to drive. In the distance and on the left I saw a little girl twirling in her peach-colored dress. I couldn't see her face, but even at the distance my heart knew that I was catching my first glimpse of Mercy. We pulled over and got out of the run down vehicle. We crossed the street and I saw her standing by a line of homes. The little girl in the peach dress - Mercy in the flesh. I could hardly believe my eyes.
I was introduced to her grandmother and what I believe were her brothers. I restrained myself and asked if I could hug her. She said yes and we talked for a few moments. Her grandmother handed me her bag and we walked to the car hand in hand. We were immediately mother and daughter. No looking back. I could hardly believe it was real. The day I had dreamed about had come to pass.