Mariah left today and she is missed already. She came late August 2011 for 2-3 months. We kept her and she left today Dec. 14, 2012. Her planned few months stint at this mission turned into a 1 1/2 year stint.

Mariah asking preschooler’s name

Mariah’s first year here saw her doing a fantastic job as preschool teacher at the HATS school. She returned to Canada at end of June to work for a couple of months but returned here once again late August as she knew I was still without help. This year the school wanted her back as a teacher but I fought to keep her on this compound this time. Since she would be moving back to Canada in December I won. Am I thankful for the help she was to many of us on this compound? You bet I am. So are the employees here and the children.

Djemima singing in church for Mariah’s farewell

Mariah has been extremely helpful, not only in the school, and with employees and children here, but also every Sunday in church. Last Sunday we had a special farewell service for Mariah with special music – solos, duets, and groups – some written just for her.

Judel & Karena praying in church at Mariah’s farewell

Wednesday, was the last day of exams and thus last day of regular school for our elementary students (they return on 21st for report cards and a party), and it was also a farewell for Mariah from students and teachers. At one point in the get-together Mariah was mobbed by students, many of them students she had taught last year. She was hugged by so many that she could not be seen in the group for a photo.

Students PS to Grade 6 saying farewell to Mariah

 

Mariah with a student she had last year

Yesterday, Thursday, we had a farewell and thank you Mariah on this compound with employees and children. (Two of our children were missing from the photo.) Tears flowed freely, employees and children. Mariah tried diligently to control the tears but when precious little Karena Mariah (her kid as we all see it) went to hug her and talk to her Mariah could no longer hold back the water.

HATS employees and children with Mariah

 

A sad Mariah as her special Karena Mariah went to say she would miss her a lot

 

Trying to leave the tears for later

 

Mariah will be missed a lot

Early this morning we headed to the airport in Port au Prince so she could head back to her other home. It was very difficult for me to see her walk though Immigration and out of sight but such is life. Our loss, after 1 1/2 years, is once more the gain of her family and friends in Canada. When seeing her walk away from me at the airport today I was remembering my arrival at the airport in 2005 to meet Mariah. I came to meet my first grandchild and at age two, the first time she saw me, she ran to me with hugs. We have grown very close over the years and today she left me with hugs. Hugs and tears. She knew I was crying so she did a Mariah thing as she moved through immigration and in the security line, which she knew would make me smile. It did. Tears and smiles often go together.

Sandra packed in the carry-on and ready to leave with Mariah

We all know that Mariah will be back to see us. We do not know when but we will all be waiting for her visit. Haiti is her second home. Mariah is a wonderful young woman, and not because she is my grand-daughter, and not because I am prejudiced, but because she is who she is. She is already a woman of God and proudly lets it be known. Mariah is Haitian. She is Canadian. She loves her people in both countries. She easily fits in both worlds and is loved and appreciated by people in both.

At airport ready to leave Haiti for Canada

Bye for now Mariah. Thank you for all your help and support. It feels empty here tonight. Ti Luc had tears for you when I put him to bed. I am missing you. God bless you precious one.

~Karen