My son Akin participates in a once a year basketball game that takes place at his school. The most recent game took place yesterday, Wednesday the 17h, which is how I ended up back in the United States, back in Illinois, and back in Chicago with my family. I caught a flight to Chicago to make the game.
In the midst of all that was going on at home, I was supposed to leave for Boston, from Haiti, with my mother and father. Unfortunately, their papers hadn’t gone through yet with the state department so in order to make the game, I had to leave without them. But I have recently found out that their papers have gone through and are with the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. Now, though, I am in a bind. I am having a hard time deciding whether to go back to Haiti to travel with my parents to Boston or to spend more time here with my family and meet them in Boston. I am torn.
As a father and a husband, I have to be sure that I am around to support and be there for my family, but I am also a son. And as a son I have to be sure to be around and support my parents also, especially in their utmost time of need. I play many roles, and in each of them I have to take responsibility.
I was so happy to see my family, beyond words, but it was also very heartbreaking to leave my parents, especially with their being so many unresolved issues. Yes, their papers have cleared but they still have to endure the travel. They don’t speak English and I know that being on a flight to the Americas and going through immigration alone would be very hard and exhausting for them, since they have never traveled to the United States before. But I also know that my wife and children have endured a lot of heartache in my absence. Abruptly, they were without a husband, without a father, they were without me and they were hurting. So as I have said before, I am torn. My heart is torn.
We have been so grateful to be helped by an organization called Partners in Health. They have been assisting us since February 26th. With them, we have made tremendous strides. With their sponsorship my parents were approved for a Humanitarian Visa. Another thing that they are also doing that may aid in my decision to stay in Chicago or to go to Haiti is finding a Creole translator to travel with my parents on their journey. It would be not just a language barrier but a culture shock for them to travel alone and Partners in Health understands that. Still, though, it would be a difficult decision for me to make.
But at the moment, I am here. I am here with my family and I am happy to be home. However, I know that there are things that still need to be settled, and when they settle, I will also.