July in Haiti
Early morning, and Strung is crying, standing by himself in the courtyard, big loud sobs fill the air. Guerdeline, 16, walks by, extends her hand and says something I can’t hear from my balcony and he pushes her away disconsolately. Then Junior walks up to him: he is slightly taller than 3 year old Strung and he too tries to say something but this time Strung answers and Junior puts his arm around his shoulders and both little boys walk away, apparently having found a solution to this mini-drama.
The Foyer is a family with 96 children of all ages who cry, run, do chores, play domino endlessly, chat continuously, tease each other mercilessly and laugh….. a lot and often. It is a normal household! Yet, the only shower for the forty some boys is broken again so it is back to hauling the large tomato sauce can out of the well for mini showers behind a short hideaway.
The teenagers are mesmerized by Facebook which makes you wonder about what is posted and how it is interpreted. What image do they have of the “friends” that came for a short time and they now see on Facebook?
Most of my goals for this trip were met: I retrieved the receipts for the installation of windows and doors on the large building so I can show accountability to Terre des Montagnes, the French non-profit that funded this. Thanks to Julie Turner and her group we had the visit of a US dentist and nurse: only 2 teeth had to be pulled out! Several friends offered donations and Will Kennedy ( LUM class of 2011)and I brought to the Foyer craft supplies, undies ( 100 pairs) , laptops, a camera. The children made colorful gimp and friendship bracelets with Will Kennedy’s help .Many kept what they made; they are not ready to share with others, they need to hoard this new treasure , but a few did give them out and I brought several back with me.
Elphania also learned how to use old clothing to braid into placemats and pull rugs: it will be a challenge for her to pursue this original idea on her own. I have faith: ideas start small but they grow and I hope future volunteers or I will be able to give her the support she needs and she will pass on what she learned to others.
Will also videotaped the children's choir for Professor Lillie's fall digital editing class. I also brought a volley ball and a net. Thanks to the Children in Need club, the Foyer now has a new frig (one that doesn’t use a stone wedged underneath to close the door!)
Part of this trip was to help finish inside the bakery. The cement counter was almost finished when I left and soon I hope, cabinets will be installed and running water connected. Funding for this came from the Sisters School of Notre Dame. A side benefit of my stay was to taste the daily confections produced by the group of teenagers running the pastry program. They sold out of their delicious first production of puff pastry "pâté" and received an order for more that very same day.
Time in Haiti is both slow and full. The pace of life slows down but sounds, light, sight and heat fill the days so that when I leave the country, no matter how long I might have spent there, it feels at least twice as long but most of all, it captures your heart and stays with you.
|Boys hauling in the new fridge|
|Magdala facing George the dentist|
|A new cake every day!|
|Cosmetology class under a tent|
|Will and boys working on keychains|
|Remember Ricarlens? See what he built this time! Amazing talent.|
|Kervens and Emma love that camera!|
|Today is rhum cake!|
|Dieudonne making a bead bracelet|
|Helping eachother making bracelets|
|Elfania making rag rug|
|Papaya tree donated by Ramon and Ana, doing well!|
|Who thought of sending fur boots to Haiti?|