Updated: Jan 11, 2022
Saturday afternoon found me walking down the road to the orphanage... Heads popped out of the gate. "It's Quiara!" they shouted. Many hugs and fist bumps later, I got to the kitchen and gave my biggest hug of all to Sherli! I talked to her and Fre Lemoin for awhile. As expected, Sherli had some meat fried up in a jiffy, with banan peze and patats and picklis. And grenadia juice. She is THE BEST cook in Haiti. She should start a school! I rode around on a wagon held kids up to touch the ceiling. All those old familiar things... the kids are waiting for you, just as ready to love you as ever before! I met Daniela by the police station and we got a machin back to FP. The room was completely tet ba... upside down... with her clothes and mine completely scattered around and mixed together. But we sprawled out and did nothing about it until it got dark. Then it was time to go take our teeny bucket bath because the water was about gone, and Dani tucked me into bed with the mosquito netting around me, claiming she wanted to sleep on the floor where the wind was better.
We thought we would get to church late next morning, after waiting for an age with my suitcases by the road. But Mesi Jezi, a machin came. We even had time to get a pate. Same story... flirty guys asking questions, talk about the government, the delicious aroma of oily, yummy, greasy, cabbagy pates... You stand there as the lady lazily forms yours and drops it into the oil and can't wait for it to be done. The O kids and CSI walked by while we were waiting. I snagged Ednise and Cristelle to come and walk with us... told them I'd share my pate. Ednise said she wanted to sit by me because I liked to tell jokes. It's hard to believe she's 15 and back there again!! Her, Dakenley, Berlande, and Nadia all came back from their foster homes. The others are all about 14, and waayy to old for that place! Poochie is too... He's pretty sober and hangs back a lot. The girls say they hardly know Dakenley but he and I were really close, and I felt like I got to talk to him a lot. Papa preached... Elder was gone to an ordination. I was happy to see I had no trouble understanding the sermon. Sherli STUFFED us with food! I am just amazed at her sos pwa. It makes me feel like giving up making Haitian food all together. I snatched graten from that huge chodia of rice just like old days.
I found Daniela again after lunch and we went to Chamaline's house for awhile. It's sad to see her without a dress and head covering. They started gossiping, and I didn't feel like trying to follow the conversation... my belly was so full, so I just dozed. I wanted cold Coke from Monise, but she didn't have much. I just bought my one and only Toro of the week and talked to her a bit, then went to Natalie's. My Love is HUGE... I guess 4 years old already and been in Kindergarten awhile. I didn't recognize her. Natalie says she doesn't like Haiti. Most Haitians will stick up for Haiti but she doesn't. And she said she'd still give me My Love. Some things never change. We walked the town one last time... I didn't want to let Dani go. There are some beautiful houses going up... lots of kids out playing in the water ditches it seemed like. We meandered through this mess of buildings where I knew there wasn't a road. Sure enough there wasn't! But they said, "No problem, you can come through!" And that is where we saw the baby... They thought I was probably a nurse, and asked if I could help their baby that had a problem with his eyes. Dani thought we should go see, and maybe she could talk to her friend who's a white nurse about it. The baby was fat and beautiful, but its eyelids were tight shut. The slits were probably about half the size of what they should have been, and we tried to pry them open a bit to see the baby's eyes, but to our dismay, we could see no eyeball behind??? Does that even happen? I don't know, but even if that baby sees a white nurse, I don't think it will ever see. The poor 16 year old mother is worried. I wish she had someone to help her accept it and learn to care for a blind child.
After Dani left, I went to the girls' house and changed to go to church. It was sprinkling as we went to the O, and started pouring soon after we got there. We wondered if there would even be church, but decided to risk it. We traveled up the hill in the rain, kids' shoes coming off different times... we were already soaked to the skin when we found out that no, there wasn't church. But the kids had the bright idea to go to Papa's and sing. Unfortunately Papa was sleeping, but we were all there so we settled on to the porch by the kitchen and they started calling out numbers. When we sang Kris Se Woch that got them on a roll. Patrick is still the designated bass singer, and after that all the songs had to have bass so Patrick could sing them. Or alto lead or something like that at least. I sat by Nadia and told her she had a pretty alto and won a friend at that moment! :) We sang and sang... it got almost dark, and it rained off and on, but still they said, "One more!" I didn't want to stop! The girls went for jackets, and of course the kids wanted to take the umbrellas. I wasn't up there but apparently there was some dezod going on and they said, "No, no umbrellas, you're walking home in the rain becuase you're fighting over them." Woy that made a riot!!! Such complaining about how the rain was wasting their clothes and being wet was going to make them sick. Then they found water gutters and laughed gleefully as they stood straight underneath them and let the water pour over them. We got back to the O and I got out the glow-in-the-dark stars I had brought. There was 50 in the package so it took time and tactfulness to get them all hung up above everyone's bunks. I put the oldest kids in charge of deciding if it was fair. 13 year olds are the same everywhere... they love to be made responsible for something! By then Nadia was really my friend, and was sad that I wasn't coming back in the morning. They all were, actually, but not as sad as me. It was pitch black by then, and Poochie had a flashlight, so he and Dei and Dakenley took me to CSI. We had a good talk... he still remembered my family. He's only 2 years younger than Miguel, and wanted to know about Miguel's job, and if he could drive. All that is hard for a boy over there to imagine, just how it is hard for us to imagine their life over there.
CSI had a feast for us. We sat out on porch... white youth in another country, mixing Kreyol with English. Oh, I missed Greg and Paula, Michelle, Donovan, Carson, Nic, Kate, Elly... all of you. I missed you so much! I just know our times were better than these folks will ever have! :) Probably not really but you guys were my tribe!
Then it was Monday morning. Elder took us to the airport, and soon I was in Miami, sniffing back tears and shivering my way through customs lines for over an hour. Back to a cold, white world. The end.
Disclaimer: I'm feeling a little negative this evening and plus I can't write about Ganthier very well. It was my home and all the things that you would think are interesting are just normal to me. So ya if you want to know what Ganthier is like, just go! Put your name in for the O, or maybe CSI could place you there! :) And keep praying for the church there. Seems like it keeps getting worse. Elder seemed discouraged at retreat, and I could get discouraged about how things are at the O right now too. 14 - 15 year old boys and girls together in one O is a little unsettling, and I pity those girls trying to keep respect with teenagers who don't speak the same language or have the same customs as they grew up with. Anyhow... nuf said. Goodnight!