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  • Quiara

Hey Mrs. Pen-penchinee!

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

... And so begins my latest adventure as a school marm. Three little Haitian boys and one white one that can't say my name, and two shy little Haitian girls that won't really talk to me yet a lot much less try to say my "hard" name. I'm teaching for three families, all a type of Mennonite, and all in the process of adopting Haitian children. You have to have a strong commitment for that over here. It takes "at least three to five years," but the ones I've seen have taken longer than that. These families just commit to living down here until they can take their kids home. The family in charge of the school has lived in Haiti ten years and I'm not sure about the other one. The new family spent a year at an orphanage and now they decided to adopt a girl from there so they're here to stay.

Blue Ridge is a mission organization that drills and repairs wells and I'm not sure what all else. They also have a literature program... I'm not sure if printing or just distributing. One family is the pastor of their church, two work for Blue Ridge. They have two single men there two, and it seems like there's usually close to ten Haitian workers there for lunch on a given day. My mom in law works there cleaning houses. It's a huge compound with three houses, a main kitchen area, office and school, huugge shop, and several guest houses. (Student: Mrs. Pinchina, who does your work at your house? Me: I do it in the evenings. Student: You should get a helper lady right away. You really need a helper lady!)

It's located in the zone Santo, close to Kwa De Bouke where Zèzè works. It takes thirty minutes to get there but we probably average 20 mph or under. Right now Zèzè is going with me in the mornings but I'm supposed to become independent soon because he finishes work by two usually so it doesn't make sense for him to have to come all the way back to get me. So yours truly is learning to drive. That is what has truly made me fight Haiti these last two weeks. I just feel so helpless out there trying to drive in a city with no lanes as such, or stoplights or even 4 way stops... Maybe a few police directing traffic if you're lucky. And driving is something so habitual. There's so many things like that sometimes I just want even one thing to be the same as USA. The other night our power was off and I was trying to light the stove burner with a tiny match and the boxes are really flimsy and this one had gotten soggy too. I broke a bunch and took it to Zèzè and he struck it really hard backwards in a weird way and of course it lit. Then he said, "Maybe you're just not used to matches." And I really wanted to bang my head against a wall but I didn't cuz the walls are made from block. You say it's a little thing but...

Back to my teaching... I spent $0 on classroom decor but I have all the abeka teaching charts, and my string lights (I still leave the lights off in the morning before school starts for my quiet time lol. But I don't bring coffee. Yet. And these students don't like having the overhead lights off... Even for story hour. Weird huh.) They have a nice laser printer so I made name tags with woodland animals and a camp scene for job chart with animals drawn on rocks and tents made from twigs and colored paper. I'm totally happy with how it turned out. Kickball, wiffleball, and capture the flag with these boys is IN-tense. That's the only time they act like Haitians. When I listen to my husband play basketball with his friends it always sounds like they're mad, but they just yell alot. Same with these boys. They wear blue and gray uniforms, and one day there was a vehicle with really loud music outside at recess and they playing tag and all the sudden they pulled out the Haitian dance moves. All the while making faces and truly they just looked like little blue monkeys. I just watched and laughed. We have Haitian food at the main house every day and there is some of it they don't even like. I have never seen a Haitian kid eat so little rice... Kinda funny. I also probably know Kreyòl better than all of them. Little boys are fun too I'm finding out. They have lots of stories, and they laugh at their own stories till they snort and can't get their breath. They find pictures in their books and laugh at them and want to discuss them, and they have sloppy handwriting and wonder when it's gonna be lunchtime and if we'll have time for recess at the end of the day. They know a lot of songs that are new to me from VBS with motions that they sing with great gusto... The two 11 year olds included. Again I just truly want to stand, watch, and laugh.

The girls are in kindergarten and first grade. The first grader is homeschooled most of the time since she just came to live with her new family. The kindergartener comes three days a week. I know already that I will love Tuesdays and Fridays lol. Not because I don't love her. She's really sweet, but just because it's so hard to keep her busy and quiet when I'm teaching three other grades too. You can pray for me with this job that I'll know where to set my standards. I just believe that I should leave school at school and get there early in the morning, which is super hard for me, and leave on time. And then just come home and be a wife. I have my housework on a schedule so that part will probably be OK tho I'm not super inspired to come home and mop floors lol. I'm also trying to meal plan for the week too and buy bigger amounts of groceries more like in the states. I really want a microwave lol... Poor Zèzè gets home and needs food and I try to have stuff in the fridge for him but Friday he spent an hour and a half heating up some meatballs and bean sauce and cooking rice. So hopefully we'll get a balance figured out.

It's been sobering to see pictures of all the destruction in my home town. My folks didn't get water in the house, but dad finally got to the office yesterday afternoon and found one tree down plus the neighbors tree on the roof. Water isn't the greatest for computer systems. So don't know yet how much damage or when they'll be able to start work again. Right now everyone is just doing CDR. Everyone is in the same boat tho,and Lousiana has gotten thru this before. But I sure don't think anyone will say 2020 was their favorite year... Except for me. Because the year you get married is always a good year, right?

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