day 4: rest.


I am getting better at this waking up thing.

This morning, I am the second to the last person to wake. And I get up and dress in the bathroom, putting on my black vintage bowtie and straightening it in the dirty mirror.

Breakfast is hamburger buns with Ramen noodles, peanut butter and the ketchup and mayonnaise.

After we eat, we all walk down the stairs and get ready for church. The women who work for the home have set the gathering room up with chairs for all of the girls looking toward another row of chairs for us. Reuben motions toward the chairs in the front of the room and it is apparent that we are to sit there.

When all of the girls are finished with their breakfast, they file in noisily, give us our morning kisses on the cheek and sit in their chairs.

Joe’s church has donated New Testaments to all of the girls, and so he, Reuben, P. Peter, and I pass them out to all of them.

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This girl was so happy that she burst out laughing …
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… And kissed the Bible

Jane leads the singing in Creole, and because we don’t know the songs, we just listen. And then all of them stand up and start marching around the room singing really fast, waving their arms. This makes me uncomfortable–we aren’t Pentecostal. But, since we do not want to be rude, we stand, lift our arms slightly, and do a little walking thing, all the while looking at each other with embarrassed faces.

We sing for at least an hour.

Dad, Ted, Joe, P. Paul, and I all give a little word to the girls, but a few minutes before I am supposed to say something, I decide that what I’d originally planned wasn’t right for this particular moment, so I change my talk, and when it is my turn, my words stumble out in a jumble, and I hope that they make at least some sense to the girls.

After we sing for another good half-an-hour, we go outside and take photos of all of the girls, the workers, Reuben and Jane, and the members of our group.

Afterwards, Juliet helps Jane and the other workers with lunch.

The resulting meal is as good as every other one that we’ve had since we arrived.

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We finish the meal and Christopher arrives, waiting for us. We will be going to his English school. I’m a little nervous–I’ve only been out in Port-au-Prince a few times, and Christopher rented a very tiny truck.

Juliet, Jane, Ellen and Gatzi (Jane and Reuben’s 3-year old) ride in the cab, but the rest of us have to ride in the back.

The ride to the school is as hectic as the last ride that we’d had, with the driver weaving in and out of the traffic and speeding up to as much as a hundred miles-per-hour.

But we arrive in one piece (if not a little shaken). At least we’re able to stand and walk.

Christopher’s school is on the side of the road. There is a sign advertising it, and behind it, down the back of some houses is a gated area with well-built buildings, acting as school rooms.

We file in one of the rooms, and we sit in the tiny school desks that Christopher has set out for us, facing the desks of his students.

The room is very cramped, and it is hard to breathe–there are so many people cramped into such a little room.

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The students have written papers — letters — and they want to read them to us. All of them say one thing in common:

We want to speak English just like you.

After the papers have been read, We each stand up and say something to the students.

My “speech” is very short and choppy–I’m beginning to realize that I’m never going to be able to be a public speaker; no presidency for me–but I get everything that I have to say out, and thank them for their kind words.

After we’ve all said something, we go out into the yard, and take pictures.

A friend of Peter and Ellen, Isabella, and her niece (daughter?) and daughter (I think) join us and we get in the taptap and take another ride, this time to Jane’s mother and Aunt’s house.

Jane and Reuben’s third son, Obed is visiting his grandmother for a little while, and so we get to meet him.

Reuben offers us soda, and he gives me a “Fruit Champagne.” It tastes very different than the soda in America, but it is not bad. Ellen has a banana soda. I’m sure that it tastes weird.

We all get back into the taptap and go to Christopher’s house, deeper into Port-au-Prince than we’ve been yet.

Christopher lives on the side of a hill, and for a minute, I don’t think that we’re going to make it all the way up. We do, however, and we all get out and venture down into a very narrow alley between houses to his house.

Christopher made his house with his very hands, and I am in awe of how beautiful it looks.

We meet Christopher’s wife, Aermat (I think that’s how it’s spelled), and sing a few songs with them at his house.

Then, we go back to the Home.

As we are going back, I stand in the back of the taptap while it is going at least a hundred miles per hour and I think that I’m sad, just a little.

I can feel that our time here is coming to a close.

But I can also feel the tug that Haiti now has on my heart.

I don’t want it to be over so soon.

I miss my siblings and mother, and I know that I want to be back home. But I will miss this place so very much when I’m gone.

***

I feel as if I have to explain the dancing/yelling thing at the service, now. They were doing a re-enactment of the wall around Jericho falling down. 🙂

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