Let's start with last night - I received a text message from the girls at 10:15pm asking me to call them. I wouldn't normally call that late because I had clinical the next morning, but you never know if it's something urgent or just the "we want to know how you're doing" call, so I called them back.
I chatted with Edline who teased me about being cold here in Boston. She said that is was still very hot in Haiti, so I suggested switching places and she almost yelled, "Yes!" Next was Lovely who told me that she had fully recovered from the fever she'd had last time I called, and that she does not like their new school uniforms. She also told me that my little Fedlens has officially left the orphanage. His mom came to pick him up last week; I had asked her to give all the girls hugs and kisses for me, but Lovely said that she at least did not meet the lady. Lovely also told me that the little boys who were on quaratine for mumps are all better now and that no new cases have arose. Merline, my "Haitian Maman", claimed me next, only to tell me that last time, when I thought what I was hearing was her distorted voice, it was actually Childa, passing on messages for Merline! She said she had a little bout of shyness, silly girl! I grabbed Stephanie next to tell her about the internet decision, which she greeted very calmly (I would have been flipping out about the limited time, but not that amazing gal). She talked about school, about her accounting class where the professor lectures strangely and Steph doesn't do well because she doesn't understand the terminology. Finally, Martine took the phone to tell me the reason they had texted me: would I please call the boys tomorrow? No, the boys hadn't asked, Martine just thought they would be happy to talk to me. How darling, and hence part 2 of this post.
I called the boys after clinical this afternoon and Emmanuel answered. He gets really giggly and says my name at least twice in every single sentence when we talk on the phone. It's really adorable and it makes me giggle too. He didn't want to talk on the phone today though - too many people around - so he passed it off very quickly to Duck, meanwhile Drisk can be heard yelling in the background, "Keziah! How are you? Keziah!" All these boys have such distinctive voices! I just hear them and get these big grins at how familiar they sound. Duck gave me the update on his arm, which is out of its cast, looking very skinny, but not causing him any trouble. He also conveyed the tragic news that the soccer field still has piles of dirt on it, so they are not playing soccer yet. Imagine having your cast off after 3 months and still not being able to play! Next, the phone passed to Bernado, who didn't talk much. He basically just answered my questions about school, Job, and his Haitian mom with one word responses. He made up for his silence by hanging around while the other boys talked and pestering them.
Drisk took the phone next. His news: the FIFA video that had been lost is now found, the boys have been playing playstation on the weekend only, 9th grade is fine, they have finished reading Psalm 119 in devotions and are now started on Jeremiah, and Manno the coach has not been coming to get them so they have not played basketball since I left. How bored they must be!! And of course, they haven't slept on the roof, "Not because we're scared, but because there is no one to do it with." Then he asked me to send him some apples - you see, every time I took Drisk to the market with me, I would let him buy himself a treat and he always chose apples. I'm not sure how I'm going to find a way to get apples to Haiti, but I promised I'd try.
Jacques told me that 10th grade was fine, although some of his courses were tough, but now they were getting easier. He said that he does have a lot of work to do, but that his teachers are all nice. He is taking chemistry, so he told me about an experiment they did to demonstrate that matter can change form: they burned a piece of paper right in the classroom on the second floor and then discussed how it had become ash but that ash cannot become paper. And yes, there was lots of smoke in the classroom. I talked briefly with Jefthe, and I asked for Alex, but he was sleeping.
I sent Jacques to get Emmanuel for me again. I had a hunch that he was doing the same thing he did when I came back in August: letting the other kids have all my attention and pretending like he didn't have anything to say, when actually he's bursting with it. Sure enough, he came up and talked for a good 15 minutes. We talked about school; he is struggling with trigonometry, so we talked about ways to get help. He has got to work hard and pass in school otherwise, he may not be around next time I go to Haiti. And he knows it, and he knows how much time and effort I put into his schooling last year, so he takes my advice and my warnings seriously. It still scares me to death though, because Emmanuel needs motivation to work, and I don't think he's got a lot right about now. He told me that he has started doing calligraphy, instead of his usual comic strip characters. And he said that ever since I came to devotions reguarly during my August stay, Soeur Pradel has taken to singing loudly, like I do. Apparently she said that if Keziah could sing loudly and in a girly voice without being teased, then so could she. Emmanuel recounts this in between bursts of laughter. "What's so funny about it?" "She ... hahahah ... can't .... hahaha .... sing! She sounds .... hahahah ... awful!" Finally, as I was trying to end the conversation since my phone card was running low, he said, "Can I tell you a secret? Mwen grangou." This was his new thing before I left, taking advantage of me being his unofficial mom and constantly asking me for food. I told him that I would send him a jar of peanut butter via the phone, which sent him into another bout of hysterical laughter. I always end my phone convos with him by saying, "Mwen renmen ou anpil, Emmanuel," and I can tell how he's feeling by how he responds. Today was a good day - I got "Mwen menm tou, mwen renmen ou anpil," back.
The last person I talked to was Jefthe. He gave me a message for his mom, and then said, rather officially, "All of us that are here on the roof - Jacques, Emmanuel, Bernadin, Drisk, and Duckhein - we say good-bye. We love you and we are praying for you. Bye."