I know some of you are waiting to hear about my phone call with the boys from Tuesday. I kept it brief because it is so darn expensive, but here's how it went:
Emmanuel answered with the usual background of Drisk screaming "Hello!" at me. We tried to talk, but the other boys had decided to copy Drisk and were also yelling and making tons of noise in the background. They all wanted to talk and at one point, Emmanuel said he was going to walk away from them so we could talk, but the noise stayed just as loud and Emmanuel yelled, "Kez, they're running after me!" Reginald had some message for me about something that he and I had talked about in August - I totally don't remember, but these kids have incredible memories and he probably could cite word for word our August conversation. Again, the noise was too much and he gave up with the "I'll tell you another time." I get that a lot from Emmanuel too. Peterson grabbed the phone and bellowed in English, "I love you!!!" and then proceeded to ask me in his very enthusiastic and Peterson way to please bring Spiderman 3 next time I come to Haiti. I promised I would. I can just imagine him getting off the phone and doing a Spiderman imitation all over the roof. I can imagine this because he and I have done it together quite a few times.
I got to talk to Duck and Jefthe very quickly, and then I got Bernadin. It was his birthday, so he got birthday wishes and kisses via the phone. He told me the best news I've heard from the orphanage in a month: THEY ARE PLAYING SOCCER AGAIN! The piles of rock and dirt have been removed and they can play every afternoon like they used to. Bernadin said that it still wasn't very good playing because there are so many rocks, but that he wears cleats so he is OK. Of course he would tell me that because we have a foot-thing going on: I have pulled more thorns out of his foot than any other child in my whole lifetime. And he has scolded me more often for cutting my feet than even my mother. I love him! And I told him so and learned a new bit of Creole: I always thought you had to answer "Mwen renmen ou anpil" with "Mwen renmen ou tou" because you can't put the "anpil" and the "tou" together. Well, Bernadin apparently thinks you can because he answered me very slowly and deliberately, like a grown-up talking to a little kid (which is sometimes the impression I get of how Bernadin thinks of me), with "Mwen renmen ou anpil tou." The girls on my December team are nervous about being harrassed by men in the neighborhood, but I just tell them about my bodyguard, Bernadin, who will keep them safe and sound. They laugh and say "That's cute," and then they look at me and realize how serious I am. Bernadin saved my skin in many situations and I know that he will do it again. Bonne fete, mon gardien de corps.