Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dec. 24th - Christmas Eve celebrations

After soccer practice, Bryn took bead kits and twine into the girls' room. Each girl got to choose a bead set and make a Christmas bracelet. They absolutely love that sort of thing and they all sat around in their living room, listening to Christmas music on the radio and making bracelets.

Mikerlange (the mouth technique works so well!)


Jeanine (where did that Shaw's hat come from?)

In the afternoon, we took all the boys and some of the girls up to the seminary to play basketball and just to be outdoors. The Bergeron family, who is adopting Alex, John and Renick, were down for a Christmas visit, so the kids enjoyed spending time with them and their 4 sons. Kathy Bergeron was especially popular with the kids because she had a big box of Twizzlers to share.

Later that evening, Bryn took the rest of the beads and a big bag of festive bells to the boys' house. You might think that being boys, they would not be interested in making necklaces or bracelets, but actually, they love it just as much as the girls.

I know for sure he took more than his share of bells to make this ornament.


TiJude, making a bracelet for me

Stev and the new style

As the bracelet-making wound down, I joined the boys on their roof to watch the celebration in the street. As soon as EDH (the national electric company) decided to grace our neighborhood with power, the music started blaring from the restaurant behind the orphanage and people began to gather in the square directly in front of the orphanage. They milled about, buying pate and cremas (traditional Haitian beverage similar to a pina colada), singing, dancing, and setting off little firecrackers. Haitians still live by some French cultural tendancies, especially the desire to dress nicely on any special occasion. Boys who I normally see in the street wearing tattered t-shirts and chopped off khakis were strutting around in button-down shirts and blue jeans, probably the only nice outfit they own, but proud nevertheless. Some of our boys were visibly itching to be part of the crowd while others were perfectly happy to just watch.

Duck and Jefthe pointed out to me a man who is famous in the Fort Mercredi area for eating huge quantities of food. They once watched him eat 40 Haitian rolls, 3 cokes, and 2 waters, and then get up and run around without looking ill. I told them about hot dog eating competitions and pie eating competitions in the States, and they told me about bobbing for apples when they were younger. Apparently, Dorval is the uncontested apple-bobbing champion. The boys also shared an exciting story from last Christmas. They had been allowed to buy the mini firecrackers that everyone in the street buys and they gathered them all up on their roof. Then, they lined up behind the wall facing the street and each boy lit a firecracker. On the count of three, they jumped up and threw the sparklers into the middle of the crowd in the street. The revelers in the street, of course, responded in kind, but the boys are adament that they won the battle of the firecrackers. (I am told that these are not firecrackers like I am used to, which are strong enough to injure someone if they blow up beside you. According to the kids and to what I saw in the street, they are much less potent, so it is doubtful that our boys actually hurt anyone. Startled, yes, but hurt, probably not.) I wondered out loud if that was perhaps the reason why this year, the boys are not allowed to buy firecrackers. They agreed with me, but still said it was worth it to see the crowd jumping around like crazy.

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