Wednesday, January 30, 2008


These photos are from my first trip to Haiti, which was in May 2006. I wasn't digital at the time, so the quality is not great and my haircut is pretty atrocious, but if you look beyond those factors, they're pretty cool pix.

On that first trip, I was visiting the orphanage to see if I liked it enough to want to return for a 5 month internship. I went with a team of 17 people, some of whom were adopting from New Life Link, and others who were also visiting HFC. I was confident about playing with toddlers, but nervous about connecting with the older children. To my surprise, I ended up bonding with them very deeply because of my ability to speak French. I remember chatting with Merline Jean on my first day and one of the ladies on my team asking me how long I had spoken Creole. Creole? I don't speak a word of Creole, in fact, before getting on the airplane to come here, I had probably spent a total of 20 minutes thinking about Haiti.

So much for not thinking about Haiti very often. By the time my stay had ended, I was crazy about the HFC kids, and I honestly felt like I had found a country and a people with whom I would love working. I thought about Haiti frequently all summer until my next trip back in August, when I finalized details for my internship. And of course, once I moved into the orphanage in January of 2007, it was all over. Haiti is permanently imprinted on my mind and I don't think anything short of a lobotomy will get it out.

The funny thing about that trip in May 2006 was that I left thinking that there were only a few "big" kids and the rest were this adorable little things. I clearly remember Evens, Dorval, and Vandomme as being the only big kids so I was shocked when I returned 8 months later and found that actually, 10 of the kids were taller than me, and another 10 were the same height. What happened? For a while, I thought it my just my skewed first impressions, but looking back at photos from my trip, all I can say is that those kids hit a growth spurt. Somehow, between May of 2006 and January of 2007, they grew up fast!

Me with Dorval and Evens (Ephesien in the background)

Me and Vandomme (Bernadin in the background)

Drisk, Mikenlove and Fabiola. Mikenlove looks about the same, but Drisk has gotten taller and filled out some, and Fabiola looks like a woman now instead of a teenager.

Dorval, Bernadin, Evens, and Jefthe braid my short hair.
Look at Jefthe! Isn't he tiny?

At the beach, Carmelle, Guerdine, Fabiola PC, Dorval, and Nadia. They've all grown, but especially Guerdine and Carmelle.

Mikerlange, also a lot more filled out and taller now.

Natacha and Childa with Josh (Bernadin in the background). I believe Childa is almost as tall as Josh now.

Look at that little kid on the far left. Do you know who that minature person is? It's Emmanuel! Man, did he grow a lot in those 8 months!

This might be the best one because you can compare their heights to me, since I haven't grown at all ;). In the back, Argusto, Jacques, and Mathurin are all shorter than me - not so anymore, Jacques is the same height, but Argusto and Mathurin are several inches taller. And look at Alex on my right! He's itty bitty and now, he's as tall as I am!
Why do kids have to grow? I tell them every time I leave that they are not allowed to grow anymore, and they just keep on doing it. But I really would like to know who was throwing the fertilizer in their porridge between May and January.

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