Later in the morning, Nikki and I went to the seminary to meet with our neighborhood boys, TiKen, TiJude and TiBlan. I met their mothers, who expressed their gratitude for our willingness to be friends with the boys and also to help support them through school. Thanks to the generosity of my family friend, Suhail, I was able to pay for the entire school year for Jude, TiKen, and Blan (Maxim); I was also able to give Enoch the money he needed for his books, and Tchaly the money he needed to move to the country to live with his uncle since his grandmother no longer has enough money to support him and his 4 sisters. Not only that, I have enough money left to cover 3 more years of school for the 3 Ti's. Their schools were closed for the holidays, but I plan to meet with their school principals when I go back this spring to set up an account for them and to assure that they don't get kicked out of school for financial reasons again.
TiJude and his motherWhile we were up at the seminary meeting with the Ti's, Bernadin, Drisk and Peterson were playing in the woods around the buildings. When it came time to go, we yelled for the boys, and Peterson and Bernadin appeared almost immediately, but Drisk was nowhere to be found. The boys said they hadn't seen him, and Nikki and I couldn't find him in any of the usual hang out spots. We shouted for him and we sent the boys searching through the whole wooded area. Nothing. Just as we were getting to that really nervous stage, I turned around and what did I see? There was Drisk, that little jokester, lounging comfortably on the stairs that lead up to the main seminary entrance, half hidden by the palm trees, laughing his butt off at our frantic efforts. Oh, were we mad at him! We chased him around, threw things at him, yelled abuse at him, and never actually caught him. That little twerp!
Also while we were at the seminary, my bodyguard, Bernadin, failed me for the first time. Nikki and I got approached by two men who wanted "advice" about their careers. My general philosophy about men in Haiti is to stay as far away from them as possible. Every now and then, I meet a nice man who is not interested in marrying me or getting money from me, but most of the time, they are after that which I do not want to give them, so I keep away. And Bernadin has helped immensely with that, but this time, he was hunting for salamanders or something, and Nikki and I were alone. Nikki is a softy, so I was the one who told them flat out, "We are stupid Americans, we don't know anything about Haiti or careers in Haiti so we can't help you. Try hard and I'm sure you'll do fine. Good-bye." Unfortunately, they were not deterred, and in the following week, they waited for us in the seminary, and they even came to the orphanage asking for us 3 different times. When we gathered the boys to go back to the orphanage, both Nikki and I fired Bernadin. He looked rather glum, so we hired him again later that day.
In the afternoon, we took the boys up to the seminary to play soccer. As they were playing, they told me about a game they played a few months before I started my internship in January 2007. It was a Saturday afternoon and the boys were playing soccer when a group of men from behind the wall came over and started interupting the game. "You bunch of stupid little kids," they yelled. "Give us the field." Manno, the boys' coach, said, "Fine. You can have the field, if you can win it from them, since they're just a bunch of stupid little kids." So we pitted our best against these full grown men and 45 minutes later, we beat them, 3-1. Dorval, Mathurin, and Jacques scored for our team, and the boys won the field and some respect.While most of our boys were playing soccer, Argusto and Emmanuel participated in basketball practice with the Maranatha school team that is also coached by Manno. I have never seen either of them work so hard, although I did catch them skimping on their pushups.
We watched the movie Cool Runnings and the kids adored it. They laughed their royal Rastafarian nay-nays off. All the older girls had gone to Thomasin to spend the week with Dr Bernard and Claudette, so Nikki, Bryn and I took the younger girls up to the roof for the night. I told them the story of my year as an exchange student in France when I was 16. They were especially interested in my French crush, Thomas, and the fact that although all our mutual friends thought it would be a great idea for us to date, we did not, simply because I knew that we were young, he was just becoming a Christian through getting to know me, and the timing was just not right. The girls hear a lot about not dating and it frustrates them to see their classmates from the neighborhood having boyfriends and in some cases, living promiscuously, so I think they appreciated hearing a story of someone else who enforced those restrictions on herself and had it turn out for the best.
I was exhausted from not sleeping much on the boys' roof, so I bribed the girls to be quiet after I ended the story. "I'll give you all peanut butter if you get in bed and stay in bed without talking from now until 7o'clock tomorrow morning!" They did it so I went out and bought them 2 big jars of PB the day before I left.