Tuesday, March 11, 2008

School days

Last Monday, I spent the day around the orphanage while the kids were in school. For some of them, the day starts at 7am; for others, it starts at 8am. So at 6:40am, some of them are already downstairs eating breakfast and the rest come down around 7:15. I generally head down at 7:30 and force myself to eat at least half a plate of spaghetti and dried herring. I have to walk around the table and kiss each girl present before I start eating, and many of them come to my room at 8am to get a "Have a good day and work hard at school" kiss before they go to class.

During the junior high and high school recess at 10am, I go downstairs to greet the boys, to chat with the girls, and sometimes to buy a piwili mango (mango lollipop) from Lamarre's wife who runs a little candy stand in our courtyard on school days. There is always a bunch of boys playing soccer in the courtyard under the blazing sun, so I usually sit and watch them until recess ends at 10:30.
Soccer with a tennis ball The boys always go back up to class dripping with sweat after 3o minutes of intense play.

Emmanuel was refusing to let me take his photo, as usual.

After recess, Christine, Kendall, BethAnn and I played with the toddlers who are too young to go to school. I'm not sure why Souille was not in school last Monday - maybe he had been sick or maybe he was misbehaving. He was thrilled to have friends to hang out with him but he was disappointed that we did not let him out of his crib. Gotta stick with the rules, buddy.


Afterley really enjoyed the bubbles that we had brought with us and gave us a bunch of her beautiful and rare smiles.
When I arrived at HFC in December, Afterly would have nothing to do with me, but after a few days, she spontaneously decided that I was a nice person and she let me hold her. This trip was the same. Upon my arrival, she let me kiss her and talk to her, but she would not let me pick her up. So when I saw how much she was enjoying our bubbles on Monday morning, I thought the time might be right, and I untied her crib. I held out my arms and she came straight to me.
Apparently, Afterley's favorite place for a nap is in someone's arms. Within 5 minutes of me picking her up, she was asleep, but clinging to me so that I couldn't put her down. We sat together for about an hour until the school kids started coming upstairs and she woke up.
When the NLL toddlers come upstairs, they immediately get out of their cute blue uniforms so that they don't stain them. There is a huge barrel of clean play clothes and they all, even the little ones, dig through it to find clothes to wear for the rest of the day. The nannies, the bigger NLL girls and some of the HFC girls help the youngest ones get dressed. On Monday, the laundry ladies had not brought the clean clothes down from the roof yet, so Julie subsituted with a dress made from a sheet while she awaited the clean clothes.
Ghislaine getting dressed.

Milouse showing off her school shoes.

Martine with one of the babies.
Jessica and her little friends, Edeline and Milouse, rough-housing on the stairs.
Later that afternoon, I went with Bryn to the seminary to meet with Evens, our oldest HFC kid. Evens lives with one of the nannies and goes to school at Maranatha, the school on the seminary property. He's quite a character! I showed up and he immediately said, "Hey! How are you, my homey?"
Back at the orphanage, the oldest boys came over for English class and instead, we gave them supplies to further decorate the prayer journals that my friends and I had prepared for them. Some of them (Daniel, Mathurin, and Jacques for example) are extremely artistic and made some very cool looking journals. Many of them just covered theirs with anything soccer related that they could find.

In the evening, I led devotions with the girls. We sang "This is the day" in Creole, French and English, as well as my favorite French hymn, "Compte les bienfaits" ("Count the blessings"). We discussed Numbers 12 and how to pray for people that hurt us instead of reacting in kind. I love doing devotions with the girls. There are always a few who are goofing around or not paying attention, but most of them listen seriously and participate enthusiastically. And how they sing! I think I get a taste of what the music in heaven is going to be like every time I sing with them.

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