On Wednesday afternoon, Christine and I gathered many of the girls in the library for sewing class. I don't know anything about sewing, but Christine does. She had brought a suitcase full of fabric and sewing supplies for the girls. She helped them cut simple patterns and then hand sew clothes for themselves and for the NLL babies.
After sewing class, we did more journals with more of the girls. I outlawed the throwing of glitter in anyone's hair, but it didn't make a difference. Even without the intentional sprinkling of glitter on human bodies, we all looked like we had just taken a bath in a pool of glitter.
Every day, the girls and the nannies laid out meals for me. The children always eat labouille (porridge) for dinner. It can be made with corn, oats, or wheat flour. My favorite kind is the oat kind, but we were eating the wheat flour kind during this entire trip. You do sort of get tired of eating labouille every night when you've been living there for 5 months. But on a short trip and being as hungry as I usually am when I'm in Haiti, I ate my labouille with gusto.
In the late evening, I went into the girls' room to tell them a story. I told a very adjusted version of the book Chocolate Fever and they loved it. After the story, I settled onto Stephanie's bunk for girl talk. One of the things that the girls told me that night was that when they were little, they called any Americans who came to the orphanage "Mami or Papi". So if I had come 7 years ago, they would have called me "Mami Keziah." Makes me feel like a grandmother! The girls also said that their favorite part of having Americans visit when they were little was being carried around. Kattia recounted between chortles of laughter that she used to walk up to an American, hold her arms up and say, "Pote m" (carry me) even though she could walk perfectly. She just knew that they would do it and she loved having someone else carry her around all day. They joked about how they never wanted to eat enough when they were little and the nannies would have to force them. And we all laughed about how Nehemie used to fall asleep with her head in her soup.
Kattie told me a horrible story from when she had only recently arrived at the pension. Her biological mother was still alive, but was too poor to care for Kattia so she brought her daughter to the pension that she could have a better and safer life. Shortly after she left Kattia, someone came to her and said that the pension had been burned down and all the children kidnapped. Kattia's mom rushed to Bolosse in a panic, only to find the orphanage in perfect condition and all the children safe. I started to cry while Kattia was telling me the story, just imagining how terrified and guilty Kattia's mom must have felt and how grateful that nothing had actually happened.
Throughout our talk, as serious topics such as Kattia's story arose, the girls amazed me once again with their faith. "God is what we have. We count on Him. He's the one that has been there for us every day of our lives, protecting us, taking care of us."