Lamarre picked me up at the airport and drove me straight to the orphanage, only making one stop to fill the propane tank! Of course, when we got there at 9am, the kids were all in school - exams have been bumped back a week because of school being cancelled last week, so this week is a regular week of class. Since there was no one around to hug, I went upstairs to get settled into my room. (Note: this is a sign of how routine my visits are becoming. There was a time when I would have barged into classrooms because I couldn't wait to say hi. We're showing improvement.) Unfortunately, when I got upstairs, I discovered that all the doors to my room and kitchen were locked and that the key had wandered off with Se Pradel who is on her weekly vacation day. So much for settling in. My lonely suitcases sat outside my door and I went in search of little NLL kids to hug.I found TiRonald pretty quickly. He was thrilled to see me and clung to my neck. I had to pry him off when other kids starting coming up for hugs.
Arriving while the kids were in school worked out really nicely for me. It meant that I got to greet them progressively over the course of the day without having one mad rush of hello hugs and kisses. I also got to avoid being knocked over by Stephanie Jeannis. This time she expressed how happy she was to see me by coming up behind me and biting my shoulder. I really don't get that girl.
Some of the kids were ecstatic to see me again...
...others were a little less than ecstatic.
I saw most of the younger HFC kids during their recess at 9:30. When I came downstairs, the boys were playing a rough and rowdy game of soccer with a plastic bottle, so I didn't get to actually hug many of them until later. Sure, Kez, we like you a lot, but you're not quite special enough to merit interupting the game.
During second recess at 10am, I hunted around the school and found most of the older kids. Bernadin ran right past me before he realized that it was me and came back for a big hug. Martine saw me, turned around and headed back to her classroom. When I threatened her with a beating, she starting laughing and came back to me for a long hug. I hugged Jefthe and then hit him when I suddenly noticed that he is significantly taller than me now. Mathurin and Jeanine got up from the homework that they were diligently completing (during recess!) to say hello and Emmanuel graced me with a big hug. Jacques refused to say hi to me in the classroom (why?) and made me come into the hallway to give him a hug. Duckhein ran away.
The kids usually get a pack of Rika cookies for snack at recess. I guess Wilson didn't get his.
In the early afternoon, I helped feed the NLL infants and get them all dressed up for their monthly photos. They are too cute!
But some of them need to find a bigger pair of pants!
Over at the boys' house in the mid-afternoon, about half the boys had gone to soccer, leaving the rest at the house sleeping or studying. Renick, Acheley and Dorval were hard at work solving math problems on the board in preparation for next weeks exams.
Emmanuel was on the stairs to the roof studying French and listening to music. I'm not sure why he wanted a towel on his head.
I found Duck in his bedroom and after scolding him for running away we camped out on one of the bunks and had a long talk about nothing important: soccer, school, soccer, growing tall, soccer, sponsors, soccer... You get the picture. I just love hanging out with him and hearing him giggle. I know most boys do not giggle, but Duck does!
I played soccer in the courtyard with the little boys (TiJude, Ernso, Monsanto, Adler, and James). They are such sweethearts! Greeting Ernso was definitely the best moment of my day. I was walking down the stairs when his recess started. I reached the bottom of the stairs just as he was walking out of his classroom. He saw me, got this huge grin on his face, spread his arms out and came racing to me. He literally jumped into my arms and we spun around. Later, I was looking for Monsanto and Ernso saw him. He left my side, ran to Monsanto, whispered something in his ear, then grabbed his hand and the two of them ran together, holding hands, over to where I was sitting. Just too cute!
I spent the entire evening in Bryn's room with the girls. Stephanie, Argentine and Kattia had to do research on hurricanes, wind, and tornadoes, so they got onto Wikipedia and copied down information for FOUR hours! And they will have to rewrite it all into their own words by Friday. I couldn't persuade them to take notes instead of writing it all word for word, so it took a long time. I finally had to kick them out at 10pm because I was pretty tired from my short night on the floor of the Miami airport.
A bunch of the girls hung around while they worked. They told me all about what had been happening at the pension since I was last there, especially about the birthday party that they threw for Claudette last week. Apparently, Michaelle enlisted boys and girls to do dances and songs. They also got to eat mangos, melons, cake, corn on the cob, and soda. I am told that Dr. Bernard ate 10 mangos! (They must have been the minis because I adore mangos, but I could never eat 10 of the big ones.)
It is good to be home!