In the morning, I watched the kids line up for school from the roof. They raised the flag while singing the national anthem and then filed in. 2 children did not march in with their classes though. Merline Jean and Emmanuel stayed behind. I could hear enough from the roof to understand that they had not been singing the national anthem and therefore they were punished by being the last to walk into the building. Emmanuel explained later that he couldn't sing because he was watching the flag. I know males have a hard time doing two things at once, but honestly!I was coming down from my devotions on the roof when the younger grades got out for recess. I was mobbed on the stairs and my little illustrated Bible got snatched. "What are they doing in this picture?" Wislandy asked. So we all sat on the stairs and explained Bible stories until the bell rang.
After school and a whole bunch of emails from the girls to Tati Guirlaine, I headed to the boys' house. Fabiola was hard at work making boulettes from canned meat, spices, bread, and milk. Yum!
Over at the boys' house, everyone watched the Barcelona-Manchester United game. It was a disappointing match that ended 0-0. Cristiano Ronaldo missed 2 penalties and Messi just could not score without his long term teammate Ronaldinho in the game. Ronaldinho is now playing for Milan AC which makes for a lot of upset HFC boys.
Emmanuel was the only one not watching the game. He was at the blackboard working on math problems for next week's exams. I am always happy to see him studying on his own. There was a time when he would not study unless forced to but he is much more diligent now. He was doing sine and cosine - it's been 5 years since I last used those fiendish operations and I could not help him. I am incapable of doing 10th grade math. Help!
Most of the boys went off to the soccer field with Coach Manno, but I stayed behind. Duck and I played our own game of soccer, one on one, in the courtyard. I am significantly better at soccer than Duck...that is, if I pick him up and dump him under the stairs so he can't kick the ball. After being soundly trounced, I relinquished my spot to Mikenlove and became the referee.
I learned a new Creole word during my referee duties: kokin. According to Duck, I was an arbit kokin which means crooked ref. He would yell "Fowl!" every time he got bumped or pushed or knocked down and I would ignore it every time. He went back and forth between laughing uncontrollably and yelling in mock anger that I was making calls in Mikenlove's favor. DUH! Mikenlove came into the game as my substitute. Of course I'm going to call things in his favor.
So I got replaced by TiJude who was doing well for about 30 seconds until Mikenlove kicked a line drive at the goal. "Boulette, boulette!" Duck shouted. In the courtyard rules, you are not allowed to kick the ball really hard because of the size of the space and the risk of busting the ball.
TiJude shook his head. "That was a legal kick!"
"KOKIN!!" Duck howled. "Another arbit kokin!"
Mikenlove got replaced by Bernadin and they played a sweaty, loud, pushing and shoving, hugging and laughing game of soccer. Bernadin won so Duck insisted on a rematch and Bernadin won again. Don't worry, Duck. It was all the fault of that arbit kokin.
Our game got distracted by Emmanuel and Camille who were hitting each other with a ruler. Why is it that boys are most content when they are wrestling or fighting with each other?
Actually, maybe it's a Haitian thing because later in the afternoon, Duck and Miltha, the boys' head nanny, started their own ruler battle.
Even serious Mathurin got in on the fun.
Love those smiles!
I really am going to chop this kid's ears off if he keeps refusing to smile for the camera. C'mon Jacques!
Over at the girls' house, the NLL gals were playing Queen of the Chairs.
Oh, who's Queen now?!
Bernadin and I broke out the bubbles and had a party with those little girls.
They adore Bernadin.
And he adores them too.
Naika is his special favorite.
Lovenie was the only one not interested in the bubbles. She had found a little plastic bowl and was thoroughly pre-occupied with trying to stick her entire face inside it.
I went back to the boys' house for devotions. To my surprise, little Ernso was leading. In months at HFC, the youngest person I have ever seen lead devotions is 12 year old Renick. But there was Ernso, with Renick at his side to assist him, very quietly and shyly calling out the songs and verses and choosing other boys to do the readings and the prayers. It is such a joy watching the older boys guide the younger ones. While Renick stood by Ernso, Acheley let Monsanto read along with him and Job helped James follow along in the hymnal.
I loved the prayer requests that the boys made last night. Daniel asked everyone to pray for their dreams for the future. TiJude asked for prayer that Haiti would win the soccer game that night. Job asked everyone to pray for their Haitian families, for Bryn and for Bryn's sister Mandy. And little Monsanto asked for prayer that he would pass his exams next week.
It started to rain after devotions. I hung around the boys' house, waiting with them for the Haiti soccer game to start, but it never did. The TV channel must have chosen not to air it. I finally got up and declared, "I'm leaving." As soon as the words were out of my mouth, the rain started coming down in torrents! "OK, maybe I'm not leaving." Three times, I got up to leave in a lull and each time, the rain would immediately get harder. The janitors lock the gates at 9pm so at 8:50, I gritted my teeth and made my way to the door. I knew that even if I could make it across the street without getting soaked, I would probably end up standing at the door for a good 5 to 10 minutes, waiting for the janitors to hear me ringing the bell and to come open the door. And since it was raining, I would get shocked by the bell and would have to resort to just banging on the gate, like we used to do before there was a bell.
Across the street, one of the girls was at the window. Coach Manno and I started signaling crazily at her and yelling to her to go downstairs and tell the janitors that I was coming. She couldn't understand us. 3 other girls came to the window before one of them finally understood. We waited for a few minutes and then one of the girls reappeared at the window and made some sort of signal with her hand. "I'm going!" I yelled and raced out into the storm. Manno refused to come close the gate behind me because he didn't want to get wet and last thing I saw, he was trying to shove Reginald out into the rain to do it instead.
I got to the door and rang the bell. OUCH! I got shocked. I always forget that the bell and rain are not compatible. I banged on the gate and 2 minutes later, the door opened. I was drenched, but I hadn't been out there long enough for my camera to get wet so it was OK. As I came through the courtyard, I met Youdemie, Nadia, Carmelle, and Merline Jean. They were on their way down with a big plastic table cloth. They were prepared to send Soufran, one of the janitors, across the street with the table cloth to get me. I had misread the signals and jumped the gun. Oh well. They still got very grateful kisses from me and I shared my dinner with them.