School in the morning - I got attacked by small children in blue uniforms every time I went downstairs.Dr. Bernard and Claudette came to the orphanage to spend the night last night, so Se Pradel and a team of girls thoroughly scoured the guest room. Mikerlange mopped, Merline Jean carried water, Nadia cleaned the bathroom and Childa dusted the shutters.
Stephanie Jeannis swept and tried to attack me with the broom.
In the late afternoon and evening, it was all stories. Down in the kitchen, the older girls and I hung out and they told me story after story of voodoo, funerals, and when they were little. I never really know what to do with the voodoo stories. The children believe them but they are also perfectly confident that nothing of the sort will ever happen to them because of their faith in Jesus. A lot of times, I think it's just rumors, but then they will tell me something like this: Argentine was at chapel at Maranatha, where she goes to school, and a young man got demon-possessed. He starting picking up the desks, which are both desk and bench nailed together and are long enough to seat 6 people, and throwing them around the room. He jumped an entire flight of stairs and wasn't hurt. He ran out into the road screaming and flailing and finally fainted on the road.
What?! As an American, I try to find other explanations for it. Maybe the boy has some sort of mental illness. Maybe he just did it for the attention (though I think the stigma far outweighs the notoreity). Maybe it was a physical illness like typhoid that caused a fever high enough to make him delirious and a bit crazy. Or maybe he really was demon-possessed. I do not know. What we do know, is that Haiti is full of voodoo and people who swear by its power. The Bible has many instances of demon-possession. If it happened then, why couldn't it happen now too? Either way, I hope I never see it.
The other stories were more light-hearted. I got a lesson in how Haitians cry at funerals: very violently, with howling and moaning, arm-waving, spasms on the ground, and fainting. The kids are a little nervous because when they get to a higher rank in Bataillon, they will be required to assist at funerals and may have to restrain some of the more out of control mourners.
They told me that Merline Guilluame used to be afraid of old people. And that she is still afraid of dolls. (I have seen her cringe and duck away from a little plastic doll. Very odd.) Jessica talked about being a tomboy, and dashing downstairs to play soccer with the boys whenever she got the chance. There was the time a huge white bird landed on their window and spent most of the night there. And when they were really young, any time the electricity went out, they all ran to Miltha and clung to her till the lights came back on.
Stephanie taught me a new way to enjoy labouille. We broke crackers into pieces and dropped them into our porride. It adds a pleasant crunch and a little bit of salty-ness.
Chrystel and Merline Jean sat up on the windowsill between the kitchen and the hallway for most of our story session. Every time they heard someone coming down the hallway, they would leap down, because if it was one of the nannies, they would be scolded, and if it was one of the girls, they would have their bottoms pinched.
I read a chapter of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to Renick, Drisk, and Job. Then back to the girls' house where I told a story about the cockroaches who revolted against the evil giants that live in the pension. The girls begged me to retell the apple pie story, which is my very adjusted version of Homer and the Doughnuts. I warned them that I can never remember exactly how I told a story last time because I make most of it up on the spot. Indeed, I unintentionally gave them a different ending that they didn't like as much. They still enjoyed the story immensely, but I'm going to make them tell me the story next time they want a retell. If they remember better than I do, why not?