Exams take a miniscule portion of the day. Normally, the kids are in school from 8am until 1:30 or 2:30, with recess between 9:30 and 10:30. During exams, though, there are kids all over the place all day and they are all done by 10:30 or 11 in the morning. For example, right now, as I write, I have Job kneeling beside me, Jessica behind, Stev to my left, Hermilus to my right, and a whole boatload of girls on Bryn's bed. Today, of course, was the last day of exams so they are all in very high spirits.
Each day after exams, the kids do some serious playing before they start studying for the next day's exams. Many of the neighborhood kids go home to change out of their uniforms and then return to the school to play. The girls jump rope. Their favorite game is one that determines a girl's future. On Wednesday, I watched Beana get married in a blue dress to a boy named George, have 8 children, drive around in a wheelbarrow, live in a shower, and work as a streetsweeper. The boys, of course, play soccer. I introduced frisbee to them too and we enjoyed some frisbee keep-away, but the disc kept going over the wall into the neighbor's yard, so we switched back to soccer.
Around the girls' house, the most common activity is babysitting. There are always NLL toddlers in the girls' rooms and in my room and in Bryn's room. The girls (and the boys when they come to visit) fight over the kids, feed them, dress them, make them dance, and essentially give them enough sisterly (and brotherly) love to keep them very happy and a little spoiled.
The other thing that happens a lot chez les filles is hair braiding. I am not very good at Haitian braiding and yesterday I remembered another reason why I don't enjoy doing their hair. Youdemie asked for help braiding Kattia's head, so I took the left side. By the time I was done, my hands were slimy with what felt like butter. I know logically that it's hair gel, but I swear, it felt and smelled just like Kattia had smeared butter in her hair. I think I'll let the girls do the braiding from now on. Of course, that doesn't stop them from wanting to play with my hair constantly. This gorgeous hair style is courtesy of Nelcia.
Word has apparently gotten out that I love mangos. OK, I may have been broadcasting it from the roof but still! Since Monday, I have been given 3 mangos by Se Pradel, 5 mangos by my friend Tchaly in the street, and 4 mangos by Ismaelite, a teacher/nanny who I taught English last year. I have eaten every single one of them. OK, that's not true either. I could never eat all those mangos. So I share them with the kids, like my little buddy TiRonald. He loves mangos!
Lovenie has discovered that she can come down the hall and hang out with the big girls. Her sister Stephanie takes good care of her and all week, every time I have seen Stephanie, I have seen Lovenie clinging to her skirt.
The girls created a new way to use stethoscopes. They put them in their ears and then have a friend yell into it. I think that if they keep that game up, we may have to buy the orphanage an otoscope too so I can show them the damage that they are inflicting on each other's ears.