The kids attend Bataillon at the Bolosse Baptist church every Saturday afternoon from 3-6pm. I think that's a little too long, especially on the days when the kids sit in rows of wooden benches for the entire time and listen to a pastor preach. Two of the times I attended, the topic was "Escatologie", the study of the End of the World. The older girls were quite enthusiastic about the subject but everyone was tired by the time 6 o'clock rolled around.
I don't normally sit with the kids. I stand or sit in the doorway so that I can monitor them as they go out to the bathroom. It's funny how around the pension, they never seem to need to pee, but when they are at Bataillon, almost every single boy has to leave the room at least once. And sometimes, it takes them a full 5 minutes to come back. I've even had to hunt a few of them down. On one occasion, I went looking for Peterson and Bernadin after their bathroom break had passed the 5 minute mark. I found them sitting in the little kids' Bataillon room, listening to the lesson that Wislandy was learning.3 weeks ago, Jessica and Fabiola Pierre Charles (Lamarre's daughter who has been friends with our girls her whole life) had a little tiff at Bataillon and apparently, everyone heard it. Jessica was soundly scolded for it by the staff at HFC, so the following week, she got up in front of the entire assembly at Bataillon, invited Fabiola to come forward, and apologized to her publicly. When I left 3 days ago, they were good friends.
Wislandy and the 5 NLL boys go to a smaller version of Bataillon downstairs. Her teacher also leads Sunday school on Sunday mornings, so the kids know him well and are very comfortable with him. He does a good job of making lessons fun and understandable for the little ones.
Some weeks, like last week, the children participate in marching exercises. Later in the year, the brigades will have a marching demonstration in front of the entire congregation. Our kids, since they are beginners, are just starting to learn the basic commands and steps.
Fabiola PC has been attending Bataillon for over 5 years. She is in the advanced group and they are amazing! It reminds me of color guard sans the flags.
It was painfully hot that day. The kids were spread out over the sunny courtyard in groups, marching. Earlier in the afternoon, the water had been running in the church building, but 10 minutes into the marching exercises, the water got turned off. Our kids were sweating but not complaining.
I found Coach Manno and we went down the street to a "convenient store", which in Haiti is a man on the corner with a large refrigerator full of sodas and little baggies of water. We bought 25 baggies of water which we carried back in my skirt and delivered them to the kids. They were hugely grateful. I felt bad for everyone else who didn't get any, but if we had bought any more, I would have ripped a hole through my skirt.
Go to this link to see the experienced Bataillon brigadiers marching. Just imagine, in a few years, our kids will look this too!