Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Intern abuse

Let's make sure I have this right.

Child abuse is when a child gets abused. Animal abuse is when an animal gets abused. Elder abuse is when an elderly person gets abused. Therefore, intern abuse is when an intern gets abused. Technically, I'm an ex-intern, but when I'm staying at the pension for 3 weeks, I think I can reassume the title, so we'll stick with "intern abuse" instead of "ex-intern abuse."

Who inflicted aforementioned abuse upon me? Ironically, I seem to recall posting an article about how this young man is my protector, my bodyguard, yet recently, he has morphed into a heinous human being, capable of wreaking havoc and bodily harm on innocent interns. Yes, his name is Bernadin Guy Junior.

We'll begin with the minor offenses.

1. The arm-wrestling. He arm-wrestled me. And beat me. Multiple times. This falls into the category of physical and emotional abuse. When one of your children beats you repeatedly in an arm-wrestling contest, it takes a physical toll (my shoulder ached for a few days) and it certainly makes you feel an emotional loss - "Help! He can beat me at arm-wrestling, he's growing up, soon he's not going to need me to pull the splinters out of his feet or spread his peanut butter for him...Aaah!"

He thought I was letting him win. Don't I wish! I finally had to pull up this photo of him weight-lifting with Wislandy to prove to him that he really is strong. If he was white, he would have blushed all over when I pointed out how muscular his arm has become.
2. The soccer ball. I walked across to the boys' house and through the courtyard, minding my own business. Bernadin was there, kicking around a soccer ball. As soon as I stepped foot through the gate, he began kicking the ball at me with all his might. It hurt! I tried to kick back but I am a hopelessly weak kicker. I thought that my superior baseball skills might help me out, so I took the ball in hands to throw it at him. Bad plan. He then started using his hands to literally beat me. Check this out:

I did fight back, I swear. But the fight ended with me looking like this and him unperturbed.
3. The bitings. This one came out of nowhere too. We were just sitting on his bed talking and suddenly he bent down and bit my upper arm. We're talking tooth marks, Keziah yelling, Bernadin pulling - that kind of bite. I guess he thought it was amusing because he bit me 4 times on that arm. Tooth marks each time. Like his arm-wrestling talent, he didn't have any idea how powerful a biter he actually is until I appeared the next morning with 4 bruises on my arm. He was mortified but insisted that it had nothing to do with how hard he bites and everything to do with weak American skin.

4. The mango wars. It was phase 2 of our mango party last month. Bernadin was being surprisingly grumpy despite the 4 mangos in his possession. I was peacefully munching on a mango and came in to see if his mood had improved so I could take a smiling photo of him for our mango sponsor. He looked up at me, down at his mango skin, and up at me again. A wicked smile. I should have run. I didn't. Soon we looked like this. He does have mango on his face, you just can't see it because he's Haitian.
Once we were done smearing each other with mango pits and skins, we went down to the courtyard to wash off. He rinsed and then I stepped up to the faucet. "Don't waste your time, Keziah." Another wicked grin. "I'm not done eating yet."

I didn't even try to fight back this time. I just ducked and dodged and protected myself as best I could. My best wasn't very good. We have now progressed to looking like this.
And when the final mango was in his stomach (and on my face, arms, legs, hair, and t-shirt) we were looking like this. He was distinctively not grumpy by this point.
Fortunately, this entire post is a gag. His playful rough-housing is the farthest thing from abuse. I would be disturbed if he didn't beat me up every now and then. It's just another way that he has of saying "I love you." The biting was the only slightly confusing one, but he admitted late that evening that it was another "Do you really love me?" test. He wanted to see whether I would get mad and stop loving him if he caused me physical pain. I think I passed the test.

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