What's your favorite kind of pancake? Mine is a pumpkin cranberry walnut pancake that I get at Sorella's in Boston. Of course, I also love a good blueberry pancake, especially if it's made with fresh picked Maine blueberries.
In Haiti, the new favorite pancake is Reese's pieces pancakes. Sounds a bit strange, I know, but when you want to throw a party for 8 teenage boys and the only bulk food you have left in the house is pancake mix, and you don't have chocolate chips but you do have Reese's...I mean, it's the obvious conclusion, right?
For the months before the earthquake when I was living next door to St Joseph's, I only got to know the 3 youngest boys because they were the ones who played with my little neighborhood friends. I thought that the older boys were too cool for me. They aren't like most Haitian kids who would simply die for the chance to talk to a white person; they live at a guesthouse where they have white visitors all the time. So until the earthquake, although I spent time on the roof at St Joe's, I never tried to build relationships with the boys.
But after the quake, it was the 8 oldest boys that came back to St Joe's while the rest stayed in Jacmel. Suddenly I was working side by side with them in the demolition process and that was all we needed. Just sweat with someone for 4 hours and you are instantly bonded for life. Now, the boys and I hang out - we play cards, we listen to music, we make spaghetti, we watch basketball games, we haul rubble, we eat whatever food I have in the house, we bandage up our cuts and more cuts and more cuts...I attend prayers and chapel with them at least twice a week, and last week, three of them made me take them to the Mothers' Day concert at my church. They'd been invited by some of the youth but they said that they wouldn't go unless I went with them.
So for my last hurrah with my young St Joe's neighbors, I cooked about a hundred pancakes and watched them devour them. You'd think the poor guys never got fed! It was a fun evening and a good way to say good-bye. It's funny to remember that 6 months ago, I didn't even know most of their names, and this week, I'm saying good-bye and thinking how badly I will miss them.