My camera was stolen on one of the last days of house mudding in Jubilee. I was rather peeved. I lived in Haiti for over 3 years before I had something of relative value stolen from me for the first time (a head lamp and $13). But after less than 2 weeks in Jubilee, I had already been robbed. I was relatively confident that it wasn't one of the teenage boys who works with us daily because they had had plenty of opportunities on other days. But there are always people visiting the work site, so it really could have been anyone.
That afternoon, the boys showed up at my house with the missing camera! This is the story they told me:
"Keziah, we went home and we were very upset. We didn't want you to be sad, and we were scared that you would write to Josh and Ben and tell them that we'd stolen your camera! So we wanted to get it back for you. Djeff's mom offered to help, so she went around to all the neighbors, telling the story and collecting whatever money they could spare. Then we sent Wiesguer's uncle to the voodoo priest's house. We didn't go because we're Christian and we know you wouldn't have wanted us to.
"The voodoo priest told them that 'a guy with a very dark face took the camera' and that he hid it under his shirt when he snuck away. We knew who that was - Dessalines - so we went to his house, all 7 of us, and we told him we'd beat him up if he didn't give it back! [Dessalines is several years older and a lot bigger than all our boys.] He started trembling with fear and he surrendered it. Then he tried to convince us to lie to you and say that we found it somewhere and we don't know who took it. But we knew that if we said that, you'd think we took it, so we're telling you the truth."
I'm glad they told the truth, but even if they'd tried to cover Dessalines' rear, the last photo I found on the camera would have pointed the finger instead:
Note to any future camera thieves: when you get caught, erase your self-portraits before you try to lie about your innocence!
The confusing part to me is how the boys knew that 'the guy with a very dark face' was Dessalines. I have talked with the boys about using voodoo power, even for something good. It's a tough topic and will be an ongoing discussion. And I'm still deciding what to do about Dessalines himself. We don't have much of a relationship with him, so I can't necessarily punish him like I would one of our boys, but I feel that there needs to be consequences so that he will learn and change. Any suggestions?