In the Summer of 2010 I was one of many lucky people who had the opportunity to take a short trip to Haiti. I fell almost instantly in love and just can't keep myself away. I've spent about 11 months in Haiti since the first time I went two and a half years ago and my time there isn't over. I'm exploring my options on where to take my life from here but it WILL include Haiti in one form or another. This is where I record stories and thoughts about my experiences.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving and more

Thanksgiving was a sad day for me. I really missed my family. But today I feel a lot better and don't feel as sad. I cried a few tears yesterday and one of the kids asked me if I was sad because I didn't get turkey on thanksgiving. Sue and I went to a little restaurant in town and I ate french fries and she had chicken nuggets for our Thanksgiving treat. That was nice. It was also Betchina's birthday today. She turned 5 and we got to eat cake for dinner. That was delicious. Even though the weather doesn't agree, it is starting to feel holidayish around here. In the stores people are decorating for Christmas and playing Christmas songs. Soon the kids will make some paper chains and other decorations for the house. It's not the same as being home but at least I'm not missing the holidays all together!

The babies have been sleeping really well at night. It makes my days a lot happier when I get more than 5 hours of sleep! School has been going really great with the kids too. I feel like these kids are learning so fast. Peter is talking in English so well now it's amazing. He's saying so many new words and chooses to speak in English rather than Creole to me a lot more often now. I really have been enjoying teaching and seeing the kids learn. Today, I showed peter a new way to do his math problems because previously he had been using crayons as place holders to add and subtract. Now his books are getting into the higher numbers and it's taking longer and longer to do the problems and count out 15 crayons or whatever. I showed him how to start at 9 and count up to add instead of starting at one. It's very nice. We also practiced our "doubles" (1+1, 2+2, etc) and both Michaelle and Peter have them memorized. I'm still working on trying to get Michaelle to try the new way of doing math. She'll get it soon enough I'm sure. 

The kids are super good at reading as well. We play games with their flash cards that they make which they really enjoy. I am trying to think of a way to get them to better be able to sound out words. They are so quick at memorizing their sight words from their reading but when I show them a new word, they have difficulty sounding it out. They need more practice knowing what sounds the letters make since the Creole and French alphabet is so different from the English alphabet. I'm trying to figure out a way to make this easier for them. 

I have been in a better mood too because the kids have been a lot less sassy recently. I decided that I wanted to spend more time with the kids who aren't home schooled so I sent all the home schoolers outside and kept some of the other kids inside to do puzzles and play games with. We all had a lot of fun. The home schoolers were mad at me for sending them outside but they got over it quickly (which is unusual) and we ended the night on a good note. That felt nice. 

Claudson (10 year old brother to Peter) is so darling with the babies. He has been watching them so much recently. The other day he watched them for almost 2 hours while I did laundry. I didn't hear them cry once. It's adorable to see him beam when I tell him what a good papa he is to them. He's a wonderful little guy. 

A few days ago, Sue was showing me pictures of Claudson and Peter's house and family in the U.S. There were pictures of their mom, dad, siblings and house. She gave the photos to the boys to have. Claudsons' face just lit up so fast when she handed him the pictures. He kept saying "for me? for me??" He held the picture of his mom and dad and just smiled and showed it to me proudly and said "that's my mama and papa!" Tears started welling up in my eyes because I felt happy for him. I also felt so sad that so many kids don't have a family to cherish. I realized the good that will come of these kids going to the US and was happy that these boys will have families who will love them and stick with them. But I also feel torn because I want these kids to be Haitian and love Haiti and grow up here. Most of the kids at Sue's have families who gave them up. I know most of their parents live in situations that are not ideal in raising up a child. They are poor and many live in tent cities where sexual abuse and crime are not uncommon. I'm sure the kid's parents were struggling with paying for food and other necessities as are most parents in Haiti. However, I've been thinking a lot recently about the affect that foreign aid has on parents who give their children up for adoption or to orphanages. I wonder if by all the American's coming to help and offer children a safe environment, it encourages families to give their children away. 

I guess I need to have faith that God will give these children what is best for them. I'm just curious to know if U.S. interference in Haiti has increased the amount of kids who are abandoned by their parents and families. I hope to God not. It's heartbreaking to walk down the street and have a father walking his daughter home from school yell out to me "ou bezwen?" In other words, "do you want my child?" while shoving his 4 year old daughter towards me. I don't want that reputation. I want to help kids who have no one. And I want to help families who have little resources stay together. That is my hope for Haiti. That families are not split apart. I don't think the answer to "curing" hurting children in Haiti is by sending kids to the U.S. I think life in Haiti is hard, but that breaking families apart only makes it harder. 

I am happy that the kids here have the chance to have families in the U.S. I know that they'll have wonderful opportunities to do things like play sports and go to gymnastics and go to college and have a warm bed and maybe a pet dog. But not every child in Haiti is going to have that opportunity. I know that in a perfect world all children would have these things but I think it's important to think about answers that will help Haitians on a wider scale. I think the kids here are going to have a better life in the U.S. But I think that the good could stop there with that one child. My hope is that these kids will not forget about their native country. I hope that they will grow up to love Haiti and be proud of where they come from. Haitians are proud of their country and I don't want these kids to lose that. My hope is that they will grow into people who will come back to Haiti to improve the lives of people who didn't get the opportunity to escape the poverty.


  1. You work for the CIA now? Invisible ink???

  2. also... it was great to talk to you on Thanksgiving! I'm so proud of you!