Since my last update only one of the boys has gotten sick. He was down for a few days with headache and fever but has recovered nicely. I had a very bad headache one day this past week and feared I would be down for a while. Fortunately, a full day and night of sleep and I am better!
Birthday celebrations have traditionally been a special family time for me. This year I was blessed to be able to talk with my U.S. family over the phone and celebrate in spirit. My God-given, Haitian son’s birthday is about a week before mine so we celebrated our birthdays with all the boys and a few friends. Our morning was spent at Haiti’s largest open-air market where we purchased rice, beans, spices, chicken. Two Haitian women spent the afternoon cooking on the stove and over charcoal on my back patio. Then folks gathered for food, music, singing and dancing. It was a great time and the party over by 10pm when the generator ran out of gasoline.
Yes, the city cut the power to our neighborhood on my birthday, the day before our party! (The second time the power has been completely off since I arrived in October.) Although we have power now, it is not sufficient to run the refrigerator but it will run the light in the refrigerator, that is, when the city decides to let its residents have power. I have not figured out the rhyme or reason as to when the power will be on or when it will be off.
There have been demonstrations several times a week since the the election results were announced. I hear that some of them have been quite dangerous. As a safety precaution I do not go out on the streets after dark and if I happen to be at the boys’ apartment when the sun is setting, at least one or more of them will walk me home. (We do not have to walk on or cross a main street.)
Last weekend we had planned to have a group of us go on a cultural trip to Cap Haitien and visit the Citadel, which is a massive fortress in Northern Haiti. We ran into some problems and had to postpone that trip. We decided to bring food to the poor people living by the Cathedral in downtown Port au Prince, visited a beautiful beach and took a ride up to the top of Black Mountain instead.
The boys are a wonderful group of people, very kind and protective of me. They are eager for me to become fluent in Creole. I find it easier to read it but Creole is truly a spoken language and the longer I am here, the more I am able to comprehend what is being said. But I still have a long way to go! Last week I lost my Haitian phone (or it was stolen) and these boys, who have so little materially but so much in heart and love, pooled what little money they had and purchased me a replacement phone. Many things cost less in Haiti than they do in the States but phones are not one of those things.
When I return to Haiti in January, we will implement several contests for the boys with prizes for the winners being soccer balls, sports wear, electronic devices, etc. Over the past few months it has been evident that the boys are competitive and strive to learn. Here is a breakdown of what the contests will consist of:
English spelling contest…they would be given a list of words to study and a spelling bee would be done. Words must be spelled correctly in English. (Topics: household items, human body parts, food, etc)
Naming an assortment of fruits with their English name. The person who names the most (or all) of the fruit with the correct English name wins.
Math problems…real life situations math story problems, particularly in the area of budgeting.
Bible verses…since English is a language of prestige in Haiti, memorization of Bible verses in English would warrant a “better” prize. Creole is spoken by almost everyone in Haiti so we would encourage memorization of Bible verses in Creole too.
I thank you all for your prayers, support and encouragement to help make the world a better place. We are all in this together… and we are better together!