This morning Rhiana and the girls woke up feeling terrible so they spent the day in the room. It appears to just be an upper respiratory issue that they most likely caught in the States and it fully developed here in Haiti. Luckily, I brought along some antibiotics that Rhiana and Gracie could take for there symptoms. I ventured out in the city and found a pharmacy that had liquid antibiotics for Clover. The interesting thing to me is that all of our pharmaceuticals that we go to the doctor to get prescribed are sold here over the counter. No prescription necessary and the packaging looks like Sudafed or Tylenol. I was warned to check the expiration date on the meds before purchasing them, which I did and everything was valid.
I felt bad leaving the girls behind this morning, but we all agreed that I needed to go to the Orphanage and continue the work we came here to do. The day was much like yesterday. We got the babies out of their cribs and taking them outside to play and get some one on one affection time. They were amazing as usual and after about an hour or so, they went back inside for nap time.
I was able to meet with Pierre, who is the head of the orphanage and go over what repairs he needed on the property. There is a lot to be done and supplies are limited, but I am going to do my best to get everything back in safe, working order. The last thing I want to do is contribute to the problem by leaving anything half done. I also should mention that during my walk through with Pierre that I was carrying a little girl that needed some heart time. Heart time is when a child just lays their head on your chest and listens to your heart. I know it calmed my own girls and obviously every child in this world needs it. I am happy to share my heart.
After the walk through, I went down to see the older the kids who were congregating in and around their room. Their room is what we in the states would consider a shed with bunk beds and a toilet. One room for the girls and one room for the boys. Some of the children stared at me with curiousity while others shot me mean faced glares. Many of the girls ran away to hide in their room or behind one of the trees in the coutryard.
Then, a boy ran over and lifted up the sleeve of my t-shirt and said “Tattoo”. He pointed to the portrait of Jesus on my inner bicep and smiled big saying “Jezi”, “God”, he pointed to the sun and said “Soliel”. He traced his fingers to every piece of my tattoo sleeve and named off each image and if he did not know what it was, he asked me what it was in Creole. It was great that we could break the communication barrier by simple gestures or facial expressions. One by one more and more of the children came over to inspect my tattoos. One boy asked, “do you love Jezi?” I shook my head yes. He then asked, “Do you like Satan?” and I shook my head hard saying no and made a stink face. He smiled and gave me a hug. This place is amazing!
(If you have not figured it out on your own, Jezi means Jesus in their language.)
I spent the rest of the day playing big brother to all of the older children. We played soccer and basketball mostly. I helped one boy fly his handmade kite which was really impressive. These boys take garbage and build kites. These kites are well designed and they fly just as good as any store bought kites in the states. The string is made my tying together stands of nylon from discarded rice sacks. The frame is built with sticks and held together by stems that they ties together at the joints. The body of the kite is nothing more than a grocery bag that they tie into place with more string from the rice sacks. The craftsmanship is impressive. These are natural born engineers.
After a long day of playing with the children, I jumped in a van with our house mates and rode out to Petitionville. This is the ritzy area of Haiti. The ride there was full of excitement. There is the Haitian driving which has ZERO rules to abide by including passing other vehicles on the sidewalk. Then, there were the street kids (and adults) that would reach in the window of the vehicle begging for money during traffic jams. After a while, we finally pulled into the Caribbean market. I was shocked at the selection. Anything and I mean anything that you get in the States (even Whole Foods quality, organic foods were available). It all came at a big price though as a bottle of apple juice, apples, oranges, and lemons ran me about $35.00. I was followed by a uniformed store employee on every aisle that I went down. It was weird to say the least, but it got even more bizarre when guards with shotguns in hand joined in on what felt like a game of follow the leader.
It is the norm here. Men carrying sawed off shotguns are everywhere. They man the gates, the parking lots, the stores, etc. Luckily, our family owns guns and shoots regularly so it doesn’t affect us the way that I think it would affect someone who is never around guns. Now, that being said, it still made me sweat a little bit, which I think is normal in these circumstances. We made one more stop and then headed home for the day.
I was so excited to see Rhiana and the girls. They wanted to hear all about my day and I wanted to hear about theirs. I miss them when we are apart in the States, but a full day apart in a foreign land with NO way to communicate was brutal. We are all together now and looking forward to all serving at the orphanage tomorrow.