One day, while we were at the O last month, we decided to try to find something different to do to get all the bigger kids (age 5+) together and calm. We had spent afternoons playing basketball and soccer, making kites, playing with the parachute, singing songs, reading books and just talking. It was starting to get hotter and we were pretty tired that day. So, Ashley and I broke out the paper and crayons and a couple of the kids sat down to draw. Within moments, more and more kids came over to get a sheet of paper and join in, until every one of them was seated at the lunch tables coloring.
One by one, they finished their masterpieces. And, one by one, they gave those masterpieces away. They drew the pictures for us! “Pou mwen?” I would ask. And the answer would be “Yes!” These precious little faces, who have very little to call their own, were quick to give their beautiful drawings away and ask for another sheet of paper. The next drawing, too, they gave to one of us or to one of their friends
I know that this seems silly, or like a bit of a reach for meaning, but let me take a moment to explain this a little further …
The kids here share pretty much everything: a bedroom (older girls and boys are separate, of course), clothes, underwear, toys, school supplies. They are pros at sharing! And yes, there a few things that they claim as their own – maybe a roll of string for a kite or toy given to them by someone special. But, for the most part, the kids do not really have anything of their own. And rather than hoarding anything they can get their hands on for themselves, they choose to share. That day, they chose to give away their drawings.
And that is just the spirit Haiti. People with nothing, willing to give away what they do have – even if it is just a hug, a smile or a song.