Monday, November 16, 2009

My aunt's godson, Jameson. We decided we're cousins.


This week was an interesting one, with lots of visitors, a new volunteer to introduce to Haiti, and a 2 year old to babysit! I spent the week showing Lucretcia all there is out of Kenscoff, including the hospital, Kay Germaine in Tabarre and Kay Elian in Petionville.

Jennifer, an American woman who works in our fundraising office, was here with a big group of visitors and to visit the baby boy she and her husband are adopting. Damian Frechette (after St. Damien hospital, where he was abandoned, and Father Rick, who gives his last name to the abandoned children) is 2 years old and the cutest kid you could imagine. Jennifer first met him in the tap tap room of the hospital, where my therapy babies come from, and wanted to adopt him immediately! They told her he was already being adopted, but it didn’t work out, and 9 months later, he was still in the abandoned baby room. Erin found her and asked if she was still interested. She was and they’re in the process now! How cool is that story? It’s wonderful to see the good that can come out of that room, because those children are still available to be adopted where as the children at our orphanage are not.

So Erin and I babysat Damien on Wednesday night so Jennifer could go to a business dinner with Robin, and had a great time! He’s running around everywhere and talking up a storm (in creole, of course) like a normal 2 year old. He wanted to throw pillows and eat chocolate chips and stare at all the cars out the window all night, so we let him, because volunteers are meant to spoil the children from the hospital!

I spent a long weekend at the orphanage, going up on Thursday and relaxing in the cool, quiet mountains. We had visitors Saturday so the kids had a big program with lots of dancing and music. The girls are such good dancers and are beautiful in their costumes! I left Kay Retreat at 9:30, and before I even made it to the office at 10:00 I had been knocked down by a very excited special needs girl giving me a hug, helped an 8 year old out of the wet cement she stepped in, and proofread a speech someone wanted to give in English. It was a normal day!

Some of the boys ready for mass

Erin and Vicky ,the youngest kid at the orphanage

The girls after the program

Kay Christine is always an experience. Often I will sit and embroider with the older residents who are done with school in the mornings, which I enjoy very much. Sometimes its silent, and sometimes Daniel starts pacing the room in his walker so Selena decides to try to knock him over and he starts to yell incoherently. And then Yvonne comes in and between hitting anyone who touches the scarf she always carries, sings at the top of her lungs “YVONNNNNE YVONNNNNNE YVONNNNNE”. As always, Innocent is making trouble, and while he’s sitting on the toilet will grab the mop and start poking people as they walk by the bathroom yelling for Maeve or I to come give him a kiss. Rose Therly comes home during recess and starts dancing to no music, and then steals my sunglasses and has people take pictures of her. Cedline is as always sitting outside in the sun yelling to herself, and then Alexei bites down on his lip and 5 people jump up to try to make him unclench his jaw before he starts to bleed. Kay Christine is always moving.


Of course, there’s always sadness to focus on if you choose to. You’ll look down and see the burns someone put on Yvonne’s legs, maybe in an attempt to burn the seizures she often has out of her. Clotaire will get to excited from singing to us and have an epileptic fit. And then Watner, who was found burning in a pile of garbage as an infant, wanders over from the kindergarten looking for a treat. He only has half his fingers and scalp.

But then, Fabien comes in and trips all over herself to run and give you a hug, and Inderra makes eye contact with you from across the room and starts to laugh uncontrollably. You gotta focus on the good.

That’s the new from Haiti. Miss you all.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Things since the last post:

-Work, work, work:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: Classroom from 8-9:30,
Hospital from 9:30-10:30
Pool from 10:30-12:00
Autistic/least functioning children therapy from 12:30-1:30

Wednesday: Horse riding with the kids, autistic/least functioning therapy in the afternoon

Friday: Early intervention, embroidery with the special needs childrens' mothers

I get home early (2:30 ish) but am still working on translating documents from French to English for the hospital and always have embroidery to catch up on.

-The day of the dead included a trip to the Hotel Ollefson for a voodoo death ceremony, where I was blessed by a voodoo priestess. I don't really know what that means, but I'll roll with it. Erin and I then preceded to (kind of) break into an empty (maybe?) room to check it out. We were found and escorted out, butthen convinced our escort to give us a complete tour of the hotel grounds.

-All Saints Day started with mass at the hospital, a trip to the public morgue and then a trip to the cemetary where we bury the abandoned dead. A terrible day.

-We went back to the cemetary where Emilie is buried to say a blessing, and saw several voodoo offerings and burnt ground from past rituals. Haitian cemetaries rent their plots out, and when the family cannot pay any longer, the body of their dead relative is unceremoniously pulled out of the grave and burned against the cemetary wall. We saw many bones, alot of garbage, and alot of empty graves.

-I saw the inside of Cite Soleil with Father Rick and entourage, where he went to pick up some metal art made from oil drums to sell to our fundraising offices. Terrible poverty with frequent violence, but it was a calm and quick trip just through the barriers. There were tons of children who saw us and yelled "HEY YOU! HEY YOU!", a habit they apparently picked up from the UN.

-Saw more of this metal art at a festival, where I spent my monthly stipend buying some awesome things. Pictures to follow.

-Good times with Erin and Robin, the other American ladies here. I'm very glad to have them.

-Devestation when I went to the hospital to discover my Jolene girl had been transferred to an unknown orphanage the evening before. I don't know where she is, but I'm trying to find her to force her caregivers to bring her in for physical therapy. She was so close to walking on her own, and they left her orthopedic shoe behind. They ended up doing a complete overworking of the tap tap room, with all my abandoned babies being sent out (including Carmella and Cassandra). Annabelle is the only one still there. On a more positive note, however, Liliana and Joseph (2 of my abandoned therapy babies) have been deemed healthy enough and promoted to the tap tap room. With them comes Moise (Mo-ese) a little boy with a cleft pallette and a little malnourished girl whose name I don't recall at the moment. Jo's bed is empty at the moment, and her names is still on the wall.

-I learned to make pizza from scratch.

I'm coming home for a week one month from today. Be excited.