29 July 2010

Gifts

While David is in Florida, Will Krul invited me to come and stay with her. Her husband Jason is traveling with David while he renews his medical and he’ll help David with our shipment tomorrow. David is relieved to have someone with him who’s been through the customs process before, and it’s easier for me to stay behind knowing David isn’t completely on his own.

Will, her son Jayden, and I kicked off the visit by going to the store to get a birthday cake for Jocemine. She’s their goddaughter and also the daughter of the family who works for them. We put her in the high chair and set the cake in front of her. I’d like to tell you that she suddenly broke out into giggles and smiles, but the bewildered expression you see on her face was the one she maintained throughout the celebration. Will gave her a balloon, a toy frog that squeaked, dresses her parents had sent, hair clips, and shoes.

Her mom Denise seemed particularly excited about the clothes and accessories—Jocemine mostly wears Will’s son Jayden’s hand-me-downs, so having something girly was pretty sweet. Her brothers and Jayden were also given balloons, which lasted about as long as you’d think. But there was lots of lovely shrieking and running and laughter before the bubble burst, so to speak.

Today, Will and Jayden took me with them to the outreach feeding program she helps with at a local orphanage. I wandered around a while, watching the kids lining up and watching the Americans and the program helpers dink around with the balls while the food was being prepared. My mission was to “go and love,” according to the program director…no problem.


Finally, the gates were sprung open and one by one, the kids began to put their rocks in the can and come inside. It’s not a free-for-all—the couple who runs the orphanage has identified some of the needier kids in the area, and they give the kids on the list a rock so that they know which ones are supposed to be there. After three or four kids came inside, I noticed this really small kid who had lost most of his hair. That’s a sign of severe malnutrition, as well as the hair turning orange.



I scooped him up and started to skip across the cement soccer area, much to his delight. When I got over to the beads, I thought he might like to make a bracelet. “Eske ou ta remen fè yon brasle?” I asked him. He didn’t answer, so I started to put him down, but he pulled his feet up. I laughed. He looked like a pill bug, clinging to my neck and rolling himself up away from the ground. “All right,” I told him in Creole, “but you can’t pee on me. If you have to pee, you can tell me.” (I’d had a bad experience in the past.) He put his head on my shoulder, and I took that to mean he had accepted my terms.

(I had more pictures, but it's easier to post it in two posts--see below for the riveting finale!)

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