At our first water stop, I saw one of my young boys that I see every time we stop at his neighborhood. He always comes up to me and hangs out with me until it's time for us to leave. I like seeing him because he is such a sweet boy. We usually sing together and goof around! Today, he showed me his dogs and I met a few of his Zanmis (friends). Our inside joke is the "hey you give me one dollar" because that is something he asked me the first time, and I always reply with "hey you give me ten dollars." Just a side note, everyone here, even kids, that don't know any English, will say "hey you give me one dollar." Oh how I wish I could just give them all $10, but I know giving anything amongst all those kids would end up in total chaos. My little buddy asked for an English book today. He never really asks too much of me, but he wants a French to English translation book. I would love to purchase a book for him. I can't help but feel eager to help out a friend that wants to learn. Knowing more than creole here can help you get a job and can help you to go farther. Most kids that are educated speak English and some will even know Spanish.
Our next water stop was a place I remembered going to on my first trip to Haiti. I remembered the kids being a little more aggressive and less attentive in play than the kids at a few of the other stops we had been to before. However, today was different! These kids were a blast and were so eager to play! I started dancing to a "hey you" chant and all the kids wanted to dance with me. I love when the kids stomp their feet, clap their hands, and chant along. After our chanting, I showed the kids a little routine of split jumps and spins.. I felt like I was teaching dance class as I watched some of the kids mirror my activity! In the mist of chaos, heat, and dirt, I lifted my hands up over my head and spun around in a circle like a ballerina. I lifted my leg as though I was skating and smiled from ear-to-ear as I watched a few of the girls mirror my move. It was so beautiful. I felt so graceful and elegant as I pranced around the little stage.
After dance class was finished, we played a game of London-Bridges and some hand-games. I was so thankful for Junior's help today! He came over by me while I was with the kids, and he translated what they were saying to me. My biggest frustration about being here is not being able to have a direct dialogue with the people. I have been trying to learn creole from Junior and Fanfan to help understand what people are saying to me. One little girl wearing a pink dance outfit came up to me, looked at me in the eyes, and she said something to me in creole. My heart sunk as I was informed that she wanted a baby-doll-- to think of all the barbies and American girl dolls I had growing up, and she just wanted one of them. It probably didn't matter if it had hair, clothes, or even a missing limb. She just wanted a doll.
Our third water stop was so exciting for me. I really felt like I was a Haitian child at this stop! The minute I stepped foot on their road, the kids swarmed and I was included in many of their games. A girl came over with a beat-up rope that was full of dirt and slightly wet from the water on the road. We started swinging the rope as a jump rope, and girls came running into jump over the rope. We were playing a game with the rope that I wasn't overly familiar with. For a while there was chaos with the kids as they tried to organize the game. Finally, one little girl took charge. She went up to each person and told them their order, and once she was finished the game began. One at a time a person would run in to the swinging rope, jump a few times, and then they would jump out when a new person came in! It was so cool to see the children do this, and it looked like it took a lot of organization and practice to get the game down. After playing jump rope, we played a Haitian version of London-Bridges. The Kids would chant something in creole, and I just followed the lead of one of the older girls. Once our game was complete, we ran over to the slides and started playing on their playground were we slid down the hot, metal slide and played monkey on a bar that looked like it used to have swings on it. Our last activity at the stop was my favorite, dancing and singing to "God is so good."
It still amazes me how there is so much simple play and joy in a place of such chaos and devastation..