Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mona ...

Strong little legs pound the dirt road as fast as they can go, the bare little feet so tough they hardly feel the rocks embedded in the dusty ground. Mona can run like the wind and she knows it. Although she’s only six years old she is one fast, tough little girl. If any boy teases her they better watch out! Her dark eyes dance with mischief and you often hear her low laugh.
She normally wears some scraggly clothes but today she’s only in her underwear. As I watch her play and run, I remember the words in Matthew 25:35&36“I was hungry and you gave me meat…. naked and you clothed me.” When the children complain they are hungry we give them bread with butter and sugar but we only have our own clothes with us, and they’re just not the right size.
I watch her for a few more minutes and then call her. “Mona, eske ou kapab vini isit?” (Can you come here?) She dances over and plops down beside me. Previously I had given beads and other little hair clips to the girls but I hadn’t given her any yet so I ask if she would like some. “Wi,” (yes) she says her eyes sparkling with excitement. “Do you want me to put them in your hair?” I motion and speak in broken Kreyol. “Wi,” she says again. I lean forward and touch her hair. It’s a mess. Her dark frizzy locks are full of sand, sawdust and stiff with mud and dirt. There is no way I can do anything with it. “Eske ou vle mwen lave chevey ou?” I ask her. (Do you want me to wash your hair?) “Wi,” she says again so I go inside to grab a bucket of water and my shampoo and get to work. A little later her hair looks much better and I make a cute little bun. What can I give her to wear? I think to myself. I suddenly remember that I have a high necked, long stretchy T-Shirt that might fit her as a dress. I go to our room to see if I can find it. Sure enough, there it is. When I put the dress on her Mona just glows. It fits really well and comes right down to her knees. I tie a ribbon around her waist to complete the outfit. She looks so cute. I then wash her arms and legs with the leftover water and notice a festering wound on her left knee cap. “Let me get my first aid kit”, I say. I clean her wound and then lather on the antibacterial cream. Then I put one of Jayden’s brightly coloured band-aids on it. She smiles gratefully and then says the one English word she knows, “Thank you”. Soon after she leaves for home dancing all the way. You can tell how happy and excited she is.
Hours later she comes back, minus the dress, the hair clips and beads. Someone else has neatly done her hair in little braids and she is wearing a threadbare Dora explorer nightgown that is about 3 sizes to small. I ask her what happened to her dress and she explains it to me over and over but I just don’t know enough of the language to understand it.
Now weeks later she is once again sitting beside me while I study my Kreyol lesson book. “Ou gen bel rad yo,” she says, (you have pretty clothes). Now that I have a better grip of the language, I can communicate much better.” “Ki kote rob la m-te ba ou?” (Where is the dress I gave you?) I ask. “Mama mwen te pote le mache a pou vann li,”she says. (My mother took it to the market and sold it). “Mwen te kriye anpil”( I cried a lot). She looks at me with her large dark eyes and moves a little closer to me. I squeeze her hand and my heart breaks for her.
Later I tell Jason and since he knows more Kreyol them I do, he goes outside to talk to her. She tells him that her mother sold her dress for 5 gouds. “Pouki?” (Why?) He asks. “Mama mwen te di m-pa bezwen bel rad paske m-toujou fe yo sal kanmenm.” (My mother said I don’t need pretty clothes because I always gets them dirty any how.)

How are you supposed to react to something like this? It’s painful knowing that something you gave someone ended up causing them more pain because it was taken away. Did her mother need it for food? Possibly, who knows? At least if she used it to buy food that would be a little consolation.
Now when Mona comes I just give her things that no one can take away from her. Hugs, friendship and kindness. Jayden also likes sharing his snacks with her, although he does insist on “feeding her”. She doesn’t mind though and plays along with it. One thing I continue to learn is how important speaking and understanding the language is. If you can’t communicate there’s just so much you miss.


  1. What lessons regarding contentment can we not learn from these illustrations!

  2. Wow - Will, I love reading your blog. When I read the story of Mona, I thought of the verse in Matt that talks about how if you do it for one of the least, you've done it for Him. I am impressed with how you guys are taking on that new language!!
    God bless. XO

  3. Thanks Sandra! I'm glad you enjoy reading our blog. I love to write!There's more about Mona's story to tell so remember to look in a couple of days. Hope all things are going good with you guys. Nice hearing from you.
    Love Will

  4. Love your story Will.
    I think Mona will just love your hugs and kisses and showing that you care, that is more than anything this world can give that doesn't last. This is also a great lesson for us all, to be comtent in what we have and all the blessings that God is giving us and not to take it all for granted, (which we always do). Missing you all alot and especially in the holidays when we had eveyone over, you were very much in our thoughts and prayers.

  5. Oh Will (and Jay and Jaden)
    What a job you have ahead of you in learning the language, and trying to understand the people. Mona is a beautiful child, maybe by your example she will learn much. You look good, nicely tanned and healthy, Jaden too. Love your stories, I print them to share with others!
    God bless you all as you work for Him.

  6. You guys are makeing me homesick for Haiti, MAF, flying... Really nice job on the blogs. I wish we could have had a tool like that in the 70's & 80's while serving ourselves. Stay with the language study. As you can tell already it is paying big dividends. Ke bon die beni nou ampil. Mwen va prie pou nou malgre nou poko rencontre. Petet nap jwen chance mwa prochen.
    Paul H