Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trip to the Village IV

I wake up to goats baaing, and roosters crowing. Early morning light filters in through the screened windows. I guess it's time to get up. I roll out of bed, get dressed and then change Jayden who has woken up as well. We head downstairs and enjoy a delicious breakfast of Haitian fritters. Once we are finished breakfast we walk to Caleb and Debbie's house to borrow their vehicle and then drive on over to the camp. I'm excited! The camp is where we lived for three months while we studied the Creole language and I'm looking forward to seeing all my friends there. As we drive up we see a group of boys sitting under a tree. We make our way over and get reacquainted. "Kote Mona?" (Where is Mona?) I ask Sonson, Mona's brother. "Na Kay la" (In the house) he responds. "Eske ou ka rele li pou mwen silvouple?" (Can you call her for me please?) I ask and he nods. Minutes later he returns with a grinning Mona and her older sister Renise. I hug her and she hugs me back. It's so fun to see her and talk to her! I'm glad to see that she looks healthy and feels strong. I ask her how old she is now and she says she is eight. “You're still pretty small for eight,” I tease her in Creole, but she just grin and shakes her head. Jason has meanwhile gotten involved in an animated conversation with the group of boys and I hear their shouts of laughter as he jokes with them. We walk over to the group and it is then that I notice a small naked baby, crawling on the ground. When I take a closer look I see that he's actually a toddler and that his tiny feet are paralyzed. Not being able to get where he wants to go, or not seeing his parents around he bursts into tears. His cries break my heart. Tiny flies buzz around his eyes, and his body is covered in dirt. I walk over and pick him up. "You will get your clothes dirty," some of the little girls around me point out as I hold him on my lap. I just shrug. Meanwhile the little boy has stopped crying and looks up at me. I hold him close. A few minutes later a young Haitian man walks up to me and says. "Sa Petite Mwen." (That's my child) "Li rele Kason" (His name is Kason). He is friendly and doesn't seem to mind that I'm holding the boy. "Kote Mama li" (Where is his mother?) I question. And he points to an entrance of one of the camp buildings nearby. I pick up Kason and then make my way over to his mother. The woman is only wearing an over sized T-shirt and greets me with a shy "Bonjou". She has some hot coals on the ground and is boiling a pan of water over them. I sit on the steps close to where she is sitting and begin to talk. Mona makes herself comfortable on my lap and I hold her close. Seeing me sit on the dirty steps the young woman instructs her husband, who has wandered over, to get me a chair. I tell her it's not necessary, but they insist, so I comply. Talking with her I learn that she is only 19 years old and from Port au Prince. Her mother and several other family members died in the earthquake. Since their house was destroyed her and her husband and two children moved to the camp as refugees. She has a four year old daughter, who watches us as we talk.

She's a very cute, friendly little girl and soon runs off to play with Jayden.

Kason, her two year old son, was born paralyzed and although his body seems strong and healthy, his feet are tiny and small. She gives him a bag of Dominican cheeses and he is quite pleased.
Once he's finished she passes him some sandals which he wears on his hands. Pulling himself on his hands he drags his legs behind him. He can move surprisingly fast, but the dirt and the dust makes for one dirty boy.
Once the water is boiling she adds some spaghetti noodles and waits for them to cook. "Eske ou gen kek rad pou mwen?" "Do you have some clothes for me?" she asks, pointing at her shirt. I shake my head. "Nou pa pote anyen" (We didn't bring any). Meanwhile Jayden playing with her daughter has run into the room where the family lives so I go inside to get him out. Looking inside I see how bare it is. Only some bunk beds that belong to the camp. There is almost no personal affects at all.

Just then the door opens to the room beside, where some young men are living. Their music is on and from my spot I can hear the words of this song.

She calls out to the man on the street
"Sir, can you help me?
It's cold and I've nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?"

He walks on, doesn't look back
He pretends he can't hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there

Think twice
'Cause it's another day for you and me in paradise
Think twice
'Cause it's another day for you
You and me in paradise

Staring at the meager breakfast of spaghetti noodles and realizing how little she has and all the sorrows and trouble this nineteen year old girl experienced, my heart breaks. Her first child at fifteen? Her second child a paralyzed boy? Her mother and other family members dead? No home of her own and no proper clothes to wear? Compared to hers my life is just another day in paradise.

Do I have anything I can give her I wonder? I check my purse and then notice Jason’s wallet. Shifting Mona over I secretly pull out some money. I then lean closer and reach for her hand. I close my hand over hers and then transfer the money. “Bondye bay sa pou ou” (God gives that to you) I whisper. She nods, looks up at the sky and smiles at God. “Mesi” (Thank you) she whispers.

Are you going to walk to the river with us? Jason calls, surrounded by his admiring fan club of boys. “Okay” I respond. Once more I grasp the young woman’s hand and then lifting Mona off my lap I stand up. I say my goodbyes and together with Mona join the group walking to the river.

The scenery is beautiful and I soak up the morning sunshine.

Mountains, fruit trees, sugar cane fields, cliffs, the winding river.

I follow the steep narrow path down all the while holding Mona’s hand.

I sure love this girl! At the river we sit down in the grass and just enjoy nature’s beauty.

Later back at the camp, Mona invites me to her house, so after leaving Jayden with Jason, Marin and I walk over. At the house I get to meet Mona’s father for the first time. He is very friendly and shakes our hands enthusiastically in welcome. The entire time we were doing our language school he was working in the Dominican Republic so this is the first time I get to meet him. Although their house is small and simple, it is still quite nice compared to the other homes in the village.

It consists of a dining room/living room and then two bedrooms. The kitchen and bathroom are outside.

Peeking into the second bedroom I’m surprised to see a chubby baby boy fast asleep.

I question Mona and she explains that this is her new baby brother Jethro. He sure looks healthy! Mona’s family now consists of Renise, Sonson, Mali, Mona, Rosa and Jethro. As we walk out the gate Mona’s mother walks in. Seeing us she smiles broadly and gives me a big hug. Rosa, who was with her carries her and Mona’s dolls lovingly in her arms. These were the dolls from Oma Krul that we had handed out a year ago and it’s wonderful to see how happy they are with them. Although a little dirty and missing some hair and clothes you can tell the dolls are well loved.

After a walk to the other side of the river, we say goodbye to all our friends and drive back towards the village square. There we tour the hospital and eat lunch at the snack bar.

Once we’ve finished our Haitian hamburgers we head back to the hotel and pack up our things. We thank and say goodbye to Neil, the owner of the hotel, and then head back to the airplane.

It’s time to head back home. Looking out the aircraft window I catch my final glimpses of Pignon, before it disappears from sight.


  1. It is so weird to be back in Holland, read the blog, and realise that I am so far away again! We had a great time together! Thanks again! And I certainly hope it won't take another five years for us to see each other again! Lots of love and a big hug for all three of you!

  2. Truely a touching account!

  3. Wow, we have all just gone back to our hectic lives, not thinking about the people of Haiti who are still suffering so many after affects of the earthquake. It made me ashamed!!

    God bless you Jason, Will and Jayden, love ya all. Henry and Jenny