Here are some sweet and silly memories from this summer in Haiti.
And of course, you know how much I like photos, so there are some great ones included as well!
The ride to the Mole from St. Louis with all of us girls squeezed into a little SUV truck. The Castillo girls were in the back and we played several fun car-ride games including the alphabet game. We went A-Z through fruits, vegetables, foods, animals and then Rosie excitedly yells out, “Let’s do furniture!” So we did, from armoire to some furniture that starts with z?? (who even knows what we said!)
The Castillo kids always having some great prayer requests during our daily meal time prayers. From Asher, “Help us have a good day. Help Levi stop playing while we’re praying. Help us not be bad.”
The 4th of July party we had as American staff, complete with a cookout, 4th of July firework shows on TV (there also may or may not have been dancing, mainly by the boys!), a bonfire, s’mores, sparklers and our very own fireworks show!
The wonderful food art that we all became pros at making. Although no one could out-do Patrick…
The amazing Mexican fiesta we had prepared by Meridian, such a fun and relaxing picnic day! Even if we take the most awkward candid photos ever…
The lizard we found when we were cleaning out the clinic. It was a beautiful bright green but then it changed colors to this deep brown hue after Patrick tried to catch it. But he was determined and eventually got it into a shoebox (even though Asher let it out of the box shortly after).
The mouse Morgan also found later while cleaning out the clinic lab. It was so small and cute but it ran like a crazy animal so I still sorta screamed when it ran past me.
The many, many spider, mosquito, and cockroach killings! We were starting to feel a little bit like insect serial killers as we chased them around with shoes yelling, “Die! Die! Just die!”
The bug invasion! When it rained one night we had about a million (a bit of an exaggeration, but only by a little!) flying ant things that came into our house under the doors and walls and we had to kill them all. Seriously, it was like a bug graveyard in our rooms…
The World Cup games we got to watch out in the cafeteria even if we usually only had time to watch the USA matches, and everyone made fun of us for it! The night it not only rained but poured during the game! And the time Portugal had that last second goal against the US and we all couldn’t believe it.
The times we got to visit the fishing village Karnage, just a 20 minute walk from our campus. All those adorable children just running around half- (or all) naked just laughing and being crazy silly.
The trip to Karnage where I got to learn the “wheel game,” even if all the kids thought my running skills were hilarious! We adventured around with all the kids in this beautiful little ocean swamp, catching crabs and they would pull off their claws just so we could hold them and not be afraid. It was kinda sad for the crabs but also kinda funny and sweet. And then we filled an old soda bottle full with all the crabs we caught.
The little chubby-cheeked boy I met on a walk through the village who become a friend! We got to hang out at VBS too.
The fun card game we saw going on as we walked up through the mountain parts of town. Marjorie and her friend were playing and they would secretly look to see what cards they had and hoot and holler no matter what!
The adorable friends we made in town who would basically run up and attack us with love and laughter whenever we saw them. Sweet, hilarious little Baladine, affectionately called Troll Baby by us because her crazy hair sometimes resembled those troll dolls.
The little house I made with sticks and leaves with Saintaina while waiting for kids to show up for the pre-teen conference. Even though Saintaina said she wouldn’t want to live in it…
The wonderful wedding day full of joy and love! How much it meant for all those couples to finally be married.
The sons of one of the couples getting married, Alexson and Benji, looking so adorable in suit vests and little short ties for the wedding. And Alexson’s hair was so fun in a little afro of a bun!
The newly married couples all coming to church and just being so overjoyed and generally adorable. The husbands trying to find passages in the Bible and helping each other and the wives being able to sing up front and take communion now that they were married.
The pastor’s son, Atznel, helping out with children’s church and telling me that the same Holy Spirit must have been in both me and him, working through us. He taught my lesson on Jesus’ death on the cross with John 3:16 as the memory verse the same day he had planned to start teaching the kids a song based on that verse.
The times we needed help in church and China or Nene would always help us find the correct song in the Chants Desperance song book.
The fun times with Isebelle and her rapid-fire, machine-gun type of laugh. When I was out fetching water and she took a bite of my cake and just laughed hysterically! Then I pretended to be sad like I was going to cry and she came over to genuinely say “Eske m.” I gave her a kiss on the cheek and she ran off giggling and saying “Emily bay mwen bo bo!” which means “Emily gave me a kiss!”
The time I was walking on campus and Izzy saw me coming and put her arms out to run up to me full force. She started chanting “That’s my Emily! That’s my Emily!” in her little adorable accent.
The game we played where Izzy would run away or hide and say “Emily pa we’m” (“Emily can’t see me”) even if I totally could see her sitting right in front of me but I would still search and chase her as she laughed that crazy little laugh of hers.
The insight to what’s cool and trendy here. Mikela informing us that if you have your own chicken and a nickname you are popular. And apparently people don’t even have to like you, as she said, “When I walk through town everyone calls my name, even my enemies call my name!”
The sweet moments I had walking Fedna back to the orphanage and just talking to her and loving her. The joy and love she exhibits is just awe-inspiring.
The swimming lessons we attempted to give all the older kids in the orphanage. They got a lot better and more comfortable being in the water, but like I’ve said I always seemed to get the crazy squirmers, like Jenny here! But you’ve got to love it!
The best night of the week, Saturday movie nights! Watching Ratouille sitting with Rovenson. All the kids yelling “Sourit! Sourit!” (“Mouse! Mouse!”) whenever they saw a mouse in the movie, but especially when the little animated mice were running back and forth on the DVD menu screen.
The Jungle Book 2 being a feature film I got to watch with Sondley on my lap. Having him explain everything!!! He basically gave a play-by-play for the whole movie – “Look he’s sleeping, he’s getting up, he’s in his room!” How the movie was familiar and fit their lives with mangos, plantains, fetching water from the river, carrying buckets on your head, half-naked little kids running around, and all the fun animals! During the movie, Jenny and Sondley debating the ethnicity of the characters and if they were white or black. Jenny was definitely convinced that they were all black!
The complex card game Morgan tried to teach us to play during Patrick’s last week. Morgan being super competitive and beating us all, even though I pretended to win! Us all joking and just cracking up!
The funny photo-shoot we had as interns with Miss. Beth with the lovely Susan being our photographer. Seriously, there are some classic shots…
The blood pressure clinic I had for the Dames group and all the ladies who showed up! Just getting to sit and talk with them a bit while practicing some of my medical skills, which I loved.
The Dames group having a fun week and playing musical chairs! It was a little crazy and I won’t lie I was a little afraid of my competitors, they take this game seriously! MNene fell off a chair onto the floor, Mme Prophete was pushing me around the circle to go faster, but in the end Tizzie was the victor! But we all got suckers and she shared her prize candy with everyone as well!
The last day in the Mole just going around town on a photo-shoot (since we were already all fancy for church!). All the funny and silly faces we made as the 3 amigos, just livin’ the dream!
The lesson Miss. Beth gave to the Dames group on the joy in believing from Philippians 3. How the idea of having our bodies here while our minds are elsewhere resonated with everyone. Wherever you are be all there.