The Haiti I Love and Revere: Part 3

May 7, 2016 | End of Trip

We brought the Hokey Pokey to Haiti today....and so much more.

There was a bad rainstorm in Haiti today and we couldn't hike up the mountain to Furcy. In lieu of this hike, we went to toy library and fetched the kids from the tent village. When we reached toy library there were no kids there and the staff told us that the kids were not going to show up because no one goes out in the rain. I decided that we should go to the tent village and pick the kids up ourselves. I wanted to show them that we were there for them and that they could come out even if it was raining. So we walked there and found the kids in each of their little tent homes and brought them back. Within a half hour more kids poured into the toy library and the room was packed.

We played many games i.e. Simon Says, Head, shoulders, knees and toes, Hot Potato, Tic Tac Toe, but there was no Hokey Pokey. I was sitting and thinking what else do we play in the US and suddenly I saw myself singing Hokey Pokey. I sat up and went to Joelle, the lead teacher today, and showed her how to sing this fun song and Noah and Kris joined me in demonstrating. The teachers understood immediately and did it as if they had known it forever; we played a few rounds of it and the teachers as is their fashion, played it over and over again. That is how they learn and teach everything. And we learned it in Kreyol which was so fabulous. Love that part where you turn and put your "derriere" into the circle and "shake it all about".

2016-05-10-1462891128-9221177-hokeypokeypicture.jpg

You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around...
that's what it's all about!

Photo Credit: Ed Collier

Then we went home for lunch and got ourselves ready for the afternoon at an orphanage we have been visiting and serving for 5 years, Les Amis de Jesus.
When we arrived, the kids were waiting to welcome us with a familiar song. I have a video of it that I will post with this blog post.

The kids have grown a lot in the past 5 years. Many are teens who will need very different services from us. I see them all grown up and I am afraid that they will not get what they need. They need a good high school education and then choices to go on to higher education and decent jobs so that they can earn a living and have families. That is available in Haiti, but it is an ambitious pathway. They need love, commitment, and the kind of hard work that I do with my two teen sons.

The kids were so appreciative and brought a lot of energy for the activities we planned for them today. There were tattoos, scratch and sniff stickers, Polaroid photos neatly put into felt frames, and Eyes of God. We tried to sing Baby, Baby by Justin Bieber thinking that this would be a song they would love and instead they took over and sang, "We are the World" and many other Kreyol songs. If they had a choral director, they could go on the road!

The service trip has come to an end. We sat at dinner and ate and talked....drank some wine and relaxed and spoke of serious issues like racism which keeps people apart and weakens our world. Dawan, an African American young man, spoke about how he has never had white friends growing up in Orange, New Jersey and that he wanted to be friends with us. He was so sweet and open and sincere. We each talked about our experience with "diversity" in our lives. It was fascinating to hear that only one person in the group has had experience with friends of different races growing up. We have been kept from one another by societal forces that dictate fear and distance. We all longed for closeness tonight and the experiences with the kids in Haiti had opened our hearts to what is most important in life....to be compassionate and caring of one another....to be committed to community whether in Haiti or the US or anywhere around the world.

I go to sleep tonight remembering the loving moments of this past week. Our debriefing at meals, our play with the children, our respect for the WWO staff, and our quiet time in the living room at the guest house where we sang songs and played ukulele will hug me to sleep tonight.

Thanks to the service rangers, Kris Zero, Noah Gonzalez, Matt Alderman, Danielle Nussbaum, Dawan Alford and Ed Collier for bringing their hearts to Haiti and generously and intimately connecting to the kids. Thanks for your schemes and plans to return and to help WWO achieve its very big vision. Will miss you all.

I watched each one of the service rangers fall in love with the children...kisses, caresses, laughter, and hugs can be seen in the hundreds of photos that Ed took over the last three days.

I will miss Ayiti...as I always do.

Dr. Jane Aronson