Friday the 18th, known as the Battle of Vertières, marks the victory of Dessalines in the last battle for a Haiti free of her chains to France. Since its one of the more important and more celebrated holidays in Haiti we gave our teachers the day off. Creating 60 displaced children in need of something to do with themselves. Ever since Rilinxe’s birthday celebration at Fort Jacques the kids have been asking to go back to new orphanage site. Not because they want to run and play and explore the beautiful countryside. BUT because they have fallen in love with Tank, Pat and Holli’s great dane puppy. Previous to Rilinxe’s birthday the kids referred to the Fort Jacques property as “Fort Jacques” now however it will forever be known as Kay Tank, meaning in Creole “Tank’s House.” Two weeks of begging and pleading lead to Joyce and I both thinking the same thought, “today is a perfect day to take them up to play.”
Our simple thought evolved into a much bigger concept, and thanks to many many willing hands of volunteers and staff, we were able to take 25 kids up to the new orphanage property for the afternoon. Usually when doing an activity we include kids according to their class in school because it usually matches up to their maturity and developmental ability and the kids can all understand if only Kiki’s class is doing something, or just Joyce’s class. Well that Friday it was to be Elange’s two classes, 24 children ranging in age from 4-11 yrs, when Jean Moliere spotted Joyce giving directions to the oldest children he slowly made his way through the play yard and waited for the kids to part when Joyce would have a moment for him. Head sunk low on his shoulders he raised it cautiously and with a hesitant voice asked, “Do I get to go too?” Poor Joyce was obligated to explain to him that only the kids in Elange’s class could go this time. With more maturity than his years he replied quietly, “Ok” and lowering his head walked away the disappointed clearly etched in his face. We quickly discussed the situation and weighed the consequences of including him and not others in his age group, but his request could not go unheeded and at 1pm when we were ready to go, Jean Moliere’s bright smile popped over from the back seat of the Montero as he exclaimed, “We’re going to Tank’s house!”
The kids had a hot dog roast, played tag, collected pine cones, examined rocks, climbed the hills, chased and petted Tank till he wanted to hide, and to top the perfect afternoon off Pat turned the hills into an amusement part and gave each child their very own four wheeler ride. We all lined up to watch the faces of these kids, excitement, turn to fear, turn to joy, turn to pride. They had a fantastic afternoon, one that will go down in my memory books as perfect, and one that reflected in their creative writing assignments days later was described as a “happy time”.
”A happy heart makes the face cheerful..”
Posted on Tue, November 29, 2011