Today's lesson is things don't go as planned. Flexibility and improvability are key!! Today was an interesting day. I am seeing what may be indicative of the whole culture. People are afraid to take leadership roles. Those who do are greatly respected. I think this is what caused most of my frustration today.
First off, time here is pretty much nonexistant to a certain degree. I mean times are set but loosely followed, and communication is very poor and/or confusing. We were told several different things today by different people. VBS starts at this time, you will be doing this today, etc...
We got up this morning and had breakfast around 7:00. Daulus came to us afterwards and wanted to find out what we were going to do, besides the VBS which we were told would start at 11:00 am. Ken and Tom wanted to do more construction. I don't blame them, but we thought it would be best to have everyone stay and prepare for the VBS.
Now I have mixed feelings about VBS and I had them when Wendy asked us to do it. When churches come and do VBS I feel the kids go more for the fun or what they can get. They are so used to the Americans coming and I don't know who much good it really does. After what happened today my opinion hasn't changed especially for Haiti.
So we planned things out, but we didn't get all the info we needed to execute everything. There were about 200 kids there. The singing went well except that even though they know some of our songs in Creole they don't sing all the parts. After the singing Louie and Mandy did a little puppet skit. We were going to divide the groups up in two and have half do the game and the other half do the memory verse. I found out that we couldn't use the ball court to do the games so we were stuck with trying to do something else. I asked if they could go outside so that we could do the activity for the memory verse section and one of the translators said yes. He then told me that there was a teacher who had a lesson, or so I thought. I stepped down, the teacher said something and all the kids started filing out of the church. Come to find out they left to do the game, but I had misunderstood. By the time we got out there many of the children had left because they had not eaten lunch (which they were supposed to have). We got some of the children back in, got a group of them to do the activity and then pretty much gave up from there.
The amazing part, during our little interaction with the kids we were asked to give them balls, watches, wallets, money, etc... The children were very responsive at the beginning but became very unruly at the end. The boys in particular were more proned to rudeness. I was pinched and called fat. One boy got mad at me because I would not give him a ball that I did not have and he called me some rude names in Creole. Honestly, it was disheartening. I almost feel that we Americans really don't do much good coming here to Haiti. I know they were poor before the earthquake, but they are even more so now. I think all the aid that has been brought to them has created a give me society. As soon as a blanco is seen there is the assumption that they are wealthy. It is not just the kids. We had a principle of a school in another village stop by and ask me to help him. The need is great, but the people are beginning to depend on handouts and expect white people to give/provide. That is why this mission is so important. It is going to take Haitians to reach Haitians.
200 hundred kids!!
After the VBS I was extremely discouraged. We had lunch and then we bagged up the food we had bought to pass out. To be honest, at this point I didn't feel like handing out food. The experience that morning had poisoned me. Fortunately there was a little girl named Roofny that helped us bag rice. She was such a joy to have around. She seemed to genuinely want to help and have fun with us. Not everyone is a beggar. The poverty is great, but there are good people here. The Prophetes are proof of that.
God using my little friend Rufny to change my spirit.
Well we didn't see anyone of the “leaders” until later in the afternoon when Betty got back. We were honest with her about our experience and she seemed genuinely disappointed in the translators and with how things went. She said tomorrow will be a different experience. I truly hope so.
Betty has been so generous. She gave us a bigger/cooler room after the medical team left. It has its own bathroom. I am the only one staying in it as everyone else is sleeping on the roof. Though I would like to sleep on the roof in the coolness of the evening (with the rats) my back can't handle being on the little mattresses. Betty gave me a fan to sleep with. Also, her husband (Pastor Prophete) is diabetic and seems to be concerned that I get the proper food. Tonight I had to explain that I cannot eat wheat. It was spaghetti. She had rice, chicken and salad made up for me and then sat down with me to eat. Very gracious and hospitable.
During our dinner a man came in and he seemed to be very agitated. He spoke with Betty and it even got to a point where he was raising his voice. I wasn't sure what was going on. He was a big man and I thought that if I had to defend Betty I wouldn't get very far. Betty told us that he was very upset because a mayor in another village had equipment burned and destroyed over a land dispute. He got arrested, but it was a big shock to them. A mayor should not act this way.
We ended the night by punching holes in the craft. We have decided to make it very simple. Sing, lesson, craft, snack. We will have about 300 hundred children this time. CRAZY!! But I think we can do it.