What an amazing, amazing day today!!! Finally had a day with no school, as it is Saturday. We arrived about 10:40 just as the kids were getting clean clothes for the day. We walked into W’s room to help, and it looks like they have a pile of clothes to choose from maybe? He has certain clothes he likes, or maybe that is only his pile, I can’t tell. The other day the nanny put him in JEANS – oh man it was hot! LOL so today he started to grab his jeans and I told him to put on shorts because it was so hot! I helped him pick them out. Then he reached into another crib full of random things and a pile of shoes, and he grabbed the slip on sandals that he wears every day. I can’t tell if they are HIS sandals, or if they are just assigned ones that fit and that’s what you wear when you’re not wearing school shoes. Interesting thing though – about 90% of the kids go barefoot everywhere. Out in the yard, the dirt, walking down the road, all over the orphanage, etc. There are only a handful that wear shoes – some kind of slip-on shoe, crocs or something like that, or athletic sandals, there are not any tied up laces anywhere except sometimes on school shoes. Anyways, he ALWAYS wants his shoes on. He doesn’t seem to like being barefoot, which is okay by me in that place! 🙂
On that note, I don’t think I could ever really describe the drastic difference between US and Haiti culture and do it justice. One thing that is extremely different here is that everywhere you go (outside of hotel grounds) in Port-au-Prince there is garbage. Like every kind of trash imaginable. Not so much food trash, as that is eaten by dogs and goats and anyone scrounging for leftovers, but plastic water bottles, soda bottles, bags, metal scrap, boxes, pretty much everything that you throw away at home that isn’t edible. Everyone just dumps it on the sides of the road. I watch people all the time throw empty plastic bottles out their car or tap-tap windows into the gutters. Our translator said sometimes it gets picked up by some sort of trash company, but not on any kind of regular schedule. The other odd thing is that there is a very dirty muddy river through the middle of PAP, dividing two of the neighborhood areas. The super tall banks are just a cascading wash of garbage, it is very very sad. Some of it eventually tumbles into the water, which is a HUGE reason why you don’t want to be touching any water here that isn’t from a sealed bottle! tap water and shower water in the hotel is fine, and the water they serve at this hotel is okay, as its purified, but normally – the rule is, if it isn’t in the bottle, don’t put it in your mouth. We brush our teeth with bottled water here too.
At the creche, the first thing we noticed when we walked up the first day was the trash. Everywhere outside surrounding the building. Broken bits of toys, plastic, empty bottles, bits and pieces of randomness scattered through the yard. Not just here and there, but almost everywhere you step. The goats actually help with this trash problem as they eat EVERYTHING. Like, we lost a tennis ball the second day in the yard, and pretty sure a goat gobbled that right up. The littles aren’t much help either because they think it is fun to chuck their little toys off the balcony and then the goats just mow it down. There are flies “moosh” everywhere also. We got used to that really quick. I always wondered watching movies and documentaries how the people dealt with flies crawling all over them without bothering them – well, we figured that out really quick. The first day, I went downstairs and found a boy picking up flies off the floor and putting them in a rag…just for fun I think? There’s probably 17 million of them flying around at any given time LOL.
Anyways, all that to say that I’m glad my son has a shoe fetish…I don’t want him running around in bare feet out there!
After I helped him get dressed – silly but I love that part, makes me feel like a real mama – we went outside to play – daddy brought whiffle balls and a big fat plastic bat to teach baseball…however in the first 30 seconds it was apparent that we didn’t need to teach much of anything! LOL that kid has such good hand-eye coordination he was hitting balls left and right! He will not have any trouble acclimating to a sports-family! 🙂
Today was one of W’s friend’s birthday! His adoptive mama happened to come for the past few days for a visit and so when we stopped at the “Stop n Go” (grocery store, kind of like a miniature safeway) she bought him an adorable mini birthday cake! The Stop n’ Go has a produce section, a small bakery section, and then all the food aisles like normal…just on a slightly smaller scale. They don’t really have much beyond food there though, so we are SUPER missing Target right about now, especially since we ran out of ballons, need more snacks (for the kids), and forgot our box of crayons!
The other mom and birthday boy invited us up to the patio with them and just a couple good friends, and we sang Happy Birthday in English and then in Creole, and ate spoonfuls of cake, snacked on Cheetos and Doritos and gatorade and had fun taking photos with Daddy’s big camera! He loves anything associated with being a “big kid” so the fact that daddy let him take photos with the big nice camera was a big deal! We had some giggles about frosting on noses – and have a great photo of matching blue blobs of frosting on W and Daddy (can’t share it online tho)!
The other adoptive mom had brought a few boomerangs to play with, but they kept flying over the fence, so we had a nice expedition down the road and into the garden area trying to find the lost boomerang! The garden at the creche is very new, within the last year I think(?), and they are growing a TON of crops to use for food and sell at market. There are probably 30 or so papaya trees, most with great looking fruit growing already, some corn, and another root vegetable, and other stuff I have no idea what it is! W also showed us the inside of the chicken coop today, so we could see all the chickens up close. They were feeding chickens at that time and I said oh, food for the chickens! and pointed to their mealy grain…and said “ou grangou?” W just giggled and giggled! I had asked him if he was hungry 🙂 he said “non!non!” 🙂
We were up on the patio in the afternoon and heard a bunch of yelling, and we all rushed over to the bars to see what was going on. Apparently a group of the older kids had gone down the road to the mango trees and picked a whole bunch of mangoes for the kids! They LOVE mangoes, and W is no exception! I asked him if he wanted to go get mangoes and he said WI!! So the three of us rushed down and out through the yard to the edge of the dirt field where they had a big pile of mangoes and were handing them out to all of the younger kids. He was handed one, and I said Now what? and he bit a chunk off the top and then bit into the edge of the peel from the fleshy part he had opened up and pulled a strip down with his teeth, then another strip until he had about a 2-3″ wide piece of open mango flesh. Then he just ate away! There was kids and mangoes EVERYWHERE. Juicy, dribbling hands, fingers, faces and smiles! It was like a water cooler at the office – everyone babbling and happy, swapping jokes and feeding mango peels to the goats and the dogs! So cute! Kris decided he is going to eat mangoes like that everytime – it was very messy but looked way more fun!
As the afternoon wore on, W was getting more and more tired, and the kids were just constantly all over him and us – mostly because he has the cool new toys – the basketball and soccer ball, and the fun manman and papa! So we really felt like we all just needed a break and some peace and quiet. The car we drive around in and our driver, stays at the creche every day, they alternate turning it on for an hour or so with the AC running so they can cool off and sleep 🙂 So, Kris had the genius idea to go hop in the car in the AC and get some peace and quiet! It was the most incredible blessing ever! W sat on Kris’ lap and we read “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” (as our translator translated for us), and then the translator left and we ate skittles together and read No, No Jack together – in English – I can’t remember if I wrote about this the other day, but this book is very cute, it is about a Dog named Jack who likes to hide something in a closet every day and each day the family is missing something, and you have to “open” the closet door flap to see what is inside. W LOVES this book, so much that he has already learned to read and memorize the repeated lines in the book: No, No Jack! Take it back! and he points to the words and reads them with a smile each time. He loves learning and is learning so fast! Today we taught him “open” and “close” in English and he teaches us in Creole. I know I have said this before but he also knows all his colors, which made for a great game with doling out skittles! I would say (in English) “What color do you want?” and he would tell me a color in English, then I would hand him one and he would tell me yes or no if I gave him the right one 🙂
We had a great day today, but the best part of it was that today was the first day where W consistently initiated his own physical touch with us. He has shyly reciprocated when we put our hands down to pick him up, or hold out our own hand the past few days, or arms out to give him a hug, but today was the first day he held his hands up for me to pick him up, and would run over to grab my hand and just stand there and hold it. He loves being on Daddy’s shoulders, and spent lots of time up there today. We are so encouraged by his progress with us, and we feel that each day he opens up more and more, and his happiness is genuine.
Tomorrow we hope to get the creche director to set up the internet for us so we can facetime with our kids and W at the same time from the creche! We are praying this will be able to happen, as the realtime connection to them would be fantastic!
We are sitting at the hotel now, ready to watch a movie on Kris’ computer…the channels here on local TV just aren’t cutting it! LOL but while I’m writing this Kris got the language bug and has been annoyed that I speak Haitian Creole better than he does so he’s determined to know more words than mommy tomorrow!! Lol he’s studying!
Laura & Kris