Friday, April 5, 2013

waffles babies and tap taps

The past few weeks since the last time I blogged have been crazy. I could blog pages and pages of things- like the time our car got 2 flat tires at once, spending a week with 4 Belgians at the orphanage, the realities of losing power every 5 minutes for the past 3 weeks, or the adventures of traveling to and from Petionville on a taptap with friends. But that would be a book. So here are a few of the significant moments and highlights:

1. I attended my first Haitian funeral, which was quite an interesting experience for many different reasons. A few weeks ago, Kathia, a mom to over 70 street children at a nearby orphanage passed away unexpectedly. I was only able to interact with her a few times, but she was one of the greatest people that I have met since I’ve been here. Haitians express their emotions very differently than Americans, and at funerals there are always several people who, in their grief, start “alligator-death-rolling” around the room, wailing at the top of their lungs, to the point where they have to be carried out of the service. So, while I’m holding a grieving little girl on my lap, folding chairs are flying at us and everyone is jumping out of the way, while a man continues to sing his hymn loud and clear. And while I think it’s rude and disrespectful to the close family and friends of the deceased, I guess these people just really need to express their grief and shock. A few family feuds broke out after the service, and then thankfully it was time to go. All of this happened before 9am on a Saturday morning. 

2. This week, I finished the last of 106 developmental assessments. As a child and family development major, I have taken lots of classes on stages of child development, family dynamics, parenting, etc. So, part of my internship since it’s for Georgia Southern has been to work one on one with each child, see if they are meeting basic milestones physically, mentally, language, and social/emotional. After I do this, I write about different ways to encourage the kids development in areas that they are behind in. This requires knowing each of the kids personalities, strengths, weaknesses, talking to other staff in detail about the kids, and spending lots of time with them. It’s taken me over 3 months, and I can finally say that I’m done! This info is sent to adoptive families or people who are matching kids with families, to hopefully get the best match for the child. I’m so thankful that I was able to get this done already, so now I can do what I’ve been doing here, without having to type up reports for it! When adoptive parents come to visit their kids, I get to sit down with them and talk about things I notice in their child, and ways to best transition them, based on their individual temperament and development. It’s been so neat to meet some of these parents and see how they interact with their kids, and talk with them through this process. 

3. Part of what I do every day is physical therapy exercises with a few babies. A pediatric physical therapist came to Maison a few months ago, and was able to show me things that I can do with a few babies every day to get them caught up to where they need to be. Baby V would scoot on her tummy but hates putting her feet on the floor. Now, after almost 2 months of exercises, she’s crawling everywhere, kneeling, and will stand for a little while. Baby Rosenerlie couldn’t even sit up on her own, but is now sitting up, rolling over, and scooting on her tummy. These sound like little things, but they are huge for these babies, who otherwise would still be staring at the ceiling. I am so thankful that I’ve been able to be a small part of that, and to witness these baby girls thrive and develop. I swear, I feel like such a mom when a baby gets her first tooth, or when they stand for the first time. The nannies laugh at how excited I get. But I think it’s awesome. 

                    Rosenerlie- 13 pounds of fabulous:

4. This past week, I got to go to Petionville twice. Petionville is about a 20 minute ride up from Port au Prince. It's like a different world there. There are cute shops and tall buildings, and the further you go, the quieter it gets. I had to get my visa renewed, so my friend Donald went with me. When Donald and I were walking around the city, taptap drivers  were yelling at him, telling him that the white people didn't walk, that he had to drive me- "the white people hate to walk!" they said. So I told them that I liked walking, and that was that. We then got approached by a rah rah band, who danced for us so we would give them money. Rah rahs have a history of being a form of voodoo worship. The guy kept insisting that I pay him, so finally I yelled, "I didn't ask you to dance for me, I'm not giving money to Satan!!" and walked away...I think I might have embarrassed Donald just a little bit... So, after he had recovered from his public humiliation of being associated with me, we walked past several street vendors, (of course I had to buy a cute dress) and we saw the rest of the city. It was such a fun day. Today, I got to go back with my roommate Hallie, and friend Kerby. We went on a bearhunt for the most delicious burger and waffle place ever and we finally found it. This waffle was so beautiful that I had to document it- my first strawberries since I've been here. Delish:

view of the mountian overlooking Petionville:

Tomorrow I leave for La Source. This is the village that I’ve gotten to visit for the past 4 years. I’m so thankful that my family and college friends were able to come in January with me, and sad that they won’t be here this time. But I can’t wait to meet up with the new team tomorrow. I know it’s going to be a great week. Spending a week with Pootchy is just what I need for a little break from the city. I'm so thankful for this little guy- who knew that meeting him 4 years ago would turn into all of this. Now, my whole family has met his whole family, my parents sponsor him for school, I'm his godmother, half of my suitcase goes straight to his house when we reach the land, and I'm spending a semester here because of him and what he has meant to me. No, I haven't been able to visit him yet, but it's his culture and his child-like love for Jesus that I fell in love with. He teaches me so much, and I can't express how thankful I am for him- even living in a world so different from mine. So excited to see him next week, and ready to see how the Lord will use this team for his glory. 

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