We’ve made it through a whole week here in Haiti. We’ve had some fevers, homesickness, fighting and whining and general angst while getting used to living in a brand new culture, with 50 new people, and sleeping our whole family in one room.
I was worried that my kids would have terrible moments of hunger for familiar foods, and homesickness for friends and family. They have experienced that, but they have also been amazingly willing to make the small sacrifices required to live here for a while and invest in these people.
There are those moments when I really am proud of my kids for being willing to make sacrifices. The bucket showers are shockingly cold. There have been times when the meals are not quite what we expect, or aren’t available when we are hungry.
Sometimes, we wake up starving and wait until after morning prayers to eat, and then there is nothing except bread and peanut butter. We are far away from any stores out here in the mountains! Breakfast is bread, lunch is bread and pasta and potatoes (“pommes de terre” – translated as dirt apples!). Spam is a good little burst of protein! Homemade donuts, fried plantains (“bannam peze”)… carbs carbs carbs. All of a sudden, fruit began to appear yesterday – woo hoo! We always enjoy a big dinner with rice and beans (“diri ak pwa”) and fried chicken or fish!
Today, Luke got into serious trouble for being mean. I really think he is just confused and acting out. There are dozens of kids running up to him and touching him, so he sometimes gets annoyed and overwhelmed. When he was sitting in time out, he told me that he missed his living room with toys. He just blurted out, “I want a living room!” I totally understand how he feels!
It has been a bit of a challenge for the introverts in our family to get used to living at an orphanage with about 50 people. The Haitian children constantly want to play with and talk to our children. The Haitians especially love Olivia and John Paul. We can hear voices say their names over and over, everywhere we walk. The kids are starting to warm up to the people, saying “Bonjour”, “Mesi” for the food, and giving high fives. It makes someone’s day when John Paul is brave enough to wave at them, or give them a fist bump!
Our big kids have been extraordinary. They have been playing with the kids here practically non-stop. They attend morning and evening prayers and Masses, always sitting on a bench surrounded by new friends. We have been teaching kids how to sew, crochet, and draw.
It has been difficult to get accustomed to the slower pace of life and the challenges of learning a language, but we are slowly but surely making relationships and settling into this season of life. Next week, we are scheduled to move into a rental house – that should be interesting and exciting!