I wish I could paint an accurate picture for you of our day at Darivaje Orphanage. I assure you it won't be accurate, but I'd love to take you there as best I can...
We kick the dirt and linger around the vehicles a little longer than necessary in the mornings, because everyone is (silently) wondering if they're going to get to ride in the back of the small pickup instead of the four-door Pajero. Now, nothing's wrong with the Pajero...but the pickup is an adventure. You have to hold on. You have to sit close. You have to endure the bruises that you'll have at the end of the day on your butt-cheeks because of the way that you've been tossed by the avoidance of potholes. And it's perfect. With it you get the wind, the Caribbean sun abusing your shoulders before the day has even slightly begun, and all the smells both good and bad of the Haitian roads (mostly the latter). And it's perfect.
You sit so close that the sweat drips down the back of your legs and into your shoes almost immediately. And someone starts us off with an old camp song that none of us have heard in years (usually this is Lauren "the-walking-camp-song" Burkhalter), or we talk about Breakfast or how we slept or didn't, or we practice our Creole greetings on the passersby.
We make it a good ways off the main road and down a back one until the trucks can't pass anymore. We can see Darivaje across the corn field directly to our right, but have no clue whose field that is, so we have to walk the extra twenty minutes around. The path is so muddy that the 19 of us (16 team members, 3 translators) along with all of our coolers, bags, and supplies and about 11 community children, balance-walk in a straight line for many, many yards on top of a short concrete lining of the road. It's a pretty great sight, if you ask me. Someone yells, "Look at the tadpoles!" and our entire line almost collapses into the stream we are avoiding. It's best to stay focused. Though with this group, it's hard to stay focused. Easy to laugh, easy to love, hard to stay focused.
We are met by very excited faces and the warm of the Pastor who has already made this our home. He is so, so grateful that we will be doing for them what we do and have done for Bighouse for a year. They were inviting. We all met in the chapel, unloaded, then the kids sang a welcome song for us. Then we sang "This is the Day" for them in english. Then they sang "This is the Day" for us en Kreyol!! Then we all sang it together in our different languages, and I get a glimpse of the banquet. That in our differences, we make up the world that God loves; and therefore, in the moments where our cultures, and foreign vocabularies, and polar-opposite realities collide, we find God in the rarest form. It was surely the day.
After that, we lined the kids up and got their names, ages, heights, weights, and pictures so that we can partner them with their sponsors (of $35 a month) in the states! This money, like at Bighouse, will be filtered through The Global Orphan Project who then takes care of their meals and medical attention. Any extra gifts go toward things like the well that's needed at Darivaje, or the latrines and showers that were built at Bighouse last year.
After all of that, we balloon relayed. It was slightly successful, but shortlived. They really just wanted to chase the balloons around, haha. So we did that too.
Then the team broke for lunch in a side room of the concrete chapel that sits in the middle of a pasture that is lined with distant blue mountains on two sides. It is a lovely place, and those words do no justice. We ate our packed meals, but didn't stop there, as the Pastor's wife and the mamas of the orphanage brought us a fresh Haitian juice and some fruit that they had prepared. It. Was. Delicious. Oh my gosh.
Then it was time for baseball (kind of, as we had to teach it...and by we, I mean Justin). A few hours of that, and then some impressing them with our skills of flipping over kids and jumping on walls (...and by "our," I mean Justin's...). A group got a game of soccer going that seemed to last for hours in the grass, while some just held babies and soaked in, breathed in the awareness of the approaching goodbyes.
We thanked the Pastor for the day, who in turn thanked us for the day...must mean the one responsible is neither;) We said our goodbyes, some temporary, some temporary in a different way...loaded up, and headed back for the guesthouse. It began to sprinkle on the way home, which was refreshing. Our driver, out of much courtesy, pulled under a gas station roof to get us out of the weather. However, the roof was "L" shaped, so most of us were out of the rain, while Michael at the back of the truck was still getting hit in the face. So we told him we were fine with a little water, waved to the many passengers of a huge dump truck who were hiding under a tarp but on top of piles of material, and finished the journey home. Justin, of course, followed behind on the back of Pastor Jean's scooter.
Just made it back, and are taking shower-shifts before dinner. Tomorrow morning we'll be finishing out the July-only-team's last day at Bighouse, coming back to the guesthouse for lunch, then heading to Rainbow Beach for the afternoon and supper. None of us have ever been to this beach before, but we hear it's amazing. Looking forward to the day:)!
With banquets and sweet little faces and beaches on the mind,
Bon Nuit from Les Cayes:)