If you ever get the chance to visit our kids at La Maison orphanage, this is likely the picture you will see when you are leaving.
After spending a day with the kids, you will have probably learned to say a few simple phrases in Haitian Creole, like, ‘pataje souple’ (share please), “Veni” (come), “Tout bagay byen, pa Kriye” (everything is ok, don’t cry), “Chita la” (sit here). You might be hungry because even though you brought food for yourself you ended up sharing it all. The water you brought for
the day is either gone or very warm. There are multiple layers of dirt, sweat and bug spray on your skin. It’s likely that at some point during your visit, you picked up a child without a diaper who isn’t quite potty trained and suffered the natural consequence of that action.
I am always ready to leave at the end of the day. In fact, I might have even been counting down the minutes until departure time. I’m exhausted, hungry and ready for a shower. As I walk to the car that will take me back to where I’m staying, the kids start coming to the gate to watch me drive away. They are all amazing and full of potential. Did I hold all the little ones enough? Did I teach the big ones enough? There is so little time and so many kids. Then slowly, before I have a chance to back out of the driveway, I begin to feel the pull to return. “Na wé demen”, they say, and I want to run back in and hug them all again. “Na wé demen” I say. (See you tomorrow). And I start counting down the minutes until I can return.