Thursday, April 22, 2010

Early Outs & Pity Parties

It is Tuesday morning, and I had thought we were finally getting back into the swing of school. Ha ha, not to be.

Will doesn’t really enjoy school, not that he doesn’t get it, but he just doesn’t want to do it. This morning he kept saying he didn’t feel good, which is usually code for “I don’t want to have school and am going to make it really hard to get it done.” He said his stomach hurt and that he felt like he was running a fever. I took his temperature and it was fine, so I determined he was just trying to get out of doing his work. He said he needed to rest, so I let him lay in my bed (big mistake) because it’s much easier than lying on the bunk.

Jared came home from running morning errands and was with Will, consoling him and trying to cheer him up when I heard it. Splat! Then, wretching. Here we go, I thought. Will had just thrown up on my bed and the tile floor--fortunately tile makes for easy clean-up! And do I ever appreciate our laundress/vomit cleaner upper. As Jared and I cleaned up Will, she cleaned up the mess. So he is getting out of school early today. And since half the population of my class is gone, we let out early. The beauty of homeschool! At this rate we’ll be done right before next year starts.

We have been here almost 10 months now and still don’t have a clue as to what is really going on. If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that we know far less now than we did to start! There are so many cultural things that we do not understand. Of course, we never really will understand it all because we can’t even imagine what it is like to grow up here.

I was having myself a pity party the other day thinking about how hard it is to live here: That we can’t get the things we want when we want them, we can’t order a pizza when I don’t feel like cooking, we can’t buy a gallon of 2% milk when we crave “real” milk, and I have to order from Walmart online, usually waiting for several weeks for things to arrive. I know what you’re thinking, boo hoo, me too. Then I talked to Fransely.

Fransely is a 14-year-old boy who has been with us basically since we got here. He used to wait outside the gate during the hot days of summer hoping Jared would come out to run an errand. For the first month we didn’t have a truck here so everything we did was on foot. That included buying supplies for projects and our house, which then had to be carried back. With a huge grin Fransely was always ready to help. Now, we had come knowing when you needed help it was likely that the one helping you expected to be paid. It was not so with him.

So with a smile to melt your heart and a real desire to help us and get to know us, he widdled his way into our lives. And by doing so, he has made an impression on several visitors as well. Over time we were able to breach the language barrier and began learning about his family and life here in Pignon.

Both his parents are still alive, which might seem like an obvious statement, except that this is Haiti and often children only have one parent living, or worse, neither. His dad has some major pain issues with his back and legs which prevents him from working most days. His mom sells vegetables in the market when their garden provides, and she also breaks rocks into gravel to sell. They obviously have very little yet they manage to put their four boys through school.

Anyway, he said he was hungry. Now usually he and another boy, Roodson, show up right around lunch time each day and we feed them. But for some reason they hadn’t been around that day. Then I asked if he had any food at home, and he said no. I asked when the last time they had food at home was, and he said, “Lendi.” Or Monday. This was Friday afternoon. I suddenly found myself feeling very convicted for my selfishness and self-pity. Here was a family that hadn’t eaten for four days, and I was annoyed because I couldn’t get a pair of capris fast enough. There was a quick fix for that day’s problem, rice and beans and some oil to cook it with. But, how long can that possibly last?

Since we visited his family’s home last fall, we have been praying for a way to get a new house built for them. Right now it is a 16’ X 15’ stick and mud house with three small rooms, one bed and a table, if I remember right. Fransely told us several months ago that a small mudslide had damaged the wall of the room he and his brothers sleep in. And as you may have guessed, they sleep on the floor. This week our prayers were answered and a generous donor has provided the funds for the project. PTL! I didn’t think Fransely’s smile could get any bigger, but it did.

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