Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of St VIncent, which remembers the International Day of the Handicapped. Started the day with worship service at the school, Randy McCloy and Bob Hooper vested and served at the altar with Bishop Duracin and Pere Sadoni. Randy read the gospel in English (that Tennessee accent REALLY STANDS OUT if you’ve been listening to Kreyol and French for the remainder of the service). Bob gave communion to the kids….picture little hands reaching out all at once to receive the host. LIttle pieces of the body of Christ, everybody excited to get some!
During the service, we sat under a large tent which had been temporarily placed in the courtyard for that purpose. Balloons and streamers were tied to the poles of the tent. The balloons are interesting in themselves, since one of them was a halloween balloon with orange pumpkins on black, another was for St Patricks day with green shamrocks. I pointed out one balloon to Keisha because it said “Get your Flu Shot” and had the Walgreens logo on it! (Keisha and Asha both work at Walgreens pharmacy in Memphis.) About every 10 minutes a loud BANG would make me jump, another balloon bursting. Later I asked Bob Hooper (priest from Connecticut) if his preaching is powerful enough to pop balloons.
After church, some of our group had coloring books and sat with the kids. Joan (priest from Connecticut) was sitting with one of the blind children, happily explaining the colors to him so he could choose each different crayon and color with first one, then another.
Only at St Vincent’s would you color pictures with a blind child, and think nothing was unusual.
Later, as we were waiting for our ride to come and take us back to the guest house, I heard the familiar honking of the car horn outside the gate of St Vincent’s. The staff were cleaning up after the party, sweeping ribbons and discarded trash out of the courtyard. Children were running about, some talking with Sherye (signing, actually) and some sitting in Drew’s lap as always.
No one responded to the car honking. I looked about and wondered, “Why doesn’t someone open the gate?” Then it dawned on me. THEY’RE ALL DEAF. I spotted JoJo and asked him to get someone to open the gate, after having a good laugh at myself.