West Tennessee Haiti Partnership


Today is Sunday, or Dimanche in Kreyol.  We will attend services at Holy Trinity Cathedral, in the open pavilion next to the crumbled Cathedral.  Lots of singing in French (and certainly a long sermon in Kreyol, I already warned the group).    Then we will walk to St Vincent’s, eat our usual granola bar/fruit snack/summer sausage lunch, and visit with the children.  Adam is our “activities coordinator”, and plans for us to make prayer beads  with the children, play with balloons and bubbles, make bracelets, color, paint fingernails, and anything else you can imagine with suitcases full of goodies brought by the team and a schoolyard full of kids.  Probably we will have about 50 kids with us today, only the kids who live at the school will be there.  There will be struggling Americans trying to speak Kreyol and some of us learning sign language from Sherye and from the deaf kids.  Not me, I vowed to try to learn only one language at a time!
I look forward to hearing Mackenson play his guitar for us.  Eulah Clarke sent down a jigsaw puzzle of a Bengal tiger, which I gave to Mackenson, along with her sweet note that she wrote.  We read the letter together, first in English and then he translated into Kreyol for me.  He told me in English,  “tell him thank you very much (the pronouns are difficult since Kreyol has only one pronoun for ‘him’ or ‘her’) and he “prayed that God would bless him”. Big smiles all around.  Stephen caught the whole thing on video.  That will be my gift to Eulah when I return to Memphis. 

Today we will also attend a concert at Holy Trinity, performed by the St Vincent’s students.  Clauricianne sold me the tickets on Friday, just like any other high school student coming to your door or calling you on the phone, asking you to “support our school”.  Except that the student has no hands, and her legs stop at the knee.  She walks on leg stumps with partial feet that have enough of a separation where the toes should be, that she can wear flip flops.   The performers will be blind or deaf, or “crippled” as we used to say.  Not your typical concert.  I can’t wait to see it!  So many assumptions about limitations, all smashed in one event.

Andrew and I had a conversation the other day when he was working with me in the clinic.  We saw one of the St Vincent’s teachers, who is blind, and speaks perfect English.  As well as French and Kreyol of course.  Andrew and I observed that we have all our senses and our limbs intact, and we cant do all the things this man can do.  It is a humbling observation.

Susan Nelson

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