West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Pran Swen-Take Care

Many times today I used this Kreyol phrase. As the teachers and school staff came to see me one by one, all said “Mesi” or Thank You as they left.  I wanted to say “thank YOU  for taking care of all the children” so I asked JoJo how to say this in Kreyol. “Mesi pou pran swen tout timoun “
So many ways the staff takes care of these 250+ handicapped children. Teaching the blind to read Braille, the deaf to learn sign language, the children with missing or deformed limbs to get an education and learn confidence.  We can always spot the new students because they often don’t know sign language or don’t know how to behave or to take turns.  A particular student named Woodlee was quite difficult to handle two years ago when he first came. Margaret Squire, who lived with her husband Bill Squire at St Vincents for two years, told me then that Woodlee would be fine after living at St Vincents for a while. She was so right! Now Woodlee is much calmer; doesn’t push and shove other children to get his way. Dashnika was the same way when we first met her some 3-4 trips past. She was always mad!  Now she smiles and plays with the other children and doesn’t yell or cry all the time. 

This teaches me that even though this school seems very poor and to American eyes needs better facilities  and better books, supplies and is chronically underfunded, the staff takes loving care of these children. Our teams only visit for one week two times a year. We bring medicine and school books and playtime with our toys and music, but the love in St Vincents is not brought there by the Americans.  We only hope to show the children and staff that their stories are not forgotten, that they bring joy and hope to us and remind us that treasure can be found in a classroom of blind kids singing silly songs. 

Susan Nelson
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