(Editor's Note: Tonight's entry is brought to you by Jessica Edwards '15. Jessica also had to put up with technological maladies in order to get this entry to you as the editor's computer has decided to take ill-timed breaks with the working world. He thanks Jessica for her understanding and depth of thought despite the situation.)
Here in Haiti, it’s not uncommon to see kids and SSSAS camp counselors as canvases for artistic masterpieces; while the students at St. Paul’s and St. Mark’s used paint yesterday to decorate a few of us, today their mediums were stickers and glitter. Besides for decorating their favorite counselors, the kids put the glitter and stickers to good use. We used animal stickers to teach them how to say “les animaux en anglais” and more craft materials so they could decorate their print-out group pictures that we took yesterday. While arts and crafts activities are always exciting parts of the day, our third camp day was one filled with learning, creativity, fun, and laughter from everyone, and it makes me sad to think that tomorrow will be our last camp day.
After breakfast, during which the boys shared how they broke the bed the night before (Note: it is fixed now!), we headed to the Seminary and arrived to see the same 140 smiling faces. Jenn and I prepared for our English lesson in “l’equipe vert” (the green team) by gathering worksheets, whiteboards, and paper. After a series of teaching animals through pictures and several “Kijan you di sa … en creole? Et en anglais?” (“How do you say… in Creole? And in English?”) utterings; matching animal stickers to a worksheet; singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, “The Hokey Pokey”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”; reading Dr. Seuss’ tongue twisters in “Fox in Socks”, and playing a rousing game of “Duck, Duck Goose”, everyone was ready for some free time before lunch.
While I was surrounded by five girls who asked me to join their energetic dance circle, others chose to “jouer au football”, jumprope, throw frisbees, play tag, or look at “la belle mer”. After we left the circle, the same group of girls made me promise to them that I would swim - or bathe as I translated it - in the water tomorrow. You might imagine my confusion as we hadn’t swum in the water with the kids all week, but I answered them with a maybe to later find out at dinner that we would also swim tomorrow after lunch like we did after camp on Tuesday. The rest of the free time was left to finding kids to entertain. Margaret and I used it to swing and carry one of the cutest and youngest little girls whom the kids call “Bebe”, thumb wrestle some of the boys, and get our hair braided.
A lunch consisting mainly of rice and beans (just like my mama’s house) prepared us all for the active arts and crafts session. Music varying from country to R&B to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack filled the seminary as kids floated in between stations like picture frame decorating, bracelet making, dancing, and sports. Through making bracelets for the kids, using my basic Creole vocabulary mixed with French to converse with the students in a language I call Freole (also known as Crench), and receiving artwork written in French that says “Je t’aime” (I love you) and “Je ne t’oublierai pas” (I will not forget you) from some of the girls, I am contiously discovering more about each child and receiving more love and compassion from them everyday.
At the end of the camp day, I stood with the group of students while being gripped by three girls. In just three days, I already felt a part of the St. Paul’s community, so the fact that we have only one more day with them resonated with me as we said our final goodbyes for the day before heading to the school to unload and set up some the donated laptops. Right now, I will make the most of our last day of SSSAS SummerTimes: Haiti Edition, which I already know will consist of lots of laugher, love, and “lavage dans la mer” (washing in the ocean).