By Heather O.
This was my chant today, as we taught a fishing village about sq. foot gardening. It’s been frustrating to visit gardens that are planted in poor sites. The challenge of getting good soil is big enough, but my heart falls when I see gardens that are, say, built under 2 cherry trees (yes, I saw a garden that was painstakingly built under a canopy of cherry trees. I didn’t have the heart to communicate that nothing will ever, ever, ever grow there.)
So as Rony, who just gets cooler and cooler the more I get to know him, translated our lessons, I interjected, “SOLEIL, SOLEIL, SOLEIL!” I was just so tired of having even the most basic concepts ignored or misunderstood. The kids in the crowd giggled and laughed, and it became our joke. We made up a dance, and we hopped and jumped around in circles while chanting “SOLEIL, SOLEIL, SOLEIL!” As this was a fishing village, we were right on the coast, and I ran down the beach with the kids following me, screaming and laughing about soleil. I taught them a song about “Mr. Sun”, and we all laughed as they tried to make the English sounds. Then they looked at us like we were crazy as the other 2 volunteers and I took an impromptu swim in the ocean. It was warm, like bath water, and that crazy blue color you see in pictures. It was the first time I could picture Haiti as a paradise, and when I mentioned that to Rony, he told me that Haiti was once called the pearl of the Caribbean. I can believe it.
There is still much work to do, and a lot of obstacles. For example, yesterday we went to buy 10 buckets to make handwashing stations for orphanages. We told our translators that we wanted to buy 10 buckets, and they laughed at as. Where are we going to get 10 buckets? they asked us. It took us the entire morning to find 10 buckets. Then we spent the afternoon bleaching them. This is how it goes here in Haiti.
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