Today we got up early to prepare for the youngest school children that Christelle had chosen to sew with us. We decided to make teddy bears with them out of fuzzy brown fabric with colorful buttons for eyes. When the children came down the hill towards us we knew that we were in for a chaotic day. Most of the little girls sat patiently while they worked on their bears. The majority of the children had never sewed before so they needed individual supervision. Some of the little boys also worked hard, but a few of them seemed to be more interested in roughhousing and using partially sewn bears as bean bags. The children’s favorite part of the day was putting stuffing into their bears until the bears almost burst. Once the sewing started to wind down and the children started to lose interest in the bears we decided to bring out a bubble wand. The children had a wonderful time chasing after the bubbles and working as hard as they could to pop them. At the end of the day everyone left with a completed bear and a smile on their face.
After sewing we followed the children down to the schoolhouse for another English lesson. The youngest group was still riled up from the morning’s activities, but we finally settled them down to practice speaking in English. We began by repeating words and then by singing songs such as “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Old McDonald.” Although they had some trouble singing along they had a lot of fun performing the hand motions and noises that went along with the songs. After the English lessons we were invited to teach Spanish to the older children. I really enjoyed using my Spanish skills, and teaching new words in Spanish to the eager learners. They knew some basic Spanish words such as numbers up to ten, but their favorite activity was to sing Spanish songs. They beat a rhythm on the desks with their hands and enthusiastically sang along. I worked on teaching them basic objects, animals, colors, and days of the week. They were fast learners and by the end of the class they could tell me the names of most of the objects that I pointed to in picture books and in drawings that I made on the blackboard.
After lunch we had another session of sewing with the older women. They continued to work on finishing their beautiful quilt tops, while we worked with some of the newcomers on starting small quilts. A few of the women who had been coming regularly to sew had finished their applique strips and started to make baby quilts. We were very impressed with their intricate work, and were confident that they were ready to move on to bigger projects. There were around thirty people who came to sew today, and we also had a lot of smaller children sew as well. We gave the children the option to applique flowers or farm animals. Many of them chose to make pigs! They spent a lot of time sewing on details such as eyes and ribbons, and their pigs all turned out to be adorable.
Once we sent the sewers home it was almost dark so we decided to go on a short walk close to the Currelly’s property. We walked down the steep hill by their house and were able to look out over all of the valley. The sun was setting in the background over dark red mountains covered by a cloak of blue-grey clouds. After our walk we were ready for dinner. We had Haitian vegetables and sweet potatoes straight from the Currelly’s garden. They were delicious and very sweet under a rich bean sauce. We ended our day with Haitian zucchini bread, a sweet dessert filled with cooked vegetables.