Today we got up early to say our last goodbye to Christelle and the school children. The school closes on Friday at noon, and Christelle was going into the city for the weekend. We walked down to the school and lead English lessons for a little while. I worked on teaching the children English words for the body, and words that would be necessary for them during visits to doctors. They picked up the words very quickly, and I was sad when I had to say goodbye to the class. For a treat after the lessons Flora had brought packs of candy buttons, so Christelle cut them apart and passed them out to the children. At first they seemed confused about what the candy was, but once they tried it their faces lit up with smiles. After their snack we made sure that we took a picture with the five school children that the Helping Haiti Club had sponsored. We all gathered around the outside of the school and told everyone to say “cheese” so that we could see their wide smiles. After the picture we all crowded into the classroom of the youngest children and they sang some Creole songs to us. The children were all very excited to sing, and one small boy beat a drumbeat on the desk in perfect time. We danced and sang with them. When we finally took our departure we said goodbye in English, French, and Spanish. It was sad to know that we would not be coming back to the school again on this trip, but we were happy to see that the children had learned a lot from our time there. I could not have imagined a better goodbye.
When we came back from the school we decided to go for a long hike. We drove for about half an hour to get to the start of our walk. During the drive Liesel, Flora, and I stood in the truck bed, holding onto the back of the truck. As we drove we waved to everyone we passed, and had to make sure to duck when we got close to low hanging branches. The final part of the drive was a little scary because the road was quite narrow, and on one side there was a sheer drop-off. One Haitian boy tried to chase down the car for a ride and succeeded in jumping in the back, but John shooed him off. Once we got to the start of our hike we parked the car and started the steep assent up the hill. The hike went along a road, but had beautiful views on all sides. The hike ended in a steep hill that took us up to a peak that looked out over the mountain and valley. Every direction was breathtaking, and we could even see the ocean in the distance. The tiring hike had been well worth it.
When we returned from our hike Janet told us that she had seen us walking along the ridge from the Currely’s house a mile away! After a lunch of avocados, humus, and bread we got prepared for an afternoon of sewing. We cut out a pattern of a bird for some of the younger children to applique. The children were very proud with their birds and a few of them even wanted to make a quilt from their applique. Today we finally had some of the older women finish their large quilts. The quilts were extremely beautiful, and the women were obviously very pleased with their work. A few women still have to finish but they are extremely persistent, and are taking their time. We were excited to see how far they had come, and how much they had improved since our initial visit. We also started work on some quilts with the people out of squares of fabric. They seem to love making this type of quilt because they can see the end product quickly, and the less experienced sewers can take pride in this work. A few of the smaller children were still working on their applique strips, and called me over every few minutes to inspect their work and say “bon”.
After sewing we had made a plan with the villagers to play a soccer game with a special soccer ball that was designed for use in third world countries made out of an indestructible foam. They set up sticks as the goal posts, and gave us a few players to make the teams even. When their team started practicing we were sure that we would be roundly defeated. One man could juggle the ball very well, and had foot skills much more impressive than ours. We started off a little slow, but then Guellor came and joined the game on our side and is an incredible soccer player how scored four goals. Liesel was one of the star players on the team, in the end scoring three goals! Lochard also came along later to join our team, which gave us a much greater advantage. The other team had a handicap because many of them were playing in sandals, and one man’s crocs kept flying off every time he tried to score a goal. At the end of the game the score was seven for us, and three for the opposing team! We could not believe that we had beaten the villagers, because the last time we played them we were overwhelmingly defeated. We all shook hands with each other, and were happy to develop this relationship with the men of the village because we had mostly just interacted with the women through sewing. John then took the soccer ball and explained its significance to the people. He named a “keeper of the ball” from the village, as someone who would be available at all times to play. After our game and long walk we were exhausted and were excited for our dinner of tasty Haitian vegetables.