Where to begin? Well, we were up early and very well fed by the time we left for The Home for the Sick and Dying Children this morning. The hustle and bussel of life here in Haiti was well underway and I have to say that rush hour traffic at its worst on Highway 94 or even down town Minneapolis does not even compare to what traffic is like here..AT ALL!! As a matter of fact, I don't even think their lightest rush hour looks as tame as 94, heading North on a Friday afternoon in the summer! Going the wrong way down a one way street?? No problem, just use your horn..a lot. Oh and note to self..the bigger vehicle always gets the right of way, especially if it's coming at you fast and just as important..invest in good breaks for those quick and unexpected stops. I'm just saying.
We of course arrived safe and sound at The Home for the Sick and Dying Children. Many in our group had not been here before, so I was curious as to what their experience would be like. The responses were as different as the day is long. All were eager to see and interact with the children though.
I seemed to have been watching Joan a lot today and she of course always had a baby in her arms. Joan being the best preschool teacher EVER, would have a baby in her arms as she stood under the shade of a large leafy tree and entice a baby to grab on to the leaves hanging down. I watched as they pulled at the leaves with their little hands, mesmerized by what I am sure was their first experience with such strange shadows created by the branches and leaves in addition to the strange tactile experiences with the small and green leafy textures. It made me smile and I appreciated the fact even more that my son, Ben had her as his preschool teacher.
My daughter Kennedy, had a much different experience today. I think I will have the site of her burned in my memory forever, as she stood alone holding a baby in her arms with tears rolling down her cheeks in the mist of a room full of cribs filled with baby's crying out for their parents. Many stood with their arms stretched out, desperately wanting to be picked up and held again by them. My heart ached to see her with the pain so evident on her face. Sadly, trying to comfort her myself just made it worse for the both of us, as we both by then were crying. Each of us with tears for a different reason. It truly is heart wrenching to watch your child grapple with difficult and unfair life circumstances. I hope seeds have been planted in her today. Like for gratitude. I hope she can appreciate and understand what it is to have gratitude for what she does have or for what she has been given in her life. Not to make her feel guilty, but because I believe to have that, you can turn what you have into enough and you learn that having more does not mean you have it all. In fact, I believe that having gratitude is what brings you happiness in life because you discover its the people in your life not the things that are important.
Jennifer Keller Sirianni