Posted by: Cathy | June 30, 2012

Learning to live with less, and to do for others…

I’d often wondered how Delmace would react to Haiti after being in the United States for the past 2 1/2 years… He has seen my pictures, and the photos of friends who live down here. He knows that there are still many buildings in and around Port-au-Prince that are still piles of rubble – casualties of the 2010 earthquake, and he knows (in theory) that things are “different” in Haiti than in the US. But I wasn’t really sure how he would react to being here – and not being in the US…

Typical homes in Haiti, across the street from Wings of Hope…

His initial ride through the streets of PAP after getting picked up at the airport, was a never ending series of questions – “Why are there no seat belts in Haiti?”, “Why do the cars drive wherever they want?”, “Why does everyone walk in the streets?”, “Why are there no sidewalks?”, “Why is trash all over the place?”, “Why, why, why???”

After arriving at Wings, I think he was a bit overwhelmed. He remembers many of the kids and young adults who live here – in pictures, but I don’t think he really remembered the significant disabilities that many of them have – and that kind of scared him.  But over the past few days, he has spent more & more time with the other kids – and is enjoying playing with them.  He and his old pal, Josephine, were giggling and carrying on a great imaginative game with an old toy cellphone the other evening – and the 2 of them had a blast sitting (and singing) together in the back of the van on the way back from the beach. But he’s asked me, “Why don’t the kids here have a lot of toys?”, “How come they don’t have a big TV and DVD player?” – stuff he takes for granted…

Delmace and his buddy, Josephine giggling and playing together

Delmace is now so used to the materialistic lifestyles we are able to live in the US, that I worried that, even though he was born in Haiti and spent his first 3 1/2 years there, it would be hard for him to adjust. He was a little surprised when we were packing and I gave him a lunchbox sized container and told him to pack the toys he wanted to take… When we go to visit his grandparents in CT (for just the weekend), he gets a much larger bag to pack toys in – but he didn’t complain… When he was finished, he did ask about stuffed animals & how he was supposed to fit any in that small bag – so we agreed on 2 favorites (from his many), and again, he seemed OK with this. He then helped me pack a large duffle bag full of all the toys and presents he had picked out for the kids at Wings with all of his birthday money. I was proud of him for wanting to bring toys to give away, and I’ve enjoyed watching him pass things out – not all at once, but a little at a time, trying to make the toy supply last.

The other day, he went with me & several of the Wings staff to visit a neighboring orphanage and do an activity period with the kids there.  We played with a giant parachute, did Play Doh, coloring, and bubbles.  His initial reaction, after just a few minutes, was “Are we done yet? Can we go now?” I explained to him that the kids in this home have even less than the kids at Wings – and that they really looked forward to this time, and playing with these few simple toys. I told him if he didn’t want to help, he could sit in a chair and watch – which he did initially… But pretty soon, he came over to where I was, with some of the really little kids, and started to help out.  He especially enjoyed playing a game rolling a ball back & forth for a little guy who couldn’t have been more that 2.

Delmace and baby Bradley playing ball at the other orphanage

He’s getting there.  He’s learning, in a very real way, that it’s not all about him… Today, we went down to Port-au-Prince to buy ice cream for all the kids at Wings.  Delmace loves ice cream, but when we got back, and started to set-up for an ice cream party, instead of asking when he could have some, he asked if he could help.  He got his ice cream – after putting sprinkles on other kids’ portions first.

Delmace helping to serve ice cream with Katja

Tomorrow, we are going to pick up his best friend, Dad – and bring him back to Wings with us for a few days… Delmace has been saying for months that he wants to go play at Dad’s house when he goes to Haiti.  We won’t be doing that tomorrow, as we have other adventures planned for the day – but I will make sure he gets the chance to visit Dad’s house at some point during this trip…  I’m hoping that it won’t matter to him that it’s a small house (similar to the picture near the beginning of this post).  I’m hoping that all that will matter to Delmace is that his friend lives there – because that’s all that should matter.

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