I would be lying if I did not admit that I was pretty apprehensive about my return to Haiti. I was shocked by how easily I adjusted to life in the U.S. – the abundance of anything I could need or want, the ease of communication, the return to my normal. That being said, I was almost immediately put at ease again when I entered the airport. While waiting for my ride back to the school, a taxi driver struck up a conversation with me in Creole and I managed to keep up! He even complimented me on how much Creole I knew. I am by no means good at Creole, nor do I know a lot, but it was affirming to hear praise from someone other than the people who are helping me learn day in and day out.
Upon my return to St. Vincent’s, I was met with lots and lots of smiles, hugs, and kisses. I even met and befriended a new resident – deaf, 16 year old Richardson. He and I communicated in English and Creole via a dry erase board. I managed to further solidify my popularity by bringing gifts of Oreos, soccer balls with bells, and dozens of fidget spinners (all generously donated by friends at home in the U.S.). One of the students in my kindergarten classroom noticed that I did not have my daily snack of a banana and told me that he would buy one for me.
I was tasked with interviewing students to help promote our Tuition Gap Fund with short biographies about the students. This, in and of itself, was daunting because of the language barrier, but I found that I could ask questions and understand their answers surprisingly well. I thought it would be difficult to find students willing to talk to me but I was sorely mistaken. I quickly gathered a herd of students who followed me around all morning demanding that I talk with them. I would like to leave you all with just a few answers as to why they love St. Vincent’s.
- “It is helping me learn good life skills.”
- “I always have fun going to school.”
- “I have lots of friends here with whom I can easily communicate.”
- “It is a special place where teachers, children, and teenagers all interact.”
- “I like playing and working with the other handicapped children and seeing the progress they make.”
- “It is a school that helps children who need help.”
- “It is my home.”