For the women, we were given the luxury of staying at Bon Sam orphanage all day long. It was the first morning that we didn’t have to be up and ready by 8 a.m. And even though we didn’t sleep in, we all sat around and chatted over our cups of coffee as we soaked in the morning sunshine and the sounds of the kids in school. Oh, yes – in case I forgot to mention, there’s a place for school right in the compound and kids from the community are invited to attend as well. It’s one big area and then they divide into three parts for the three different age categories. They start the morning by lining up at the flagpole, they sing a song (we heard several different songs while we were there), pray and raise the Haitian flag. They then go to their school and continue with the lessons for the day.
A few of us chose to walk to the little store that was close by – we needed to buy a birthday cake because this would be the annual birthday celebration at Bon Sam. Most children do not know their actual date of birth – nor do they know the exact year they were born. So many times, the date of birth on their file is just an estimation. Therefore, Second Chance Haiti chooses to celebrate everyone’s birthday at one time. Even though it’s only a 15-minute walk to the store, we aren’t allowed to walk without our translator and security. I found myself craving junk food I would never eat at home…..Pringle’s. I bought Pringle’s every time we went to the store. I didn’t eat the entire can and would share with everyone…but, still, Pringle’s??? Couldn’t figure that one out unless I just wanted the salt or the reminder of food from home. I also would buy pineapple juice and a small bottle of Perrier and then mix the two; it was very refreshing.
We got back and then decorated for the birthday party. Lots of streamers – party hats – goodie bags with lots of candy – gifts bags with presents – the famous peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – and then we had outdoor activities planned. It was funny because some of the girls had made lots of pb&j sandwiches; however, as we started passing them out, we quickly found out that each child (from the littlest to the oldest) wanted at least TWO sandwiches. So, once again, we were making pb&j as quickly as we could until we had given everyone at least 2….I’m pretty sure several ate three. And then, there was cake! We sang the HB song and then enjoyed cake….even the dogs were given some crumbs. Smiles were all around!
The sidewalk chalk was handed out and everyone found a spot on the concrete block wall to draw and that kept everyone occupied for at least 30 minute. It was a beautiful wall filled with lots of hearts by the time the kids were finished. Then we had soccer happening, whiffle ball being played, and double dutch jump ropes going round and round. I think Summer and D’Anna were at their post for at least an hour. Lots of laughter filling the courtyard as everyone enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. Another group visiting from Georgia stopped by and they joined in playing with the kids and drawing on the wall. It was very heartwarming to just sit there and watch the interactions between the “blancs” from the US and the kids of the orphanage just being present in the moment….playing, laughing, communicating even though we didn’t speak the same language.
It didn’t matter what was happening all around the world – didn’t matter what was happening back in the United States – didn’t matter what was on social media and what was on the nightly news – didn’t matter what was happening in the lives of actors, actresses, music icons, sports icons, and reality TV. What did matter was the love that was being shared between everyone there – the smiles that were lighting up the eyes of every person – the squeals of laughter as the kids enjoyed the adults playing soccer with them, trying to jump rope with them, drawing on the wall with them, pushing the swing for them, throwing the whiffle ball to them, or taking fun selfies with them. That was the most important thing happening in the world at that moment, and I’m sure God was smiling down on Bon Sam that day. You see He holds a special place in His heart for children – He says He knows us before we are even formed in our mother’s womb. When we take the time to love on a child, especially a child without a dad or a mom, we make Him happy and the world is a becomes a brighter place because of those interactions. Those are the moments that will matter when all is said and done….it’s not important to me if I ever meet anyone “famous” because I’ve met the most famous people I ever want to meet and it’s those children at Bon Sam.