TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
March 31, 2008
On a lazy Sunday afternoon, Léon and I decided to visit a newborn baby and her family. As an after thought, we also decided to stop in to see the boys of the orphanage. Usually our visits are greeted by a scurrying of little feet over the gravel of the front yard, before little bodies pounce into our arms because of our welcomed visit. On this day, that was not the case. All was quiet. The courtyard was empty. Soon we discovered several little guys on their beds, sentenced to this confinement for some misbehavior that had occurred. The caregivers explained the behavior that had prompted the confinement and now Poppy Léon immediately went into “father mode.” All the boys were called into one room. Each boy knelt on the concrete floor and listened to the virtues of being respectful to your elders. Poppy Léon explained that the caregivers do many things for the children, like feeding them, bathing them, clothing them and in return the boys must show respect to them by obeying. A somber group got to their feet and headed outside to play.
Those few moments of soberness quickly gave way to squeals of joy when Poppy Léon discovered that the coconut tree was overflowing with ripe coconuts. A machete was called for. Poppy Léon promptly chopped 20 coconuts from the tree, whacking a slice off each one to expose the coconut milk. 3 caregivers and 17 little boys eagerly tipped the milk into their mouths, down their shirts, and onto the dirt below. The ripples of happiness were everywhere. A pure, simple joy only known to kids in tropical climates! Even the littlest tots were enjoying the sticky, sweet nectar! When all the liquid had been consumed, Poppy Léon again manned the machete to cut each coconut in half, exposing the fresh, rubbery meat. Spoons appeared out of nowhere, as each child carved out pieces of the white flesh! I sat back and just soaked in all of the smiles. A simple treat! A sun-shiny day! A savored moment! Joys this simple occur even in orphanages!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….