Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Craig and I have started spending our mornings up at the orphanage. Our main task at this point is to observe the daily schedule, school, operations, and build relationships with the staff. We also like to help when we can. The orphanage is a two story building. The boys sleep downstairs and their bedrooms are also transformed into the school rooms during the day. The girls sleep upstairs and that is also where the office and kitchen area are as well. While the children are in school downstairs, the women are very busy cleaning all the bedding, mopping the floors, doing the laundry and cooking meals for over 70 children. The children's morning starts very early with breakfast around 6:30 and then school at 7:00. The preschool children start at 8:00. They have two preschool classes and then 6 different classes for 1st-6th grade.
We have been able to start making relationships with the workers there. It is neat because most of them are really anxious to learn English. The kids are starting to not be quite so aware of our presence. Our hope is that we won't be a distraction soon and that we'll just "blend in" as much as possible.
Part way through the morning, the kids have a break from school and all come upstairs for a meal. The women work non stop to feed all 70+ children in about 20-30 minutes. When I came upstairs, this little guy in the picture above was laying on one of the benches where the children eat. His mom, Madame Phillipe, is one of the cooks. He was taking up space for about three children, so I volunteered to hold him :) As soon as the children are done eating, they move back downstairs for more school and the women immediately begin mopping and cleaning the mess from the meal. I was impressed with all they do every day.
We are learning a lot, but we are still finding that language is such a huge barrier. We have a translator, but it seems that he isn't understanding our questions well enough to translate them to Madame Solliette. Then she doesn't understand what he's asking and can't quite anwer the real question we're trying to ask. Then, even when she does give an answer, we only get part of that back because I don't think he knows enough English to really translate what she is trying to say back to us. Long story short - this is a huge prayer request. I really want this to work with our translator, Webster. We are forming a good relationship with him, and Mme Solliette has a trust with him as well which is important in the future as we'll be discussing more financial issues, etc.
When we got back from the orphanage this morning, we sat down with Webster and he gave us a lesson in Creole as we drank some Coke. I'm hoping the more we talk with him, the more he'll understand us and us him.
Here's a picture of Craig helping one of the younger children eat their breakfast this morning.