"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pass the bread (and rice), please.

After 3 grueling days at clinics, Andre drove us into the city of Port au Prince.
In a most dangerous slum area sits a school run by a church from the U.S.
The schoolyard has no grass nor playground equipment, but the children are safely enclosed and have fun playing a pick-up game of soccer with an old plastic bottle for the ball.
The classrooms are walls of white plastic attached to a basic frame with assorted chairs and a blackboard inside. All Haitian school children wear uniforms.
And they all love to pose for a camera.

Are these not the most handsome young men?

Lunches are provided daily by an organization called "Pass the Bread".
We spent time there meeting the children, performing the puppet show and helping pass out the dishes of rice, beans and a fish broth.
We also tied shoelaces and hair ribbons, laughed with the little ones and received great hugs.

The older students ate first, then the metal pans and assorted spoons were rinsed in a pan of cold water so the younger ones could use them.
Few tables existed and these very young children did a great job of balancing their hot, metal dishes on their laps. (I could just put this little fellow in my back pocket and bring him home.)

I followed suit of the teachers and took leftover dishes that still had food in them and went around offering bites to all who opened their little mouths widely, rather like baby birds. I used one common spoon for this task (horrors!!)

Children are still children, hungry or not, and several, like this little girl, picked out the pieces of onions and threw them on the dirt floor when no one was looking.
We got a little chuckle out of this.

But, as far as the food chain goes, this particular goat hung around the schoolyard just waiting for those discarded onions. Reminded me of Mary who had a little la-- goat??


Back at the house, 2 days each week, during the teams' lunch break, an organized rice distribution program is carried out. People line up in the hot sun with empty bags and buckets and are permitted in a few at a time to be checked off on the list and be given their required amount. The measurement is a large, commercial-grade tin can. Heavy when filled with rice at the bottom of the bag, I may add. I wish I could tell you how many pounds we gave out over one hour. Well over 500 lbs, I am sure. Maybe closer to 1,000 lbs.
It was very hot that day. The program ran so smoothly.

When I first took my turn scooping rice, several people glanced at me and went on to the next station. Hillary explained that my cans were not overflowing and they wanted all they were entitled to. I scooped deeper and then put handfuls on top of my can from then on--!

The table of clothes were ones we had brought to donate.
The table emptied as fast as the rice bags.

This is one of my favorite pictures.
These three young boys came with plastic tubs to fill with the family's rice.
The one tub had a thin wire handle and the others had none.
Once full, the older one balanced his tub on his head as you can see.
But the best part--he reached out with a hand to support the one on his younger brother's head.
I have no idea how far they had to walk, but I am sure home was not close by.
And never a hint of complaint by these boys.

No comments:

Post a Comment