In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Best Teachers

I have some of the most wonderful and special children at the main house. Yes, I am biased, but I am also right:
Take Merudjy, for example. She is two. She has a nickname, 'Piman', which means 'pepper' in Kreyol, as in chili pepper. They say little girls are sugar and spice. Well, Piman has a bit more spice in her than most little girls!

One night, several weeks ago, we held a joint birthday party, for Merudjy and for Michno. The older babies were enjoying cake and sprite dowstairs, in the dining room. There were balloons and there was singing, and the party was flowing well, fun and festive, until, for no apparent reason, Merudgy reached over and slapped one of her little guests!

My heart sank. It was her party, but I couldn't let this go. Merudjy was removed from the table, and reprimanded. I made it brief, but I told her she had to say sorry. Back at the party table, Loveson was told that Merudjy would like to give him a hug, to make up for the slap. Merudjy drew close, raised her hand, and, smack!

Time Out!

Two minutes later, the scene was repeated. Loveson was indignant.

Time out, and take three:

Not to be twarted, I restrained Merudjy's hands this time. Seeing the opportunity, Loveson reached across, and made a grab at Merudjy's cake. Merudjy squirmed let out a hoarse cry in protest. 'No, Loveson, don't provoke her,' and there was stiffled laughter from the adult guests.

'Say sorry Merudjy.' Her eyes, though were stony, her lips were tight.

'You are a nice girl. You need to be nice.' Merudjy barely shook her head. Her eyes were piercing. She was not sorry.

Honestly, I wasn't quite sure what to do next. As I considered my next move, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Loveson take a spoonful of cake, and extend it towards Merudjy. A reward for bad behaviour? I am a principled person, yet something told me not to interfere this time. I closed my mouth, and watched the scene unfold. There was absolute silence around the table, as all of the guests watched expectantly.
Merudjy's expression softened. She looked at Loveson, whose eyes were smiling across at her. Merudjy opened her mouth, and allowed her friend to spoon feed her the cake: forgiven without apology.

'Merudjy,' I whispered, 'give him a hug now, darling.' And she did. Grace had broken through her obstinacy, in a way that reprimand, reason and time out had not. Loveson had extended grace, Merudjy, for her part, had accepted it. I had intended to teach these little ones about repentance and reconciliation. Instead, I was the one who had learned the lesson.

Loveson went home to France in October, and later this week, Merudjy and 5 other little ones from the main house, will also leave, in time to spend Christmas with their adoptive families in France.

I will miss them so much. Each and every one, leaves an impression on me, as real as a thumb-print and as utterly unique.


Rochelle said...

this is truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing and allowing myself, as a parent with baby girls at GLA, to see the love these children are receiving while there. Praying and waiting on the Lord.

Brittnei said...

This is such an awesome story with an even better ending with the news that Loveson went home and a couple others will as well. Is ti jerry headed home?

Give them a squeeze for me please. And one for yourself as well. Much love and Merry Christmas