We wanted to use our next blog to describe what a typical school days looks like for the kids now. The kids wake up every morning at 5:15am and take showers. Right now we have a girl “House Mom” and a boy “House Mom”. They each wake up their room full of kids and begin to help them get ready for school. This includes a shower and putting on their school uniforms. At 6:00 every morning we are encouraging the kids to read their Bibles. Some are taking this very seriously and some are not ready in time to do this. They eat breakfast at 6:15am on school days. Breakfast is usually Corn Flakes with hard boiled eggs, La Bouy (a hot cereal made with flour, sugar, and milk), or spaghetti with hot dogs-a very common Haitian breakfast. After that Lener (one of our wonderful employees) drives the kids to school and Matt and I see them off from the porch. They each get a lunch at school.
The kids get out of school at 1:00pm every day. A driver goes to pick them up. We have two different day time “House Moms” here at that point. One whose focus is on helping the girls and one whose focus is on helping the boys. The ladies help the kids change out of their uniforms so that Giselle our laundry lady can begin to wash them. The kids then eat a snack and a vitamin. They have until 2:00 every afternoon to play. We also have another new Haitian employee, Jeff, who is here during this time. We realized after the first couple of weeks that we were hiring all women and the kids really need a good male role model around. Jeff is here each afternoon basically to just play with the kids and help as needed. At 2:00 tutoring begins. We have three tutors that come from 2-5pm every school day. Typically the kids have a “lesson” they have to memorize before the next school day as well as homework in several subjects. They spend this time memorizing lessons, working on homework, and playing when they are done. We have an indoor area where they play board games (Connect Four is a favorite right now) and an outdoor area where they play soccer and other outdoor games. At 5:00 the kids eat dinner. We have older kids who we call our “Chefs” which is the Creole word for leader. It is their responsibility to put the food out on the tables then wipe off the tables after their meal and sweep under the table. We also have a dish washing schedule with the kids taking turns and 2 kids washing together each night. After dinner everyone goes outside to play. The boys usually get a soccer game going while the girls spend the next hour getting their hair braided for school the next day. It is a rule that girls must come with fresh braids every day. If they do not, they are sent home.
At 6:30 everyone comes in for showers. This takes some time to get everyone through. At 7:15 every evening we do what the kids call “Service” together. This includes singing together, reading the Bible, and praying together. The kids take turns “directing” the service (a highly sought after job). This means they get to choose whether we sing in Creole or English. If it is in Creole we use a Haitian version of a hymnal called the “Chant de Esperance”. If it is in English, they request songs they would like to sing and I put them in powerpoint and make a playlist on the laptop. This is a wonderful way to end each day together. After the service, we go over the kids behavior for the day and give them “behavior points”. Then all of the kids who are 12 and under go to bed. The older kids are allowed to stay up until 9. From 8-8:30 they play games and talk (loudly) and then at 8:30 every night we watch The Cosby Show together. Then Matt and I crash and we get up the next day and start it all over again!