This past Thursday was our kids’ first day of school. It’s our first year here for the start of school and I was excited to go over and see them all off. The three oldest kids get up at 4am to be ready to leave in time. The rest of the kids wake at five. I never wake that early, so I set my alarm for 5:15 and went to bed very early Wednesday evening.
Thursday morning, I woke to find the sun out already. I looked at my clock and realized it was 6:30 and I’d slept through my alarm! I was so upset. I ran around the room getting dressed, telling Jeremy how I’d let the kids down because I’d told them I’d be there. Going on and on, on the verge of tears. Suddenly, I started and found myself in darkness. It had only been a very vivid dream. It was just after five a.m. Oh, the relief of knowing I had not hurt my sweet children by not showing up when promised.
I got up, ate a quick breakfast and headed over. The house was dark, but full of activity. The kids had showered and were working on finishing breakfast and getting dressed. The girls’ hair had all been done the night before and their braids were neatly held in place with white rubberbands, barrettes, and large white bows. I passed out a last minute pair of shoes, and pens and pencils to everyone. Even our littlest schoolgirl, Syndie, happily collected her pencil. Then I pulled out my camera.
I was in the middle of picture taking, when Mama Adline came to me with a problem. Numerous school uniforms weren’t fitting. Uniforms in Haiti are tailor made to each child. Last years’ uniforms fitted so perfectly that when this years’ uniforms came no one thought to try them on ahead of time. As the girls worked to get into their uniforms at 5:30 in the morning, many found they could not. They were either too short of too tight. As we looked at one dress after another, we decided those girls whose uniforms didn’t fit would have to stay home so we could get them fixed as quickly as possible. In America, kids welcome any little chance to stay at home. In Haiti, not being able to go to school is crushing. The girls were so upset to hear they needed to stay home for one more day. Our sweet little Lusenie sobbed as she took her uniform back off. Knowing she would be in school one or two days hence was no consolation.
When we’d weeded out all the girls whose uniforms needed fixing, we all headed downstairs. Before going out front to wait for the bus, Adline asked all the kids to gather in a circle for prayer. They all held hands and she told them which prayer they were to recite. All together they recited the most beautiful prayer. It was a chant of sorts. When that was finished, they launched into a song of prayer, led by Adline. Several other mamas joined in. I knew none of the words, but just stood soaking in the beauty of their voices raised in praise. Then, in a great cacophony of noise, they all worshipped and praised Him in their own words. The prayer time was finished off with a hearty round of “Hallelujah’s!”
Finished with prayer, the girls staying home went back upstairs, while all the uniformed kids headed to the front gate to wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. The three oldest kids leave at 6 am, but the bus for the rest of them is supposed to be at KAD at 7. By 7:20, we were starting to wonder if the bus wasn’t coming. Syndie (Andrise) was getting so impatient she started begging for the food packed for her for later. A worried call to the school director confirmed the bus was indeed coming. Finally, the kids watching from upstairs hollered, “The bus is coming!” With great excitement, the kids donned their backpacks, lined up and quickly filed out and onto the bus. With a couple final waves and big smiles, they headed off to their first day of school looking forward to a wonderful year of learning!
Thank YOU for making this day possible for our precious children. Education is nothing but FREEDOM for them.
Sarah Maurer, Kay Anj Director