We started our day at church. I love worship time at Coq Chante and the freedom that these people have when they worship. We could all learn from watching them. We also had the privilege to pray with many of the people at the end of the church service. After church instead of cooking food for all the people at church we did a food distribution and were able to provide enough food for each family to eat for many days instead of just one big meal on Sunday.
One of my favorite memories of this trip was a mother's day service that all of the girls had for their mothers on Sunday afternoon. From what I understand they do something like this each year but wanted it to happen while our trip was there this year. Like many things that happen in Haiti we were not prepared for it so Greg and Kevin spent the morning in Jacmel shopping for the mothers' presents while the rest of us were at church. Many of you may not know but all of the girls except Merline have a mother that is still living. Each of these mothers have made a tremendous sacrifice in letting their girls go live at the orphanage so they can have an education, daily meals and a chance at a better life. We will be forever grateful for the sacrifices that Odette's family has made for her. As the mothers arrived they came upstairs to where the girls rooms are and the mothers of the older girls (around Odette's age and up) had their hair done by their daughters. It was a very sweet time and I enjoyed my time watching them. For a long time I sat in Odette's room with her and her mom as she fixed her hair and listened to them talk to each other. This is the sweetest connection time I have witnessed the two of them have. I video taped them talking to each other. I have no idea what they are saying (they could be talking about the weather) but I think it will be something special for Odette to have as she grows up.
Like everything this week the Mother's Day program was hurry up and wait. What was supposed to start at 2:30 finally started around 4:00 as the last of the mothers came in. I was so happy to see that all of the mothers came to see their little girls. The program began with each of the daughters getting up and either reciting a poem or singing a song for their mother. It was very sweet and you could tell that a lot of time was put into learning their poem and songs. Even Atanie who is 4 learned something to recite for her mom. After that all of daughters presented a gift to their moms which was a set of glasses. For most of these families it is probably one of the nicest things that they now own. After giving out gifts the girls presented a sweet gift to Madame Gaspard who takes care of them and the room erupted in clapping. Those moms in the room were clapping as hard as they could and many were crying and you could feel the appreciation that they have for her and what she means in the lives of not only their girls but in their families lives too. Eddy also had each of the mothers that are adopting (and Al as a fill-in for Sheri since she was not there) come to the front to be recognized.
The whole ceremony was such a sweet time for me. Each year at Fountain City the kindergarten does a Mother's Day Tea where all of the children dress-up and invite the moms to come to tea where they say a little poem when you walk to the door, they serve you your plate, bring you gifts they have made over the last few weeks and sing a special song lead by their music teacher Mrs. Beeler. It is one of my sweetest memories kindergarten memories in Ms. Gibson's class of Taylor and now this year of Molly & Abby but I remember being a little sad this year at the tea thinking about how I missed this with Odette. But the Mother's Day program in Haiti that Sunday was my Mother's Day Tea with Odette. Although it was for Odette's mom, Marie Claire, I felt blessed to be able to witness it and share in the celebration.
Odette, Marie Claire & me
Odette doing her mom's hair
Christianie doing her mom's hair
Madestine doing her mom's hair
Malange, Valancia & their mom
Christianie, Dieula & their mom
Onise and her mom
Guerline and her mom
Samantha & Saintemene and their mom
Marie Michelle, Islande, Yalanda and their mom
All of the moms on the trip got to pray over our girls' moms