Regular and irregular verbs is my lesson for my English class today. I teach them how to form the regular endings and provide them with a list of irregular ones which just have to be learned. They really enjoy this lesson and they comment on how much this helps them to use the correct tense and to make their English sound more sophisticated. I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to spend time with these remarkable girls. We have mutual admiration for each other and they sing my name over and over.
After the lesson they don’t want to leave and they find any excuse to hang back and talk to the boys, who we teach separately. The previous group split the classes into male and female as it became very clear that both groups had a very different learning focus.
The boys turn up early and are keen to get started. They are bright eyed and eager to learn, quiet and attentive. They are inquisitive and responsive whilst staying respectful and disciplined. I feel a little out of my depth as the older ones can be quite cheeky and naughty. When teaching them kitchen items and utensils, one very cheeky, bright young man raises his hand politely and queries the spelling of ‘fork’.
“I know fork,” he says, “but it is spelt differently.”
“How do you spell it?” I ask innocently.
“It is spelt f-u-c-k,” he confidently replies with a glint in his eye.
Tracy and I giggle and blush and I wave a finger at him, but none of the other students seem to notice or understand – I know I am going to have to keep an eye on this one.
The same boy continues to be naughty. We go through the different rooms in the house and ask the class what you do in each room.
You can imagine what we are thinking when the same boy raised his hand and said “you make love in the bedroom,” I giggle again.
Bev and I make up 90 basic 1st aid kits, using the supplies from the mobile clinic, for the next Woman’s Day. We have noticed many infected cuts which could be prevented by using antiseptic and sticking plaster (something we have oodles of) and we are fed up with donations and supplies staying on the shelves instead of being used for their intended purpose.
Armed with torches, ready for the light to disappear, we gather for dinner which is served between 6pm and 7pm.
“Melissa, Melissa, Melissa” sing Carmel and Vanessa.
These two girls take such good care of us by preparing our food each day. I always ask them about their day and spend time with them whenever I have free time. Some individuals, are not as polite to them as they should be and on a couple of occasions snap orders or complain. As a result, the 2 girls become offended and often pretend that they have no idea what is being said, just to be difficult. I act as a go-between to diffuse the situation and, using simple manners and politeness, get the necessary done. This means that they start to come to me when they have any questions, ask me what time I would like things ready for and basically look after me before the rest of the team. They work so hard and prepare all our meals over an open fire and a large pot in the yard, even when it is pouring with rain. We are not in Haiti to be waited on and I am insistent that if we are able to do something, we should do it ourselves instead of expecting others to do so.
Jake has commented a few times, “Everyone loves you! The children, the girls, the boys and the cook. Nobody even knows my name. Romario wouldn’t know what to do with himself when you are not there to throw him around and play. He can spot you from 2 miles away and adores spending time with you.”
We enjoy this evening meal time together as a unit as it gives us a chance to get to know each other better. Being such a small group, we are very close and protective of our clan. Jake can sometimes be a little slow on the uptake and doesn’t always read situations correctly so, we tease him about this and he plays along, taking the piss out of himself. On one evening, he was paying even less attention than usual and his confusion was becoming increasingly funny to the remainder of the group. Sitting with his head torch on but switched of, someone remarked “the light is on, but no one’s home.” That’s it, he would have to switch his light on in order to understand the banter. From then on, when we wanted him to get up to speed with the evening tete-a-tete, we would simply yell “switch your light on Jake,” which we seemed to find amusing every time.
Another great example of Jake not paying attention was when Tracy, Georgia and I were chatting about something which Jake was desperately trying to understand, I could see him even listening with his eyes ( I think we were talking in French).
His priceless comment was to remain another dinner time favourite for weeks to come:
“What are you saying? It just sounds like rabbit!”