I'm glad you're here.

Welcome to my blog! I'm so excited to share with you! Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your encouragement. It means a lot to me, the other volunteers at Children of the Promise, and especially the dear little ones I get to work with. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

M Pale Kreyol.

I guess prior to coming to Haiti I didn’t consider that within a few weeks I’d be speaking a new language. But sure enough, after spending 6 weeks in Haiti with 4 weeks of Kreyol lessons (about 4-5 days a weeks for roughly 2 hours) I’m doing alright.
It’s been a fun journey. I remember during the first few days I would sit on the floor of the pharmacy with kids from the village that had come for one ailment or another (bandaids and cough syrup if I remember correctly) and ask them repeatedly “koman ou rele sa? “how do you call this?” while pointing to everything in sight. Hey I learned some important words in these crash course sessions, like earring and sneaker. :)

For the first four weeks that I was here, every day at around 10 AM I would meet Renel under the Mango tree and we’d head over to the Pre-Natal Building where we spend the next two hours in front of the chalkboard. He would introduce new vocabulary words and I’d translate sentences. My favorite day was the day he had me translate a sentence about some famous Italian soccer player playing for the Spanish team. I was thrilled to discover that I knew enough Kreyol to translate that sentence correctly but I must admit I’ve yet to have any of those words come up in conversation...I'm still waiting for the day.

Now that my lessons with Renel have come to an end I rely on the nannies and a little book called "Creole Made Easy" to teach me new material. There are a few nannies who really love to help expand my vocabulary. It’s so meaningful for me to be able to talk with them. I love that they can come to me when their blood pressure’s high or their own children have a fever. I love that we can work as a team to keep the kids at COTP stay healthy. I’ve been around long enough now and have proven myself trustworthy enough that they don’t have to go to Maria or Bekah or Jamie to report an illness. They come to me. This is SO crucial with regards to continuity of care. I also love that I know enough Kreyol to joke with them! We laugh A LOT. There’s a little boy that I bring pediasure to 5 or so times a day. I spend a lot of time with this baby. We’re buds. If he happens to start crying before I’ve made it over to the baby house with his bottle, Jullien, a nanny whom I know a little bit better than the others, comes looking for me. She always says the same thing. Amy, zamni ou fache avek ou. Amy your friend is angry with you. I always respond in the same way—pretending I totally forgot about him, AGAIN. We laugh.

Sometimes I have a harder time understanding what someone is trying to tell me. But usually when I’m in my element and asking questions related to a person’s health, family, living situation, symptoms, etc.. I can manage. And I’ve got baby lingo down pat.

Today was pretty rewarding in the language department. I was on a walk with Maria.

Side note: Myself and a few of the other long term staff members often go for speed walks in the afternoons when COTP is “closed.” But… walking for exercise is a foreign concept to the people we meet on the roads. It’s not the walking that gets us so many strange looks. It’s the pace. Haitiens walk on a daily basis. But if someone’s planning to walk to town or to the next village, there’s really no rush. So when we speed past in our exercise attire most don’t hesitate to state the obvious. “Nou mache vid” they exclaim with a big smile. You all walk fast!

On this particular speed walk we turned left at the bridge and headed into the village of Pomgrasia. I recognized a mom that had come to COTP the previous day with her 3 year old daughter. She had a fever of 102.5 and looked sick! I was able to help bring that fever down and send her home with some Tylenol, antibiotics, and pedialtyte. By the time we turned around, the mom had brought her little girl out to the road. She was smiling, giggling, and hugging her mom tightly around the neck. It sure was nice to see that she was feeling better. It was also nice to see how much she loved her mom. But personally it was really nice to be able to follow-up, to physically see the baby again, and to answer some of the mom’s other questions. Simply stated, I was happy to be able to ask the mom, Koman li ye? How is she doing? I hope it showed her that I care.

I feel like I rely pretty heavily on language. I’ve always liked to show people I care about them by asking personal questions. Do your ears feel better after using the ear drops I gave you? Did your brother’s stomach ache go away? Did you have a safe trip to the airport? We all do it. I’m probably stating the obvious but without language, relationships are tricky. And without relationships it’s a little tough to show people I care. With that said, I thank God for helping me learn the basics of Creole as quickly as I did. I sometimes joke that it was because Renel and I prayed before and after EVERY Creole lesson. But hey…I’m a firm believer that God does answer prayer. :) You should try it! ;)


  1. Good going on learning the language, Amy. It sounds so much like French when I read what you write. So good to hear some more of your daily life at COTP.

  2. Your blogs are making me laugh and cry and get all emotional.