Soon after Ted and Lisa first moved here they began helping a teen mom, Sinese, by giving her a job and helping her with her education. She also worked at the guesthouse sometimes and cooked for the feeding program for a while. She became a member of the Hojara family and a good friend of mine as well. Yesterday Lisa and I walked with Sinese to see her house and family. It was about a fifteen minute walk where we saw many crumbled homes and tent cities. Along the way, a guy called out to Sinese, "Can you get me one of those white people?" Not creepy, just inquiring. We crested a hill and arrived to see a beautiful view of more homes, merchants, tap taps, and people. Suddenly we arrived at a tent city. Sinese pointed to one, indicating it was hers. Lisa and I'd forgotten that Sinese was still living in a tent since the earthquake. Seeing that your own friend lives here and is taking care of her three year old daughter, as well as three sisters, all on her own, is very distressing. What might these children be seeing or experiencing while Sinese is gone working during the day? Are they out of harm's way? How hot does it get at night sleeping in a tent? Is the area safe for girls and women? Thankfully, Sinese says that her tent neighbours are all friendly and keep quiet at night. As for the rest, we don't know. We walked a short ways and came upon Sinese's daughter, Jersey, and Sinese's three sisters, Modlin, Modlen, and Finese. Sounds like they are two sets of twins, right? Wrong. We drank some water together, checked out Sinese's intact house that she informed us she was ready to move back into, and chatted with the girls for a bit. Walking back down, we bought hot dogs on the street with some SERIOUS hot sauce and mayonnaise slathered on it, mangos, and more water. Again, "Where can I find me some white people like those?" was asked of Sinese.
Today, Lisa came back from the girls' home with her hair all slicked back in a ponytail. At first I thought nothing of it, but then she explained how much "pomade" (like vaseline) they'd put in it. The closer I looked, the more I continued to laugh. Why don't they like volume in our hair? Why do they like to put braids in my hair even thought it makes me look like a freak, like some Haitian or African wannabe? The girls look gorgeous and amazing, but I, on the other hand.... I love having my hair brushed, but I refuse to let the girls put braids in my hair. As Lisa was walking to the boys home, she passed the Manasseros' son, Kenny. She called down the street to me, "Ask Kenny what he just said." Kenny said, "I said she looks so beautiful!" What is it with the greasy haired look? So when I went over to the girls home this afternoon, I commented on Lisa's hair: "It's so beautiful!" "Isn't it?" they said. Chabine picked up a comb and said she was going to make my hair straight. Translation, in my head: Frizzy and ugly. But hey, at least I'd get my hair brushed.
Also today, a couple of visitors gave our kids more vaccines and Ashley and I helped with the hand holding and chasing down of kids. A pediatrician from the states brought them in but we purposely didn't tell our kids until we arrived with them at the boys' home today. We knew they would be mad. And they were. "All the time you want to give me shots!" "I don't need them, I'm not sick." They eventually all succumbed to our persuasive ways, but some were quite creative in avoiding us. I walked down to the girls home and looked in one bedroom to find Isguerda hiding between two beds. Denite was pretending to cry on another bed. Both girls had put bandaids on their arms and said they'd already had their shots. Soon Adeline popped out of the closet with a bandaid also on her arm and said I wouldn't be taking her. A little more cajoling on my part, followed by whining on theirs, and they were marching off to the boys' home. Three more shots in the next couple of months and they should be done, unless Haiti receives a batch of different vaccines or visitors bring more.