October 1, 2011

Tiny Tiger Walk

Have you ever felt so hot that you aren't quite sure where the heat is coming from? The air, the ground, the people around you? Everything adds to the intensity of it? The type of day where there seems to be steam instead of air? Welcome to Haiti.  Not every day, but often enough and definitely today. To know me is to know that I don't get too hot. (To illustrate, I live in Haiti and sleep with three blankets on my bed - though I'm not always under all three of them). I'd rather be hot than cold. I hate shoes - but wear flip flops as a concession to the social convention of wearing them. I love being in the country, and animals and children make me very happy.

Around here, my favorite time of day is about 5pm. The sun has fallen behind the requisite buildings/tress and the center of our compound is shaded.  The older kids are usually on the "basketball court" listening to music and playing.  If you sit and rock on the front Galri of the Big House, you can hear shouting, laughing, singing - all in Kreyole so you probably wouldn't understand it, but it's the same noises and intonations you hear anywhere children frolic.  Then comes what I (as an Auburn alumnus) like to call the Tiny TigerWalk. As the heat dissipates, little voices are heard. "Kylo!" (Calling Kyle) They come out in a trickle, like a stream one at a time.  The first stops to wait for another.  They clasp hands and begin their nightly ritual of walking down the driveway to the gate and back. Their daily outing.  Holding hands in groups of twos or threes, our nine toddlers exit Kay Kyle and begin to meander their way across the gravel yard to the drive.  Occasionally distracted by interesting things, like rocks and a stray sandal here or there, they gradually make their way to the first gate.  Our driveway begins and ends with gates. For weeks they would always be accompanied by many nannies and  older kids, but by now they are old pros at this, and walk confidently toward their destination.  Kyle or Tabby begin the procession while the other usually brings up the rear. Diane and I often take this opportunity to pull out the jogging strollers and walk three or four babies too. At the end we find ourselves in the midst of the fray on the basketball court as the older kids beckon the youngest of our numbers to come and join them.  One large family having an awesome party!

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