miércoles, 26 de junio de 2013

An Especially Eventful Week - Part 3 of 4

Good news to announce before getting back to the story. We were unsure as to whether or not Elisenia was HIV positive or negative. Her test came out positive previously. But we were told that it was not certain since she was younger than two. This test measures the presence of HIV antibodies, not the actually presence of the virus. (Just found this link that has a little more info.) If the mother was positive, she can pass the antibodies to the baby without passing the virus. Lo and behold, this is what happened as her 2.5 year old test came out negative! Praise God! I have been putting out the word for potential adopters and have made some contacts but still no one is seriously planning on adopting her. So CONANI, the child services agency of the government, has told me to allow them to place her in an orphanage in Jarabacoa. I asked if her sister Alexandra, 10 years old, can go as well. They said yes. I plan on visiting with Alexandra's godmother and Elisenia's father's cousin sometime soon.

Other news, we went and invited Enelbi back into the house. He was on sanction ever since September, but he is back, and we are all happy to have him... even if he does have a strong case of ADHD. :) Now, back to the story.

I had heard that he (Wildolf) had a stealing problem and he just seemed like a sketchy character. He also didn’t seem very humble. I didn’t ever want him around and always treated him a way to let him know that he’s not welcome. It is important to understand how close living quarters are here. Houses are quite small and close together and neighbors are everywhere. Haitians in general are known for grouping. So I learned long ago how to welcome and not welcome people. However, in the months leading up to this incident, I started to trust him a little bit. 

I did not know much about him or his family, but knew that he had family of some sort around whom I thought he lived with. He started coming to the door, asking me to hold money for him. He was working.. I think painting, and trying to save up. So this made me happy and I was glad to do that for him. Then he just started doing favors. If he saw I was getting a bucket of water out of the cistern, he took the bucket and got it for me. If he saw I was pulling chairs and placing them outside for a teacher meeting, he said, “Why didn’t you ask me to help you?” and began helping.

One Sunday morning Junior begged me to allow them to open the Centro de Juegos and I stood my ground, saying we would open at 1pm so we could go to church or do church at home. Sometimes we go to a church but when we don’t, we do church at home. The boys also have Bible class once a week in school. This morning we put the chairs in a circle outside under the cherry tree and did church. A neighbor who was waiting for the Centro de Juegos to open, nagging Junior as to when it would be opened and causing him to nag me, sat with us. I liked that. He wasn’t going to go to church himself. He was chomping at the bit to play Nintendo. But before he could play Nintendo, he had a little fellowship and heard a little of the Word. Wildolf also sat on a rock nearby the circle. We start by praying and then share praises from the week. Each person is asked what God did for them that week. We end by asking for prayer requests. Each person is asked what they would like God to do for them. I included Wildolf in on this and he asked God to give him work. I thought at this point that we could allow him to take a few shifts in the business, but as he is not a member of the program, made a decision to bring it up at our next meeting to ask others what they thought. But I found him to be more humble and felt for him, although my heart was still hard because I know that that helping him would be complicated and there are limits.

The next week, Ilayas, Jennylove, Maraya, Junior and I walked over to the land that Project Esperanza purchased for the future boys’ home and school. We ran into Wildolf along the way. He told me that he was looking to change 1,000 pesos so he could buy a gallon of water for Cesar. Cesar is the man who sold us the land. He lives on a plot right next to it. He said that he couldn’t find anyone to change the money. What should he do? I didn’t know his relationship with Cesar and was confused as to how Cesar was sending him. I just said, umm.. look around to see if you can change it but if not, tell him you can’t find change. But really, he would’ve found change if he had kept looking. But again, I didn’t know their relationship and how much service he owed Cesar.

We continued to the land and did not see him anymore. As we passed Cesar’s house which is right next to the land, he was with Cesar on his porch. We said hi, said that we came to pick mangos, talked a bit about how they are still too green, and then went on our way. Wildolf walked up with us and sat on a stump. Junior ran off to the baseball field nearby and watched a game. Maraya cried over her hand that had been scratched in a recent fall. She soon calmed down. Then Wildolf started talking to me. He started talking about how much he suffers. How he struggles to feed himself, he sleeps in a different house every night, etc. He said, “Maybe I suffer like this because I don’t have a mom.” He then told me about his life, how his grandmother raised him, his father abandoned them. His mother left them with his grandmother to go to the Dominican Republic. She ended up passing away in the Dominican Republic. I should’ve said, “Probably the problem is more so that your father abandoned your family and he andd your mother did not stay together. But probably also your father was unskilled, uneducated, and had no economic opportunity, and having lots of kids looking to him for food was a stress that he didn’t know how to handle or chose not to suffer through.” Anyway, he said that he has three sisters in the area and let me know who one of them is, as I had met her but did not realize she was his sister. He said that he was not currently able to live with them because of arguments that they had and that they didn’t really want him around, etc. I could’ve said that point also, “So humble yourself and work out your problems with them. Don’t come asking me for help,” but I know that young Haitian women in the Dominican Republic have as little opportunity as young men and the opportunity that they most have access to I like to highly discourage. He went on to say that he doesn’t know why God created him.

To this I did reply. I said, “God isn’t the cause of your suffering. The problem is with Haiti, no work, etc. This is something that Satan has created, not God.” I was glad to have memorized, with the boys, years ago, a verse in Creole:

Tout pi bel kado, tout pi bon fave nou resevwa…  (James 1:7

He agreed strongly saying, “It’s true. It’s true.”

He told me that Cesar always asks him to haul buckets of water for him and never gives him anything. Sometimes he gives him food. I told him that I had thought of talking with the other boys about giving him a few shifts in the Centro de Juegos. I didn’t want to mention it to him without talking to them first, but felt very much like I had to let him know that I was thinking of him in some way. He said that he had another problem which was that he didn’t know how to read or write. This would be a problem since he would have to record the times that people start playing, stop playing, and the money they pay. He had never gone to school. I asked him why he didn’t go to adult night school at the public school. He didn’t realize that they had the very most basic classes for adults, but thought they only had higher level. I told him that I would help him register in the fall and he agreed.

He then went on to ask me to loan him 3,000 pesos (about $80 US) to “saca” a motorcycle to do moto taxi work. Agencies here will allow you to put a 2,000 peso down payment and then pay daily for a year to pay off the motorcycle. Many, many men who are uneducated do moto taxi work. Willy has done it on two different occasions now. The first time he was not very disciplined with it and ended up giving back the motorcycle, but this second time, he has done very well and has done six months so far I think. I strongly objected because it is very dangerous but he just didn’t want to sit around anymore. He did this before the Centro de Juegos had started. However, I am highly determined to not let other boys do this in the future. And a big part of doing that is making sure they have other work opportunities.

I told him “No, no, no”. It’s a big responsibility. He doesn’t even have a house, he says. I just kept saying no. He kept trying to change my mind. He kept repeating how much he suffers and how he doesn’t know why God made him. I eventually left, telling him I would think about it, just to get him to stop talking about it. I should’ve just said I didn’t have any money, but the truth is that I did, and I have been bad about lying about that in the past, and now am determined to be strong there and lie.. lie for good and protective reasons. 

We walked home. Let me just say how tough I used to be. I used to be extremely blunt and sharp tongued. But people let me know that they really, really didn’t like it. I still can be this way when I need to be, but it’s not really fun, especially having little kids with me. But I was that way because, for example, we go outside to play with a ball and several kids come and take it from Ilayas and “exert dominion or control over it”. I am quoting that from law school – that is the tort of trespass to chattels. So in order to get them to go away, I have to speak sharply and tell them blunt things.. because they often don’t listen if you ask nicely. And I was always afraid of people influencing me and trying to convince me to take a different route or do something that I don’t want to do. So I made them get away, like any good mother animal would. Now I have tried to be nicer and friendlier. But as you will soon learn with this incident, I need to be attentive. Friendly yet still attentive and ready to pull out the guns when the time is right. Yes, that is what I need to do.

So Wildolf came to the house again begging for the money. I told him, “No, no, and no.” It wasn’t a good idea. He had already answered my good questions proving to him that it wasn’t a good idea, such as where he will store it. His answers weren’t good, but I think that that doesn’t matter to the person giving the answers. They have already convinced themselves that the answers are good so convincing them that they aren’t is a whole other time wasting, energy wasting debate, and I really don’t have a lot of time or energy these days. So he started in again on how much he suffers and how he doesn’t know why God made him. I just wanted him to go away and knew I had the money in my safe in the other room so I said okay. Mistake. I didn’t tell Jireste about this because Jireste had been trying to convince me that a good business venture would be for us to saca a moto and then allow someone else to taxi on it every day. That person would pay the daily fee to the company, give us a small amount, and then take the rest for himself. He knew that it would work. I didn’t, and again, I don’t like motorcycles, although I still go around on them most days and pray for my life the whole time. I got into an accident on one a few months back and vowed to not go on one again but without a vehicle, there is really no other choice since private taxis are expensive and we are far from public guagua or carrito route.   

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