Haiti 2015 - Day 8 (28th)

This was to be our last day with the youngsters in Delmas. We'd grown very fond of them and had come to recognise and appreciate their different personalities. Our teens had become more and more confident as the week went on in terms of their interactions with the children and their willingness to not let the language barrier become a problem. It was clear that we had made a connection with these youngsters, as was shown by the warmth of the thanks that they and their parents expressed to us at the end of our time together.
After one last YMCA, we began our final day by demonstrating to them how to play Dodgeball and then getting them to join in with us. Turns out that they already knew a variation of the game. Bro. Jacques in particular took a malicious pleasure in repeatedly finding his targets with unerring accuracy.

After Dodgeball, our teens began to prepare our final set of arts and crafts activities: bracelets, cut-out hearts to decorate for their parents (which rather touchingly some chose to give to us) and after lunch 2 large hand print banners, one to leave for the school as a memento of our stay, and one for us to take with us.

Bro. Francis managed to get more ink on his fingers than on the paper.

While Team Win teens were starting the bracelet activity Bro. Jacques and myself took the most fervent footballers for one last game of football, the 2 of us joining in once it had got a bit one-sided... no stamina these teens!

Once the banners had been completed and the footballers had had a chance to make bracelets and hearts we packed up and headed for the school chapel where we had attended Sunday Mass. The School Chaplain celebrated Mass for our group and some of their parents. Aaron + I once again provided musical accompaniment, this time for My Lighthouse, Happy Song, the echo Lamb of God (Matt Maher) and Lord I Lift Your Name On High, the latter complete with actions.

Both My Lighthouse and Happy Song had been on our Team Win playlist of songs that we had playing in the background during many of our activities, so the youngsters were famliar with both and were able to join in on at least the choruses (especially the Happy Song "Yee ha!" which became one of the refrains of the trip thereafter.

Aaron and his delightful groupies who sat with him during the whole Mass, occasionally plonking a note or two, quite often in the right key!

After Mass it was time for one last tea-time snack together, distrubution of football tops donated by pupils in Liverpool and farewell speeches, including a most touching speech written and delivered by one of the 5 girls that ended up participating in the camp (it was initially just for boys as the Brothers' school where we were based is all boys, but word got around the families and friends of those boys and by the second day a few girls had appeared)...
... followed by one final singsong. Once again, young Gabriel/"Messi"/"Staff" was at the heart of things, proudly wearing his Liverpool FC shirt, asking for the guitar and taking centre stage, strumming away random combinations of strings that bore absolutely no relation to the key we were singing in, but it didn't matter. He was having fun and we were having fun with him and that's what our week at Delmas was about: smiles, laughter, joy, energy, fun and friendship. As they say in French, "Que de souvenirs!" ("What happy memories!").

(photo by young Olivier)

One last shout of "Cheerleader!" for the photo call and it was time to say goodbye and for us to move on to Jacmel on Haiti's south coast the following day, beginning the second part of our Haitian adventure which would involve visiting Brothers' communities and schools in Jacmel, La Vallée and Les Cayes.

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