Walking back from Tetkole, the school program I’m serving at, I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Jacque who has been with me all week. A girl had called me a “blanc” or “white person” in Creole. And his response to her was “Are you talking to me?“ So I asked him what he said and talked to him about whether or not it had a negative connotation towards me. Simply said, he told me that it’s just something they call white people, it’s not bad or anything.
But being a “blanc” does attract a lot of attention. Many people come up to me knowing that I’m likely American who has lots of money. It’s hard to tell them that I don’t have money when I really don’t and I have no goudes, or Hatian money. Pastor Rhonda and I have talked a lot about this. What we do at Tetkole and with the other Haitian Timoun Foundation is work with the people of Haiti. We focus on building relationships through grassroots organizations, “To create a future of hope, sustainability, and dignity for the children of Haiti.” That’s the HTF mission statement. We work with the people of Haiti to empower them to develop their natural and human resources. By doing this, we try to avoid first world paternalism by just giving them money and having them depend solely on that. We want to get to know them personally and work with them.
One of the many relationships I made was with this little girl. I saw her on the first day and I’m not sure whether she is a part of Tetkole or a neighbor who passed by. But when I first saw her she was really shy and gave me a look of sort of distrust. But she hung around, and when I started to play a little soccer with some of the kids, she was on my team. She seemed to warm up to me, when we scored we gave each other high fives. After the game was finished, I went to stand on the front porch. A couple of older boys going home from school yelled at me “Blanc!” and I didn’t really think much of it. Then, when I started walking back inside this little girl went running out and told them in Creole, “Silence!“ The fact that in a way she stood up for me meant a lot. And I hope to see her again so that I can learn her name.