02 October 2011

To the Holy Trees!

Saturday we are early to rise at 4 a.m. As we meet our new friend Orlsy who has offered to take us on a hike up the mountains to the Holy Trees. ( The steep trek up the mountain isn't a simple one after having fueled myself with several cups of coffee to wake up rather than water. Orlsy teases me, “Fatigue?!” “Pas Fatigue!” I reply ) We see the sun rise over mountains beyond mountains. Under the holy trees, women and men of all ages sing beautiful hymns, an enchanting backdrop to the sunrise.

We venture back down the mountain, and have a quick breakfast. As a thank you for bringing the supplies, Orlsy has invited us to the school. Back up the mountain we go, this time not quite so far. The children greet us with song and clap as we enter. They show off their English for us and their knowledge of American geography. A cultural and language exchange takes place: they teach us some Haitian Creole and we teach them some English. When we ask them what they would like to know how to say in English, they tell us, “Please teach us how to say: Can you come back every Saturday?” I am moved to tears and deeply wish I could.

We have brought some T-shirts which they hand paint for us, excellent keepsakes of our time here. We speak to them about how much we have loved Haiti and wish to return very, very soon.

After lunch back at the Alumni House where we are staying, Lina and Brittany get a tour of the pediatric ward. I meet with local artists and give them copies of my father's books on optical illusions. I thought it might be interesting to introduce them to visual illusions, something they may never have seen before. (When I see the artists later that day, they walk with books in hand and I notice that they have bookmarked most of the pages – who knows, next time we return to Haiti, one may see the art has been influenced by such masters of deception as Magrite, Escher or Salvador Dali!)


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