Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Upside-Down Kingdom

Last spring it felt like I had all sorts of opportunities to serve in very direct, tangible ways. It felt like I had plenty of time to teach, grade, still have free time to go volunteer somewhere.

This spring I have not had any free time, so when the school's service project coordinator asked for volunteers to supervise our students while they put on Easter events for some orphans, I jumped at the chance.

Quisqueya makes service hours mandatory for promotion to the next grade, but I have not been lucky enough to work with the students when earning those hours. That changed a week ago Sunday.

Quisqueya students joined kids from other private schools in Haiti to volunteer, and the students ran all of the booths. What booths? These booths.

Face painting... a traditional Easter ritual. Everyone knows the story of the Easter snake right? No? Yeah, me either. The orphans could ask for whatever they wanted to be painted on them and as long as our students knew how to do it, they would oblige. I am guessing that to the boys a snake was cooler than a flower.
None of those however was as weird as this:
I am not totally sure how this happened... but this kid got his face painted like a vampire... Yeah, I don't get it either. I asked the student with the paintbrush repeatedly why he was doing that, but never received a clear answer. This boy, now sporting a totally whited-out face, ran around campus for the rest of the day with painted-on fangs and blood. Happy Easter, the celebration of our resurrected... Dracula?

The orphanage kids then went on to play a bat and ball game with the students. The bats looked like carrots... Yay! Easter! Spring! Baseball!
This game was fun for 2 minutes, then all of the kids began begging for soccer. They turned the small green whiffle balls that had been pitched to them into makeshift soccer balls, then from the bushes they found one of our old soccer balls. It was completely destroyed... it looked like a dog's chew toy. Soccer ruled the field for the rest of the day.

After the face painting of the undead, and the let's-turn-anything-into-a-soccer-game, there was egg dying. This was awesome. There is a scientific ratio for orphan to adults/students when dying eggs. That ration is 2:1. Two adults or students for every one orphan. Anything less is chaos, pandemonium, and will result in glitter-infused pastel dye being thrown around. Once the right ratio was reached, some awesome creations were made.
 The reason I like service projects is because I believe that Christ's kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. Everything is turned on its head. The first are last and the last are first. So to spend a few hours with my upper-class kids and watch them paint faces, dye eggs, and feed lunch to kids from 7 different orphanages was... awesome. My students are served all day. They have drivers, maids, parents, and teachers who serve them all day long. In their world, most of the time, they are first. They need to learn that servanthood is part of the Christian life. However, that is a lesson you learn from experience, not from being told.

It was touching to see the students interacting and bonding with the orphans, especially the more macho or sometimes aloof students- they were the ones jumping right in and painting faces, dying eggs, playing soccer.
 At the end of the day I was exhausted. I remembered why I guard my small amount of free time so viciously- to prevent burnout. But man, what a good use of my time.


1 comment:

  1. that the best Easter vampire I've ever seen



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