I hope this letter finds you all well and getting ready for another Christmas season. It’s a sunny Sunday here at St. Helene –it is very hot but indoors it is very chilly. We had a nice mass here this morning and now for the most part everyone is having a lazy Sunday. As I write this the “kids” are finishing up their lunch which is really their dinner, as we have the main meal at lunch time. Each one has a big plate filled with rice and beans, fried plantains (cooked bananas), beetroot, and a spicy cabbage and carrot mix. And of course a piece of chicken. You would be amazed and delighted to see the amount of food they can eat!! They have HUGE appetites which is wonderful.
As I am writing, Belizaire is screaming his head off–he was hassling Yvonne and Innocent. For sure he did this to get my attention. Belizaire is with us since he was 5 years old and in all those years he has been very consistent in his behavior – he so often misbehaves to get attention. Often he is worse when I have been away and come back. Last night I stayed in our rehab center and came back this morning. While I was away, he was quiet as a mouse but once he knew I was back, he had to find a way to see if he could get me to react. Sadly for him, I completely ignored him and I left him with the staff. He is quiet now so hopefully he has got it out of his system. Remember last year Belizaire was very busy making and selling small benches? He almost drove us crazy as he was stealing chairs, tables and other pieces of wood to make these benches!
Thankfully that phase seems to be gone now and he has a new passion – cleaning the cars of visitors, for a fee of course! Now before you go thinking how wonderful this is let me tell you that our dear Belizaire is FOREVER tearing up perfectly good t-shirts or sheets in order to clean those cars. He sneaks into the laundry room and like all good thieves, is rarely spotted and the next thing he is happily cleaning the car of some unsuspecting driver. You should see him – the picture of goodness and innocence, all smiles and cleaning away. Of course no one knows that not only has he torn up a sheet but he has dumped a whole jar of washing powder into the bucket of water. Our dear darling Belizaire is quite the man. Another thing, he LOVES to do is to steal vegetables and then go off and cook them, so he is forever stealing the matches from the kitchen. You just have to laugh at him because he is so so unique and we know he will never change!
I can hear Marcus* singing at the top of his voice. Oh my goodness – this boy is doing so well these past months. What a joy! He was very sick at the end of the summer but make a super recovery and he is enjoying great health at the moment. Thank God!
Not only is Marcus enjoying great health but he is more responsive. If you put your check close to his mouth and you ask him for a kiss he will do so. Or if you say “Olsen, where is my kiss?” then he will respond and give you one. And then he will giggle- as if you to say, “see I can do it”! I wonder if you can imagine how wonderful it is for us when all the kids are well. I mean, we know the kids are fragile, we know we have to expect everything and anything. BUT – when they are all well, what a blessing! What a joy! Marcus has taught us all the importance of celebrating all that is good in our lives. He has taught us not to take anything for granted. He has taught us to be grateful. He has taught us that with great love so many things are possible.
Binjanie* is another huge presence in our home. This little woman is so funny! Always singing and laughing and now she is speaking more and repeating what she hears. Since her shunt operation in July she has been very, very, well and she keeps everyone happy in the house.
Additional child updates will be published each week…stay tuned.
Contributed by Gena Heraty
Director, Special Needs Programs