Through the eyes of a child
Evanson was a young boy I met on my first trip to Terre Blanche in 2015. Although we did not share a common language, it did not prevent a friendship from forming. I learned he had ten siblings and a single mother at home. Since then, I have learned that other teammates had their own story of Evanson. He had that type of personality.
One time, following lunch, I decided to grab a bottle of Tampico and head down to the courtyard to people-watch. There was a large number of people waiting to be seen in the clinic, so there was a lot of activity. In one corner, I noticed a group of five kids playing a game that looked like tag. Evanson was one of the kids. When he saw me he headed over and sat down.
“Koman ou ye,” he asked me.
“M pa pi mal, e ou menm?” I casually responded.
He replied, “Pa pi mal.”
We focused our attention on the remaining four kids who continued their game. I grabbed my bottle of Tampico, shook it well and broke the seal. After a refreshing drink, I lowered it to the ground. I noticed that Evanson had his eyes on the bottle of Tampico, watching as I set it down. Without hesitation, I grabbed the bottle and offered it to him. His eyes widened, his smile broadened, “Wi, wi,” he said. He took possession and then motioned to take it over to the kids. I immediately realized I had made a very big mistake. It was too late, off he went.
I watched the group as Evanson, bottle in hand, began talking excitedly to the other four. They are fixated on his every word. I prepared myself because I was certain at any moment the group would be running over asking for their own personal bottles.
And then this happened. Evanson unscrewed the bottle of Tampico. He handed the bottle to his younger sister, Rosemika. She took a drink and handed it back to him. He then handed it to the other young girl, who took a drink and returned the bottle. This was repeated until all four kids had taken a drink and the bottle was back in Evanson’s hands. With only a small amount of the delicious fruit drink remaining, Evanson took his first and only drink, finishing it off. There was a brief moment of silence as the five of them together savored the sweet taste and then they broke out with cheering and dancing, celebrating their joy. For a brief moment I was stunned at the turn of events, guilty at my thoughts of greedy children but then I found myself thankful I had been allowed to witness this unselfish act.
Thinking about this encounter with Evanson, I sometimes forget to appreciate what I have in life. I realize I still have a lot to learn about Haiti and the culture. I have absolutely no idea what possessed Evanson to share that bottle of Tampico with his friends. I do know that his very unselfish act created a moment of sheer bliss for these kids. I imagine coming from a family of 12, in a country where food insecurity is a very real concern, played a role in the natural instinct for him to share what he had. To experience joy through the eyes of a child, like I did that day, was a memorable experience.
My prayer: Father God, I praise you for your faithfulness. Your everlasting love for a broken world. I thank you for allowing me to see the world through the eyes of a child. You opened my eyes to appreciate the blessings you have given me and those around me.
by Donn Raymond, HFH board member