Wednesday, June 23, 2010
More Than One Way to Skin a Cat...
Jeanmoi's (Ja' moy) mother and father died and left him to be cared for by a half brother. He had quit going to third grade because he did not have shoes or a backpack or notebooks for class. At 14 failing 3rd grade can be a big deal. We met Jeanmoi through a group of doctors and press personel that were here from Texas. They befriended him and introduced him to us. Joy fell in love with him immediately.
We had him come over to the mission while the group was working one day and had his older half brother come too. After lunch we told him we would like for Jeanmoi to spend the day with us. His response was one of disappointment. He said he was hoping we would just take him because no one else knew what to do with him. Jeanmoi was standing there listening. I could just imagine in my mind what he must have been thinking. The person that is supposed to be raising him is disappointed that a stranger he met an hour earlier was not going to take him. What a tough place to be for a 14 year old. Not suprisingly, Joy was understanding enough creole to know what was going on and pulled me over to the side to briefly explain in clear English that she did not intend for him to just spend the day with us. She felt certain we were supposed to take him in and give him a family again that could love and care for him. I asked the brother if he would be willing to help us get all of the paperwork necessary to take him. He gladly agreed. He left and there stood Jeanmoi with nothing except the clothes he had on. Not a word of English. And surrounded by crazy white people. The perfect recipe for an adventure for all.
Picture with me a 14 year old boy that has never used an indoor toilet or taken a shower that did not include fetching water in a bucket. We had someone want to take us to dinner at the restaurant at the resort here in town the very first night he was with us. It is a buffet and he followed me through the line. It was the first time I had seen American food in quite awhile so I made sure to load up on mashed potatoes and pork tenderloin. Jeanmoi did the same. We sat down and I began to savor the taste of mashed potatoes with real gravy and did not notice the huge smile that had been on Jeanmoi's face since we walked through the door was now gone. He sat there holding his fork with a confused look on his face. When he saw me looking at him he began to apologize and asked if there was any way he could just go get some rice and beans. He returned with the smile bigger than ever and a heaping plate of rice and beans.
He has been with us for about a month now and things are getting into a routine. Jacy Klaire is his interpreter of everything not just English. He asks her everything. He is back in school and we are trying to get him tutored so he can pass 3rd grade. He is teaching us a lot too. For instance tonight I learned the proper way to kill, boil, skin, roast, and eat a cat. We have a cat that is sitting right here beside me. The whole conversation made her a little nervous. We told Jeanmoi how the cat attacked Joy and bit her one day pretty badly...a whole nother story... and his serious protective response was "I'll eat that cat!" According to Jeanmoi, who was surprised I had never eaten cat, it tastes a whole lot like goat.