We met lots of kids on our first day in Haiti. They were all friendly and they loved the attention. Before arriving I’d managed to learn to say a few things in Creole. One such thing, which I used a lot, was “Kooma ou relle?” That means, “What is your name?”
On our second day a cute little girl ran up to me for a hug. I picked her up and asked, “Kooma ou relle?”
She looked at me with an impish grin and responded in very carefully pronounced English, “You know my name.”
Dang. I was busted. If I’d met this girl before, I just could not remember her name. In my defense, we’d met lots of kids and I’m not very good at remembering names.
Not wanting to hurt her feelings, I pretended that I did remember but that I was playing a game with her. So I starting saying things like, “Hmm. Is it Sally? Is it Elizabeth? Is it Maryanne?” Each question drew giggles and an increasing insistence that I knew that wasn’t her name. All the while I was looking around for Cherie, who is great with names, so she could bail me out. Luckily she came over. I managed to whisper a question to her, and she whispered in reply, “Tabitha.”
For the rest of the week, whenever I saw Tabitha we played a game about me not remembering her name.
It’s a silly and pointless story, but I have distinct memories like this about so many of the kids we met. And when I think about what life would be like for Tabitha and the others if it were not for Danita’s Children, it motivates me to continue spreading the word.